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reviews BON IvER HSKER D shAron

MAvIS STAPLES morrissey Jones


th e past, pr es e nt an d f utu r e of g r eat m us ic

remembered

tom petty
Nothing is HoLGer
CZUKAy
ever really GrANt HArt
finished HArry DeAN
stANtoN
CHArLes
BrADLey
RobeRt

P l A n t On Zeppelin,
magic
and myth
neW interVieWs!

rem
AUTOMATIC FOR THE
PEOPLE REvISITED
the
ronettes

KING GIZZARD
CHARLOTTE
GAINSBOURG
BOOTSY COLLINS
PERFUME GENIUS
WILLIAM EGGLESTON
BECK
COLORS

THE NEW ALBUM


I built this ship, it is my making

ChARlOTTE g
hART AiN
ANT S BO
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g y
BO kA U
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gizzARD & ThE l


gENiUS williAM Eggl

kiNg
ES
EST

ETT
ON

N
RO
BO
DECEMBER

hE
N

T
iv
2017

ER

Ty
S T
Uz pE
AN M
N TAkE 247 TO On the cover:
Ev
Eg
AM RE M Robert Plant by
O R R iS ANT Mads Perch
SEy ROBERT pl

O
n the evening of October 2, as the world struggled to Lizard Wizard, circumnavigate their excruciating name, and revel in the
countenance the horror of the terrorist attack on a psychedelic energy that drives them to try and make five albums in a single
Las Vegas music festival, news channels began to report year. And welcome back the indefatigable Robert Plant, who tells us,
that Tom Petty had died. Bob Dylan, no less, was quick to I dont have a lot of time thinking about stuff, and I dont want to waste
articulate his condolences. Its shocking, crushing news, time, because time doesnt last forever.
he said. I thought the world of Tom. He was a great performer, full of the Its a calling to seize the moment; and if something turns out to endure,
light, a friend, and Ill never forget him. to join some kind of sacred musical canon, then thats more happy
In what became a live indictment of social media-era news, however, it accident than grandiose calculation. When Tom Petty was inducted into
transpired that the obituaries were premature if only by what turned out the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in June 2016, his speech captured a certain
to be a few hours. Amidst the chaos and memorials on Twitter, Jack Whites unshowy devotion to his art. If no-one ever wrote another song, wed be
Third Man Records tried to make sense of how terrible events collided. Weve fine, he told the assembled great and good. Theres plenty of songs. But
lost music lovers & music makers today, they wrote. We dont know how to I still do it. I love it, its a gift.
cope, so we continue to work, with broken hearts, in the name of music. Take care, everybody,
It is easy to feel this way in 2017, assailed as we have been by tragedies both
vast and intimate. In this issue of Uncut, we remember Holger Czukay, Harry
Dean Stanton and Charles Bradley as well as Petty, while our album of the
month is the final astonishing testament from Sharon Jones. But theres still
plenty of room for heroes, new and old, whose unquenchable lust for life and
musical adventure remains an inspiration. So meet King Gizzard & The John Mulvey, Editor. Follow me on Twitter @JohnRMulvey

contents

4 Instant Karma! 54 Smalltown punks 90 Bootsy Collins Album By Album


Bruce Springsteen, William Eggleston, Spirit of 77: we talk to the unsung trail-
The Professionals, Girl Ray blazers of Carlisle, Peterborough and more: 94 Live
Punks werent liked We stuck together! Bon Iver, Suzanne Vega
12 Charlotte Gainsbourg
An audience with the actress and singer 60 Robert Plant 107 Books
The Golden God pops down his local to Richard Lloyd, Peggy Seeger
16 New Albums discuss his new LP, John Bonham, and plans
Including: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, for the 50th birthday of the mighty Zeppelin 108 Films
Morrissey, James Holden, Mavis Staples, Good Time, Suburbicon, Grace Jones
Gun Outfit, Peter Oren 72 King Gizzard & The
Wizard Lizard 110 DVD & Blu-ray
34 The Archive Seven psychedelic Aussies the new Mick Ronson, Bert Berns
Including: Hsker D, Tim Buckley, stars of progressive garage rock!
Davy Graham, Talk Talk, Chris Bell 112 Not Fade Away
80 Tom Petty RIP This months obituaries
48 REM The great man remembered, by
Twenty-five years after the release of Stephen Deusner and Bud Scoppa 116 Letters Plus the Uncut crossword
Automatic For The People, we track down
the major players to uncover the secrets 86 The Ronettes 118 My Life In Music
of an unlikely rock masterpiece The making of Be My Baby Perfume Genius

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DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 3


This MoNThs REvElaTioNs fRoM ThE woRlD of UNCUT
fEaTURiNg... william Eggleston | The Professionals | girl Ray

And the wizards


play down on
Pinball Way
gathers with the E Street Band around the
a new book reveals pinball table at Shellows Luncheonette in East
Springsteens tilt at glory Camden, New Jersey. these rare pictures date

I
from the winter of 1978, as local photographer
t has taken Bruce Springsteen an Frank Stefanko worked on shots for the cover of
unusually long time to settle down into Darkness On The Edge Of Town.
regular work, a real job. this month, at they figure in Bruce Springsteen: Further Up
the 960-seat Walter Kerr theatre in New The Road, a new book collating the work of
York, the dauntless singer-songwriter Stefanko with the Boss over 40 years. Franks
has begun clocking on every day, five nights photographs were stark, Springsteen wrote in
a week for five months, to perform a one-man
show called Springsteen On Broadway. this is
his 2016 memoir Born To Run. His talent was
he managed to strip away your celebrity, your
Franks talent was
my first real job, I think, he told the New York
Times in September. thats the one thing Im
artifice, and get to the raw you. His photos had
a purity and a street poetry to them.
he managed to strip
going into with a certain sense of faith. away your celebrity
frank stefanko

He may not have experienced the daily grind Bruce Springsteen: Further Up The Road is
before, but of course Springsteen has always published by Wall Of Sound Editions. For and get to the raw you
been a master at empathising with the working further information and a full list of stockists
man. Witness the unforced camaraderie as he visit www.wallofsoundgallery.com
BRUCE sPRiNgsTEEN
4 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017
on the edge of
town: Bruce
springsteen and
the E street Band
at shellows
luncheonette,
East Camden,
New Jersey, 1978

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 5


Whats
going ahn?
William Eggleston, discussion about Egglestons latest Among Egglestons friends were
project an unexpected career a couple, a jazz musician Sidney
legendary swerve in his eighth decade. the Chilton and his wife Mary, an art
photographer has long been on the dealer along with their son Alex.
photographer, peripheries of music: he enjoyed a We knew each other for a long,
embarks on a music lifelong friendship with Big Stars long time and we always were
Alex Chilton and his work has been good friends until he died, he says. cu
culture.
ultu
ure II was around but I felt
career, aged 78... used by musicians as diverse as We never really talked about music. quite apart from it. I was a loner

I
t is early morning in Memphis Primal Scream and Joanna Newsom. Big Stars music held little interest to among people who had created a
and already the photographer But this month, Eggleston releases me. I was more interested in classical culture of their own. But I was doing
William Eggleston is planning his debut album, Musik. I started music so Bach, Mozart, Chopin. the same thing, though separately.
his next project. Ill be in Paris very playing the piano when I was four Nevertheless, their connection In the 1980s, Eggleston was
soon, he explains. I work with and never stopped, he explains. I eventually found its way onto Big commissioned by Priscilla Presley to
people at Cartier. Right now, Im still do it, at night. the disc consists Stars records. Egglestons photo, photograph Graceland, leading to
working on a book of all their of recordings Id done on the Korg, the Red Ceiling taken at a tGIs another remarkable cache of
commissions throughout the years, with 88 keys, capable of a lot of restaurant in Memphis adorned photographs that continue his
which would be a 10- or 15-year different sounds. I dont have any Big Stars Radio City album (I dont thematic interest in the forgotten
acquaintance between us. Im very tapes. I only have floppy discs. even have a copy of that LP cover, corners, empty spaces and
much looking forward to it. Itll be a Eggleston was born in 1939 and he admits) while Eggleston played abstracted details. the place didnt
very fine book, Im sure. went on to establish himself as a piano on the bands cover of Nat mean anything much to me, he
this, it transpires, is a typical King Coles Nature Boy. I think I says. Its not architecturally
conversation with Eggleston. At 78, did a perfectly good job of it, he interesting. I tried to do the best I
he has an international vision, his notes. It was not one of Alexs best could in quite a neutral way to depict
dealings in many instances taking
Big Stars music days for singing; he may not have it in photographs. Why neutral?
place at the higher end of the artistic held little interest even known the song, really. I knew there are a lot of things I looked at
spectrum. When he speaks, his it quite well from growing up. within the house and outside it
voice has a satisfyingly leathery
to me. I was It wasnt all Memphians, though. that quite frequently I wanted to
creak. His sentences unfold interested in Bach In New York, during the 1970s, avoid. I didnt want to make any of
impressively, with a courtesy that Eggleston witnessed first-hand the images evoke either negative or
underscores a Southern upbringing.
WilliaM EgglEsToN another celebrated photographer positive feelings.
At present, Eggleston is at home in Andy Warhol. I met him through a Encouragingly, Egglestons work
his apartment in Memphis. I grew pioneer of colour photography with a young lady I was spending a lot of has continued to draw attention from
up around 100 miles south of here, series of extraordinary, vital pictures time with who was in a lot of his musicians, including Green On Red,
where my family had for a long time of everyday life in the US South films, named Viva who is still Silver Jews, Cat Power and Spoon.
grown cotton, he explains. I during the 60s and 70s. I didnt very close. Andy was a quite distant Why do musicians continue to use
peter townshend

married a Memphis girl. I had think that I was making a social person. I was not all that impressed. his work? I think they have good
already spent a lot of time up here. statement, he reflects. I was Although Eggleston later shot the taste, he says. michael bonner
When youre from the country, this interested in creating images of what likes of Dennis Hopper and Joe
was a big town to go to. I saw growing up. thats how it Strummer, he remains sanguine Musik is released by Secretly
All this is a preamble to a started out. It still goes on. about his place in the counter- Canadian on October 20

6 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


THE BRAND NEW ALBUM
OUT 27.10.17 ON LP, CD & DL
PLUS LIMITED EDITION
6xLP CAREER-SPANNING BOX SET

R e c o r d e d w i t h E d w y n C o l l i n s a t h i s C l a s h n a r r ow S t u d i o s , a n d at G r e e n D o o r S t u d i o
w i t h S t u Eva n s, P e r m o i s a n a l b u m of b o l d s te p s a n d s i m p l e g e s t u r e s .
T h e d e b u t a l b u m o u t N ove m b e r 10 t h - L P / C D / D L
Never mind the It takes a bit to get Steve going, hes a
bit lazy to be honest, says Cook of his
old friend. But we went over to La

Sex Pistols, heres and he gave us the nod of approval.


he was happy to pass the baton along
to Tom. We tried to get him to do some

the bollocks! vocals, but he didnt really fancy that,


but he done some good guitaring.
Billy duffy ended up playing on the
same three songs as Steve Jones. I got
A qUIck
ck
k ONe
A quick reminder
Paul Cook and Steve Jones revive their a call from Steve and I was thinking,
that our none-more-
other old band, The Professionals, with Uh-oh maybe hes a bit mad Im
playing on hIS bands record, and
glam Bowie: A Life In
Pictures special is still
a little help from their friends in reality he wanted to know if he
on sale, and that its
could join in, says the Cult guitarist.

I
just been joined in the
had to put my henry Cook reformed the band with Songs were written by Cook and
shops by our upgraded
Kissinger hat on, but it was original bassist Paul Myers and Spencer, and cover subjects from
Ultimate Music Guide
worth it, laughs Paul Cook, guitarist and singer Tom Spencer in homelessness to forgetfulness. Its
to Tom Waits. Small
as the former Sex Pistols drummer 2015 to accompany the release of a about where we are now, getting older
change welcome!
explains how he recruited guest compilation, and soon found an urge really, says Cook. Theres a song
guitarists duff McKagan, Mick Jones to go into the studio. To fill out the called Rewind about losing your The startling polemical
and Billy duffy to help record What sound, Cook got out his phone book memory. Its where were at in life. spectacle of Roger
In The World, the first album by The and recruited friends including Mick On the subject of memory, the Waters Us + Them
Professionals since 1981. You just Jones, Billy duffy, duff McKagan, otherwise affable Cook confesses hes tour finally makes it to
have to keep chipping away. I was Phil Collen and Marco Pirroni. fed up being asked to rehash Pistols Europe next summer. UK
persistent and I got them in the end. Getting Mick Jones was a coup, as stories and has no plans to become dates so far announced
The Professionals first incarnation Cook says hes often reluctant to the final member of the band, with find the veteran rabble-
came in the immediate wake of the record, but Steve Jones was the key. the exception of Sid, to write an rouser at Liverpool
Sex Pistols dissolution, when Cook autobiography. I dont enjoy it at all, Echo Arena (July 2),
and Steve Jones were, he admits, a he says. Its been documented so Manchester Arena
bit lost following the bands much it bores me to death. I dont (3), Hyde Park (6) and
implosion. The duo released a series know what else there is to say. I turn Birmingham Arena (7).
of singles and one album, I Didnt See them off when I see them on TV.
A rock soap opera has
It Coming, in 1981. Im amazed we got his focus instead is taking What In
seemingly ended, with
an LP out at all, says Cook. It was The World on tour. Weve got a little
New Order announcing
pretty chaotic, Steve was all over the deal with america, so we want to get it
theyve reached a full
place, he had drug problems and out then see how the land lies. Maybe
and final settlement
wasnt always around. he didnt want do a few shows at the
in the long-running
to be the singer, but it was so hard to end of the year.
disputes with ex-bassist
find anybody else after working with peter watts
Peter Hook. Says the
Johnny. Trying to get another
band: The disputes
frontman was impossible and Steve What In The World
were based upon
was never comfortable. I always is out October 27
Hooks use of various
thought the LP sounded crap, but the on Automaton
New Order and Joy
songs were good, they stand up. Records
Division assets on
merchandising and in
Men in black: The the promotion of shows
Professionals in by his new band, and
2017 (l-r) Tom
Spencer, Paul the amount of money he
Cook, Paul Myers receives from the use of
the name New Order by
his ex-colleagues since
2011. The Joy Division
and New Order names
mean a great deal to so
many of the fans, and
the band felt it important
to protect the legacy.
I dont think Id
necessarily want to tour
again, Matt Johnson
told us a few months
back, itd probably be a
one-off show. One-off
shows, it transpires, as
The Thes first live gigs
in 16 years are set for
next summer. Following
gAvIN cOcHrANE

a Danish warm-up, The


The play three nights at
various storied London
venues (June 5-7).

8 UNCUT MONTH 2017 deCeMber 2017 UNCUT 8


newmusic
courtney barnett
& kurt vile
lotta sea lice
album of the month
st.vincent
masseducation beck
colors
out now
out now out now

t
robert plan
carry fire
out now

the smiths
the queen is dead:
deluxe edition
20/10/2017

gregory porter
the the nat king cole & me
radio cineola: trilogy 27/10/2017
20/10/2017

wretch 32
fr32
out now

michael head & the


red elastic band
adios senor pussycat
20/10/2017

lindstrm
its alright between
squeeze us as it is
the knowledge john carpenter 20/10/2017
anthology (movie
out now themes 19741998
)
20/10/2017
fopp stores
the fopp list bristol college green
cambridge sidney st
the get the lowdown on the best new music
in this months edition of the fopp list,
edinburgh rose st
glasgow union st & byres rd
fopp free magazine in-store now london covent garden
manchester brown st
list
while stocks last

nottingham broadmarsh
shopping centre
oxford gloucester green
Girl Ray in Trafalgar
Square: (l-r) Poppy
Hankin, Iris McConnell
UNCUT PLAYLIST
and Sophie Moss On the stereo this month...

THE BREEDERS
Wait In The Car 4AD
Strategies for punks! The
perfect comeback single:
catchy, serrated, abrupt and
featuring sarcastic miaowing.

BRIGID MAE POWER


Dont Shut Me Up (Politely)
TOMPKINS SQUARE

Buccaneering teaser for the Irish singers


2018 album soaring kin to Ryley
Walkers The West Wind, possibly.

TY SEGALL
wERE Alta DRAG CITY
Fresh from their End Of The Road
NEw triumph, Ty and the Freedom Band
hERE bring one of their most crunching and
elaborate jams into the studio.

Girl Ray
ROBERT FINLEY
drummer McConnell, things moved swiftly Goin Platinum!
once they did. 2016 debut single Trouble EASY EYE SOUND/NONESUCh
came out not long after their a-level results, A blind carpenter and army
with full-length album Earl Grey (note killer vet is revealed, belatedly, to
Recommended this month: spoonerism) released this summer. stately and
splendid on Just like That and astrud Gilberto
be a herculean soulman. Dan
Auerbach and his all-star sessioners
the London teenagers beach flutter Monday Tuesday, Earl Grey is provide the requisite vintage empathy.
with the exquisite tastes more than gap year meandering; shire horse-
paced shuffle Dont Go Back at Ten is the BJRK The Gate ONE LITTLE INDIAN
of middle-aged record shangri-las merged with Kevin ayers, while the In which the masked marvel learns
shop workers 13-minute title suite finds Girl Ray stumbling
inadvertently into Caravan country doubly
to love again after the traumas
documented on Vulnicura: My healed

U
sually when we talk to people my impressive since Hankin and Moss have never chest wound/Transformed into a gate/
parents age about our music we just heard of them. Where I receive love from
mumble until the subjects changed, a headlining tour this autumn is another push
says bassist sophie Moss, struggling to put the into the big world, with Girl Ray (name cribbed ALVARIUS B
truculent splendour of Girl Ray into words. from avant-garde artist Man Ray) hoping to carry With A Beaker On The Burner
The biggest thing to come out of Muswell Hills on adventuring. I was going to go to uni but I just And An Otter In The Oven ABDUCTION
Fortismere school since Rather Be hitmaker withdrew the application, admits Moss. Im An epic compendium of the perverse,
Jess Glynne, the C86-literate three-piece Poppy going to put it on hold for a bit, slash, never go, with guitar chops, from the cantankerous
Hankin (vocals, guitar), Iris McConnell (drums) depending on how we feel. Alan Bishop of Sun City Girls.
and Moss (bass) are 19 going on 20, and combine It feels like, university, you can do that
sleepy teenage with the music tastes of a middle- whenever, but weve got this momentum and its ALDOUS HARDING Elation 4AD
aged record shop worker. Girl Ray dig Orange so much fun being a band, Hankin explains. Another cobwebbed folk classic-in-
Juice, The Pink Floyd, Mac DeMarco, the Marine The trio are still living with their parents (they are the-making from one of 2017s most
Girls, Father John Misty and afro-harp babysitting when Uncut calls them compelling new voices.
queen Dorothy ashby, though the Were getting paid in pizza, explains
comparison thrown their way most IM YOUR FAN Hankin), but are harbouring (modest) GORAN KAJFES
often is with melancholy Welsh career ambitions as well as evident SUBTROPIC ARKESTRA
mystics Gorkys Zygotic Mynci. musical ones. at the moment, they are The Reason Why Volume
We love Gorkys, says Moss. trying to hack together a Christmas 3 hEADSPIN
My brother showed me Patio song single: We want to get a child choir Swedish big band challenge
ELLIE CONNOR-PhILLIPS; POLLY ThOMAS/REX/ShuTTERSTOCK

when I was 15 maybe, agrees Hankin. in, says Hankin. Were dead serious themselves to make jazz out of
and I just became obsessed with it. but we havent got a title yet. electronic nuggets from Panda Bear and
Hankins big brother, Mike What would success look like for Girl Caribou. An unlikely, swinging success.
lightning, had a pop career of his own Earl Grey has a Ray, then?
as a member of steve albini-produced freshness to it an american tour, answers Moss. THE FRIGHTNRS
clatter-merchants lets Wrestle, thats impossible and a real van! More To Say Versions DAPTONE
though she insists she is not of to fake, and If we could just do this as a job, how A fine dub repurposing of the NY reggae
thoroughbred indie stock: No, no sounds like incredible, because its the funnest job bands 2016 LP, rendered extra poignant
my dad writes computer software and theyve made ever, adds Hankin. God, I sound like in the wake of singer Dan Kleins death.
my mums a lecturer. a record for a real nerd. JIM WIRTH
fun. Totally
Quirky and friendless, Hankin
uncontrived. MICHAEL NAU
reached out for Moss at an after-school Good tunes, too Earl Grey is out now on Moshi The Load EP FULL TIME hOBBY
rock club in their first year at Euros Childs, Moshi. Girl Ray's UK tour begins Low-key Maryland singer-songwriter
secondary school, and though it took ex-Gorkys at Liverpool Heebie Jeebies on discreetly ups his game with a set of out-
a few years for them to rope in Zygotic Mynci October 30 takes. Significant help from Natalie Prass.

10 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


12 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017
The worst thing is
boasting, especially
in this business
AN AUDIENCE WITh ChARloTTE gAINSBoURg

A
LTHouGH Charlotte up. She was fed up of the nightlife and
Gainsbourg has been living The actress and singer she had a different life with her new lover.
in New York for the past
three years, she doesnt
discusses extreme scenes, We suddenly had family dinners. She
would stay in during the evenings. At the
miss Paris Not yet, she
says. I go back quite often. I know New
her famous parents, her weekend, I would go to my father and
have him all to myself. I really had three
York, but not that well. You have a very
different experience when you start living
latest LP, and working with different childhood experiences!

somewhere. Im still getting to know it Paul McCartney and Beck What qualities did Paul McCartney
and I love it, its a wonderful city. bring to the sessions for Songbird
Gainsbourg was raised in Paris, the Interview by michael bonner In A Cage? Tom, London
daughter of English actress Jane He gave me the demo over six years ago!
Birkin and French singer and Mockasin and he said, Lets get I asked if we could meet, he graciously
songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. in a room and you should try and said hed have lunch with me, so I went to
During a career that began in write lyrics. Ill play the guitar, London. I said, If by any chance you had
her early teens, Gainsbourg has lets see what we come up with. a song that you wouldnt like for yourself,
pursued both disciplines. She I felt quite liberated that way. So I would love to have it. Two weeks later,
is an enthusiastic collaborator. we got together and I took bits and he sent me this demo. I kept it in a drawer
As an actress, she has worked pieces Id written in the past, put until I was working with SebastiAn. I
with directors such as Todd them together to try and see if I showed him the demo and asked if we
Haynes and Michel Gondry, could make a song. Gradually, my could make it a part of this record. We had
appearing in independent self-confidence grew. I realised I to change the sound and style of it for it to
films that have often courted wanted to make electronic music, fit in, then he sent that new demo to Paul
controversy notably, her so I went to SebastiAn, a French and asked if hed come to New York, or we
collaborations with Lars Von musician Ive known for some would go to London, to play on the session.
Trier. In a rare move into the years. Then I lost my sister, Kate, He said yes again! He was in New York, so
mainstream, her latest film, and it became very obvious that the we met at Electric Lady; he recorded bass
The Snowman, is a high-profile studio New album only thing I could write about was and some piano. It was just wonderful!
Rest (2017),
thriller co-starring Michael Fassbender. and Paul her. It became compulsive. I left for
Meanwhile, Gainsbourg is also McCartney New York, to try to grieve elsewhere, Are you still planning to turn your
Jesse Dittmar for the Washington Post via getty images

putting the finishing touches to and SebastiAn came. So we started on this fathers house at Rue de Verneuil into
Rest, her first LP in seven years, record nearly three years ago, SebastiAn a museum? Kim Dixon, Aberdeen
which features collaborations and me, in New York. Yes. Ive kept this house for 26 years and
with Paul McCartney and Daft maybe for 20 of those Ive battled to try to
Punks Guy-Manuel de Homem- Is it true that as a child, your get help. I knew I couldnt do it myself. I
Christo. It is, then, a busy time for parents would go out every night went to see [businessman] Franois-Henri
Gainsbourg. I love the fact that I after they put you to bed, then get Pinault and the architect Jean Nouvel
can go through one to another, from back home in time to take you to to work on the project together. Then so
music to film, she says. Its fun to not school? Michelle Baker, Whitby many things started happening all at the
have just one goal. Well, they got back home when we left same time regarding my father. There was
for school they didnt take us to school! a book of manuscripts, an exhibition, a
Rest is the first time youve Theres the nuance in that story. We had an film by Joann Sfar on his life, so I decided
written lyrics. What prompted au pair who slept in our room and would to shut down everything and just keep
that? Neil Hunter, London take care of us. My mother completely the house to myself. At the moment, Im
I was touring with Connan changed when she and my father split working on a way that I can open a part

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 13


happened also because I had something
to propose. It sounds a bit strange, but
Id suffered a cerebral haemorrhage and
the sounds of the MRI scanner were
inspiring to me. I dont know what comes
first the trauma and then the obligation
to express yourself, or wanting to express
yourself and trying to find subjects that
are important and personal. But it was
a subject I wanted to talk about. I loved
Becks way of writing, thats what I wanted
to sing. I didnt want to sing my own words.

French pop or English pop?


Conor, Manchester
Pop is an English-language music. Its
very hard to be musical with French. Its
not rhythmical, it doesnt swing. When
En famille: Kate Barry I worked with Air, they told me that, for
(died 2013), Charlotte
Gainsbourg, Jane Birkin them, words didnt have much value
and Serge Gainsbourg, other than a rhythmic importance, which
Paris, February 27, 1986 is why they used English, as the songs
wouldnt work in French. I understand
of the house to the public but Id also that. I avoided singing in French until now
keep one part secret so a few, last little because I was worried that if I did, Id be
pieces of my father can remain private. compared to my father Id be the first
one to judge myself in that way, anyway.
Theres a gap of 20 years between When I asked Jarvis Cocker if hed write for
your first and second albums. What me, I told him I wanted to sing in English,
made you want to make music again I didnt want to sing in French.
with 5:55?
Abigail Harper, Eastbourne Whats the best advice your mother
The first one was done completely by my gave you? Nathalie Georges, Paris
Cool collaboration:
father. I only went in the studios for five with Beck in 2009 She didnt say it out loud, but she made it
days, did two songs each day. He was in so clear not to take myself too seriously.
charge, he wrote lyrics, wrote the music, I started very young, I was 12,
and you only had to sing. But it was so actress who knows and my second song was a big
magical, being able to sing with him, exactly what to do and where to success in France. My parents
that thats the only way I thought I could go and to be able to direct myself. might have been scared that
do music. So when he died, I couldnt So the pleasure is getting lost in Id suddenly become too sure
listen to his music as it was too traumatic. a character. But an album is the of myself. She also made me
Gradually, I understood that I wanted to opposite. Im in command and I understand that a film didnt
make music again. I didnt know how, I choose to say what I want to say. mean much that you could
didnt know with whom. Then I got to meet So it comes from a much more have success one day, but not
Air and suddenly it became obvious! personal place. the next. It made me insecure,
which wasnt her intention. I
Youve appeared in some very On IRM, you handed the was terrified Id never be able to
intense, often controversial films writing, arranging, and continue. But its a good piece
The Cement Garden, Antichrist, producing over to Beck. of advice anyway, because the
Nymphomaniac. How do you cope What was that like? worst thing is people boasting,
with extreme scenes? Stephen, Indiana especially in this business.
Marjorie Dunham, Cheam I met Beck with Nigel
No-ones ever asked me to go as far as Lars Godrich in LA. Id never What are your favourite
Von Trier! I enjoy the fact that its tough, have imagined he wanted records by your father?
anything that will make me go to different to work with me, but the Noah Anderson, New York
places and forget about myself. I love the idea stuck in my head, so LHomme Tte De Chou and
intensity. But then, Independence Day was I asked him. He suggested Histoire De Melody Nelson. Ive
a real thrill. I knew what I was doing when we spent a few days in the listened to his music since I was
I signed on, but I was astonished I had studio Lets see how it a child. A lot of the songs I liked
never worked on such a huge scale. It was works, maybe youll hate it, then, I realise now werent the
like being in a video game. It was a new maybe Ill hate it, lets just best ones! Initially Bb was
way of working, but it was fun. And it was see. We did three songs, so one of my favourites. But now
great to work with Jeff Goldblum I adore we decided to keep going! It Ive rediscovered all my mothers
him! It was all so different from Lars films albums, too. Shes just released
PAT/GAmmA-RAPho viA GeTTy imAGes

or a little independent film. Its lovely to be a new album of my fathers songs


able to skip from one to another, though I recorded with a symphony orchestra. Its
dont really feel that I have a space in those The pleasure of acting is wonderful. Because its my fathers songs

to get lost in a character


huge films. It was exciting to try. in a different style, it makes them seem
now. Its absolutely beautiful.
What do you find more rewarding,
making music or acting? Sean, Dublin Music comes from a much Rest is released on November 17
Its completely different! As an actor, the
point is to serve a director. Im not an
more personal place via Because Music; The Snowman
is in cinemas on October 13

14 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


To be like Him is what I long to do

NEW
WAALBUMS
B
december 2017
Take 247
1 morrissey (p20)
2 mavis sTaples (p24)
3 jim whiTe (p26)
4 peTer oren (p32)

tHe uncut guide tO tHis mOntHs key releases

sharon jones
and The dap-kinGs
soul of a woman
dapTone

Her swansong, and a soul masterpiece. By Jason Anderson

O
f the many emotions identity, signified by both the loss of her hair
that will be elicited album and the dampening of energies. But Miss
by Sharon Jones final OF THE Sharon Jones! also stands as a testament to
recordings with the mONTH her determination, as she summons the will
Dap-Kings, a feeling
of gratitude may be the
9/10 astoshe get back onstage and slay em just as hard
always did.
strongest in a good many Choosing not to wear a wig, she performed
of us. After all, its extraordinary that she regained dozens more shows with the Dap-Kings between
the strength she exudes in nearly every moment of 2014 and 2016, travelling across the US, Europe,
Soul Of A Woman, in light of the battle with pancreatic Australia and South America. Sadly, shed miss the
cancer that began in 2013. Its hard to comprehend two last dates, being too ill from pneumonia to travel
how she found the power that pours out of her in the from her home in Georgia to play a SXSW showcase at
widescreen melodrama of These Tears (No Longer the White House in October, and then passing away
for You) or in the more tender-hearted Pass Me By, a few days before an all-star tribute to her idol James
though a church-going woman like herself wouldve Brown in Newark, NJ, in November. Producer and
had a confident answer to that question. Dap-Kings bandleader Gabriel Bosco Mann Roth
As documented to poignant said that Jones blamed Trump
effect in Barbara Kopples for the initial stroke she had
film Miss Sharon Jones, while watching the results
chemotherapy sapped Jones come in on that most woeful of
of the vitality that awed US election nights. She suffered
audiences again and again, a more debilitating one while in
after the former wedding singer the hospital. Though shed lost
and prison guard began her the ability to speak, she could
collaboration with the loose still sing for the bandmates
confederation of vintage soul whod gathered in her room to
JACOB BLICKENSTAFF

freaks and players that became play for her before she died on
the Dap-Kings 17 years ago. November 18.
Kopples film captures the Given the fraught
singers sorrow as she contends circumstances of the making of
with a profound crisis of Soul Of A Woman recorded on

16 UncUT december 2017


december 2017 UncUT 17
new albums

an eight-track machine at Daptone Studios,


the band convening whenever Jones was
up for it the new album somehow doesnt
need to be great to attain the significance
and veneration itll undoubtedly be
accorded. The plain fact of its existence
will be enough for anyone whos ever been
wowed or moved by her. Yet from Jones SLEEVE NOTES
first cry of Oh yeah! Oh yeah! in the 1. Matter Of Time
opening track Matter Of Time through 2. Sail On!
to the long fade for the organ and her 3. Just Give Me
Your Time
extended final note in the gospel finale
4. Come And Be
Call On God, Soul Of A Woman proves A Winner
to be so much more than your average 5. Rumors
swansong. It may even be the first work 6. Pass Me By
to emerge from the Daptone school of 7. Searching For
impeccably crafted but sometimes overly Jones and the A New Day
studied retro-soul to truly rank with the Dap-Kings: from 8. These Tears (No
raw swagger Longer For You)
masterpieces that inspired them. Sly, to moody
spirited and sublime, it packs a whole lot of sophistication 9. When I Saw
Your Face
action into its 36 filler-free minutes.
10. Girl! (You Got
Its also the groups most ambitious To Forgive Him)
album, thanks to the orchestral nature tone. Penned by Dap-Kings guitarist with the singer for attention. Even when 11. Call On God
of the music in its second half. Roth Joseph Crispiano, the latter combines a things swell to Shirley Bassey-worthy
and the group had been keen on that pep talk Sometimes people will treat you proportions on Girl (You Got To Forgive Produced by:
kind of approach ever since the 2012 like a worn-out shoe/But they dont know Him), Jones voice remains the focal Bosco Mann, aka
sessions for Give The People What They what you can do with an irresistible point, with her range uncompromised and Gabriel Roth
Want yielded a set of songs that evoked Latin-soul shuffle. Its Spanish Harlem her phrasing still right on the money. Recorded at:
the sophisticated, moody vibe they feel extends into Rumors, a nimbly The gospel number that closes Soul Daptone Studios,
Brooklyn
associated with favourites like Gladys funky tune that casts Jones as a woman Of A Woman is one of very few songs in
Personnel include:
Knights pre-Motown singles, Tell Her with many reasons to doubt her mans the Dap-Kings canon credited to Jones Sharon Jones
Youre Mine and It Hurts Me So Bad. character. Rumours tell me that youre no herself another, Im Still Here, earned (vocals, piano),
A 2014 performance of Marvin Gayes good, baby, she sings, with some Dixie her an Oscar nomination thanks to its Joseph Crispiano
Whats Going On with John Legend and the Cups-style backing provided via her own prominence in Miss Sharon Jones!. An (guitars),
Los Angeles Philharmonic fuelled their overdubbed harmony vocals. (Elsewhere, ardent expression of grace, devotion, Cochemea
interest in creating a showcase for Jones those duties go to her longtime backing warmth and courage, Call On God Gastelum (sax),
with the same kind of sweep and scope. vocalists Saun & Starr, aka Saundra is the gut-wrenching, heart-crushing Binky Griptite
But the musicians also couldnthelpbut Williams and Starr Duncan Lowe.) moment that fans surely hoped to find on (gtr), Dave Guy
(trumpet, bass),
note the gusto with which their revitalised Like most of the songs here, Rumors Jones final album, but may exceed those
Bosco Mann
frontwoman attacked newer, rawer doesnt make any clear-cut references to expectations anyhow. Its here where she (bass, gtr, organ),
additions to the Dap-Kings live repertoire, the singers real-life struggles. Yet its hard escapes that sorrow and looks beyond her Homer Steinweiss
like Sail On! and Just Give Me Your not to hear intimations of graver matters sufferings in the present, secure in the (drums), Neal
Time. So Soul Of A Woman became an when she sings of giving up a love thats knowledge that to be like Him is what I Sugarman (tenor
opportunity to venture in both directions. too painful to hang onto in Pass Me By, long to do and that the Almighty is there sax, piano),
An original by guitarist Binky Griptite, or expressing her resilience in the face to carry you through. The swellings of an Fernando Velez
written and delivered in the hard-hitting of hard times in Searching For A New eminently churchy-sounding organ and (percussion),
mode of Wilson Picketts Stax sessions, Day. Whats more, the general degree of the Universal Church Of God Choir from Saun & Starr (bk
vocals), Chris
Matter Of Time opens the albums more poignancy increases dramatically in Soul the Jamaica, NY, congregation where she
Davis (trumpet,
aggressive front half with a satisfying Of A Womans orchestral closing suite, as was a member give ample support in piano), Brian
swagger. Sail On! immediately trumps Jones pours her heart out and then some. musical terms, but Jones sounds like she Wolfe (drums),
it, Jones tearing her way through the tale Remarkably deft, the horn and string could carry it all on her own if she wanted Victor Axelrod
of an indignant womans encounter with arrangements provide great richness to or needed to. The quiet that follows the (organ), Thomas
the lover who once blew her off. On Just These Tears (No Longer For You) and songs last moments seems awfully quiet, Brenneck (gtr)
Give Me Your Time and Come And Be A When I Saw Your Face, without ever as if you needed any more proof of the
Winner, she takes on a more conciliatory allowing any single element to compete empty space she has left in the world.

how to buy...

Three ShArON JONeS eSSeNTiAlS


Motown-centric sophistication, R&B, funk, soul and heavy grooves
100 Days, 100 Nights I Learned The Hard Way Its a Holiday Soul Party
DaPToNE, 2007 DaPToNE, 2010 DaPToNE, 2015
After two albums that earned Avid students of nearly every The first Dap-Kings album
her much love among retro- variation and era of soul and recorded after Jones began
soul connoisseurs and the R&B, the Dap-Kings many treatment (not that you can
Dap-Kings boost in profile songwriters took a while tell), this seasonal spectacular
JACOB BLICKENSTAFF

thanks to Amy Winehouse, Jones and her band for their reach to match their ambitions. But is as joyous as you could hope and way funkier
broke through to a wider audience with a songs such as Better Things and Mama than it ought to be, especially when it takes the
more sophisticated, more Motown-centric set Dont Like My Man demonstrate just how holiday-record genre in an atypically interfaith
that hit just as hard as its rawer predecessors. far theyve come. Jones unparalleled voice direction on 8 Days Of Hannukah or brings
The title track remains one of Jones and the heavier, Muscle Shoals-style grooves overdue attention to Santas biggest headache
quintessential performances. help, too. with Aint No Chimneys In The Projects.

18 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


new albums

Miss Jones: a live


act who worked always packed a wallop. One things that
right up til the
end of her life added to the impact of that song was
that after a memorial service the pastor
had for Sharon at their church, the choir
came back to the studio in Bushwick and
recorded all the back-up vocals. It was a
very intense moment and there were a lot
of tears that you can feel in the track.

What was it like trying to


finish the album without
Sharon around?
gabriel: I read somewhere once that
Steve Cropper described mixing Sitting
On The Dock Of The Bay right after Otis
died in that plane crash as one of the
most difficult things hed ever done. I can
relate to that a little bit now. Having to go
to work every day and listen to voice of
my recently departed friend was pretty

Q&a tough, especially the little banter that


would be caught on the tape before and
after takes. It wasnt just that it made
me miss her so much that was rough.
But it was also that every word she
sang suddenly felt so precious, and the
neal sugarman & moody tunes with orchestral
arrangements that we initially recorded
pressure to pick the right takes and do
everything I could for this record became
Gabriel Roth: Key Dap- did not really give her the kind of raw the responsibility of hand-picking her
Kings recall making meat that she liked to devour onstage. legacy. Every word cut or saved seemed
With that in mind, we went back into the like such a heavy choice to make.
Sharon Jones final LP studio with the idea of cutting some more
tunes with more of a live feel. In the last are there any plans to perform
How were Sharons health and few months of touring we did, she was these songs live?
spirits during the recording? crushing some of these. At the end, we gabriel: We would love to play these
Neal SugarmaN: This was of course looked at the songs we had and decided songs again. There have been a few
a hard record to make, because we to split the LP. The front half of the record suggestions about collaborating with
were working around a very unusual is more of the raw stuff and the back half different singers to make it happen, but
situation. Not only were we trying to leans more orchestral. For me, it ended in the end, its very hard for the band to
find the right times to record because of up being a really coherent statement of go through with that. It would have to be
Sharons health, but also Sharon being how deep we got in all directions. a really particular situation and a special
a live act who worked right up til the end singer to do that and have it feel good.
of her life was always very concerned Can you talk about Sharons
with making sure she was well rested writing and recording of Call It must be unbelievably tough
for whatever shows or tours she had on god? Was it always clear to lose both Sharon and now
coming up. But the band loves the studio that this song would have such Charles Bradley over the
and it has always been a place where we an emotional wallop? last year how is the Daptone
can be loose, enjoy being together and Neal: This was a song that Sharon had family coping?
create. Whenever we were all playing written long before she was with the gabriel: It has been devastating for
music together whether live or in the Dap-Kings. Sharon was very involved us. Not only losing Sharon and Charles,
studio things felt most normal. When with her church choir since the 70s. but Dan Klein, the Frightnrs singer, and
she had a microphone in her hand, she We even reissued a seven-inch they Cliff Driver, the bandleader for Naomi
was always bigger than life and seemed made in the late 70s as E L Fields Gospel Shelton & The Gospel Queens. All of
invincible. As you can hear in the music, Wonders. Many of the people from that them were not only huge parts of the
things were flowing in the studio and record stayed with that choir and are Daptone sound but also great friends of
Sharon proceeded to sing her ass off, still there today. One of Sharons dreams ours. The loss of the past year has been
as she always did. And this record was to record more gospel music, and almost surreal in its scale. However,
definitely didnt come out of any sense whenever she sang those songs, yes, it I know that all of them would have
of fear or sadness. I dont think any of us wanted us to keep going, and we plan
ever took for granted one minute of the to. There is a real sense of the passing
opportunity to hang out and make music of the old guard at Daptone. There are
together there was really no better hang
than Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. She sang her ass off. some new artists that were very excited
about. Theyll never replace anybody

The original plan for Soul Of A


Woman was to do something
This record definitely who has passed, just like a new baby
in the family doesnt undo the loss of
a loved one. It just makes it possible to
very orchestral in scale. That didnt come from any see a future for a family that has been
JACOB BLICKENSTAFF

ended up only being part of the ravaged. Knowing that we have so much
whole how come?
gabriel roth (aka boSco maNN):
sense of fear or sadness of their music to survive them is some
consolation. I know Ill never lose the
Sharon was battling for her life and we
realised that those more sophisticated,
NEaL SUgaRMaN part of me I got from Sharon Jones.
INTERVIEW: JASON ANDERSON

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 19


new albums

B
Y not dying young, Morrissey robbed

MORRISSEY the world of a great artist. One


tweet in the aftermath of the latest
outrage noting the failure of UKIP
Low In High School to elect Anne Marie Waters as leader
ETIENNE/BMG
captured the feeling of a generation
5/10 of betrayed fans. If only he had been
struck down, you sense the devout wish perhaps
Sham 69 meets David Icke! onstage with The Smiths in Newcastle in January 1986
The work of an artist on the Red Wedge tour, the Queen Is Dead already safely
in the can the legacy would be untarnished and he
in blinkered decline, might be fixed in the same iconic aspic as Ian Curtis.
concludes Stephen Trouss
SAM RAYneR

Truth is, Morrisseys career has been all about sailing


too close to the wind, a long, provocative courtship
of offence. From the very start he was putting a

20 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


new albums

SLEEVE NOTES

AtoZ
laugh track on a song about the Moors as most protest songs, it does at least
Murderers, singing about molesting implicate the listener in some collective
students, celebrating 13-year-old cop responsibility. I Bury The Living, by 1. My Love, Id
killers and lamenting the failure of the contrast, is witless thud and blunder, Do Anything
For You
IRA to assassinate Thatcher. There has bemoaning honour-mad cannon fodder
2. I Wish You
never been a righteous, right-on centrist for seven and a half minutes. It capsizes
dad Morrissey you could comfortably the album, which struggles to recover.
Lonely This month
3. Jackys Only
disassociate from the unhinged extremity. It is nevertheless an interesting way of Happy When P22 BAND OF HOLY jOY
The lurid paranoia, stifled desire, splenetic leading into a second half that is largely Shes Up On
P23 jAMES HOLDEN
resentment and hysterical vengefulness preoccupied with sexual frustration in The Stage
P24 MAvIS STAPLES
fuel the fever-pitch romanticism and the Israel. While on paper that sounds like 4. Home Is A
Question Mark P25 BOOTSY COLLINS
vile politics. a promising combination, in practice
5. Spent The P26 jIM WHITE
Listening to Low In High School, though, it doesnt really get off the drawing
Day In Bed P30 LEON RUSSELL
his first record since he broke his own board. In Your Lap is typical, using the
6. I Bury The P31 GUN OUTFIT
landspeed record for alienating labels Arab Spring as little more than a cheap
Living P32 PETER OREN
with 2014s abortive World Peace Is None backdrop, and for the meagre frisson of 7. In Your Lap
Of Your Business, you wonder if the bilious rhyming Wipe us straight off the map 8. The Girl From
rhetoric becomes more emphatic as his with I want my head in your lap. The Tel-Aviv Who MATIAS AGUAYO &
artistic power wanes. While that earlier LP Girl From Tel Aviv Who Wouldnt Kneel Wouldnt Kneel THE DESDEMONAS
showed renewed gallows intensity, this is is possibly even more facile, forgetting its 9. All The Young Sofarnopolis
in many ways his weakest since Kill Uncle. protagonist almost immediately to take People Must CRAMMED DISCS

Spent The Day In Bed is certainly a breezy tour of the post-Iraq Middle East Fall In Love
7/10
10. When You
an inauspicious lead single. Though the before glibly concluding What did you Berlin producers full-band
Open Your Legs
Roxyish keyboards are refreshing, the think all these armies were for?/The land new-wave project
11. Who Will
chorus Stop watching the news! feels weeps oil. Who Will Save Us From The Protect Us From Chilean-born
symptomatically artless. Theres some Police? meanwhile, simply concludes on The Police? Matias Aguayo is a
irony in the way that the refusenik of the a coda of VENEZUELA! VENEZUELA! 12. Israel restless soul whose
80s no videos! No synths! has become with all the subtlety of a Tory minister solo catalogue has
the one indie artist to flourish in the 21st- warning of the perils of social democracy. Produced by: snaked around the
century clickbait torrent of pop, where In the midst of this, All The Young Joe Chiccarelli experimental end of
your impact can be calculated by your People Must Fall In Love is a cute piece of Recorded at: disco and house for two decades. For
Boz Boorer jugband light relief, advising La Fabrique this new ensemble offering, however,
thinkpiece pagecount. But too much of
Studios, France; he fronts a cosmopolitan band, The
LIHS could be summarised, without much romantic quietism and not worrying about
Forum Studios, Desdemonas, who indulge their new-
poetic loss, in a bullet list of talking points: the government, even as the Presidents Rome wave fantasies Sofarnopolis is a
fake news; the world burns; but I have plot apocalypse. The final Israel, Personnel fictional location with a compelling
discovered oral sex; and did I mention I however, is just baffling. Its a portentous includes: set of light-industrial Krautrock.
received the Freedom Of Tel Aviv? dirge, accompanied by a familiar, Morrissey Playing with others makes this one
Confusingly, the LP is often musically ludicrous litany of Catholic complaints, (vocals), Boz of Aguayos more stimulating
splendid. After a decade in a chugging interspersed with a sighing chorus to the Boorer (guitar), projects. His slithery melodies are
rut, producer Joe Chiccarelli brought Holy Land. It all feels weirdly reminiscent Jesse Tobias in place and he revels in his role as
of Julie Burchills latterday semitophilia. (guitar), Mando a crooner on the lovely Amiga
new colour to the Moz soundworld on
Lopez (bass), and Walk On By, but the bands
World Peace, and here he impressively Is this what becomes of our one-time post-
Gustav Manzur muscular diversions on Nervous
marshals contributions from four punk provocateurs? Learning Hebrew, (keyboards), and Cold Fever force him from his
co-writers in the Morrissey band. The taking booze cruises to TLV and retiring Matt Walker comfort zone. Piers Martin
album rumbles in with brassy swagger into indolent, blinkered decline? (drums)
on the Mando Lopez co-write My Love, Jackys Only Happy When Shes Up ED ASKEW
Id Do Anything For You, like The Sweet On The Stage, a scathing piece of self- ART AND LIFE
chancing their arm at a Bond theme. It reflection disguised as character study, TIN ANGEL

feels like it should be a statement of intent suggests Moz is at least aware of his career 8/10
la Youre Gonna Need Someone On predicament. After sketching the narrative Freak-folk pioneer returns to the
Your Side. But instead of squaring up for a arc to date (Scene 2: everyone who comes studio after five decades
scrap, Morrissey announces himself with must go/Scene 4: blacker than ever before/ Fted for 1968s
Teach your kids to recognise and despise Scene 6: this country is making me sick) acid-folk treasure
all the propaganda/Filtered down by the he concludes, Exit! Exit!/Everybodys Ask The Unicorn,
dead echelons mainstream media. Less heading for the exit! Whether hes turning Ed Askew has spent
rousing state-of-the-nation address, more his audience away with his views or with the intervening
like Sham 69 hopped up on David Icke. records as weak as this, it looks like a self- years painting,
Again, I Wish You Lonely, courtesy of fulfilling prophecy. The Morrissey story writing poetry and releasing only
surely deserves a finer final act. home recordings. Modern studio
Boz Boorer, sounds great, with curdled
technology softens his edges, and
synths and thudding bass like something time has rendered his voice more
from the first Magazine album. And here at vulnerable, but one tenet remains
least Moz attains some urgency, advising true, encapsulated by the title
you to eschew the dependencies of fealty,
romance and heroin and instead aim for Confusingly, the track:Everybody knows music is
the soul. If so, according to this
endearingly fragile collection
the existential heroism of the last tracked,
humpbacked whale, chased by gunships
from Bergen but never giving in!
album is often wherehes assisted by Josephine
Foster and Mary Lattimore his
But things go badly off the rails with I
Bury The Living. Morrissey has never
musically splendid is singularly tender. Hey Joe
and Clint Eastwood are like
been shy about his Buffy Sainte-Marie
fandom, and here he pays fulsome tribute
rumbling in with lost Lambchop classics, while
Friends And Lovers combines
Daniel Johnstons innocence with
by writing his own version of Universal
Soldier. While that tune is as pious
brassy swagger Van Dyke Parks sophistication.
WYnDHaM WaLLaCe

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 21


new albums

revelations that you dread. Appointments and


sour Breath address Bakers own
depression with unflinching candour,
kARL BLAU
Out Her Space BELLA UNION
8/10
while Happy to Be Here sounds like
a break-up song with God. Lights Soul love from the Spacebomb stable
may be bleak, but that only makes the last time we
the moments of catharsis all the more heard from Blau, he
illuminating. STEPHEN DEUSNER was singing lush,
Charlie Rich-style
BAND OF HOLY JOY country-soul covers
Funambulist We Love You on the outstanding
TINY GLOBAL PRODUCTIONS Introducing. this follow-up sounds
like the work of an entirely different
7/10
artist. Following Blaus production
Further bohemian rhapsodies from work on Matthew E Whites 2012
veteran gutter poets classic, Big Inner, White offered him
After 30-plus years of the spacebomb house band and studio
near-hits, wrong turns resources. the result, says Blau, is
and long sabbaticals, a soul-funk cousin to Big Inner,
Johny Browns featuring a hefty dose of off-kilter Afro-
soulfully ramshackle pop alongside jazz-rock freak-outs
indie-rock collective (Where You Goin Papa) and the acid-
have proved unusually fertile since country of Blue As My Name, where
BAND OF HOLY JOY reactivating in 2007, diversifying
into theatre, radio and multimedia
Blau claims to be drunk with wonder
again. He sounds it. GRAEME THOMSON
Johny Brown on keeping the faith with indie ideals collaborations. Lyrically, Funambulist
We Love You references Donald trump BROOkLYN RAGA
and current events, but musically MASSIVE
AND Of Holy Joy have future comedy star Vic Reeves. it sits firmly within the bands long- Terry Riley In C NORTHERN SPY
b been a heartwarming
beacon of DIY
Signing to Rough Trade in the
late 1980s, BOHJ enjoyed indie
established ragamuffin chanson
sound. there are shades of Nick Cave
8/10
bohemian values for over 30 acclaim, but never quite and Marc Almond as Brown waxes A minimalist classic relocates
years. This ramshackle London cracked the charts. We knew sardonically in his bruised, wobbly, its Indian roots
collectives latest LP, we had something unique, but heartfelt vibrato on A Revivalist Few musical pieces in
Funambulist I Love You, is it would have been a shock to Impulse and the song OfPassionate the modern classical
vintage on many levels, an everyone to go on Top Of The Intensity. these Brechtian music-hall canon provide the
urban folk opera drunk on Pops, Brown admits. We torch songs may be baggy and creaky opportunity for a
dashed hopes and inflamed were maverick guys from a in places, but Browns pound-shop communal freak-out
passions. We vacillate South London squat, never set bohemia still has a certain absinthe- like terry Rileys In
between a traditional indie up for mainstream success. I soaked allure. STEPHEN DALTON C. Recent versions have seen its 53
band and an art band, couldnt sing anyway! short musical phrases configured by a
explains singer, lyricist and sole Band Of Holy Joy was once a BITCHIN BAJAS Guitar Orchestra lead by Portisheads
remaining founder member full-time job for Brown, keeping BAJAS FRESH DRAG CITY Adrian Utley, and by an Africa Express
Johny Brown. We keep the eight people employed. Today, conclave in a Bamako youth club.
faith with indie ideals but were he balances music with 9/10
Given the key influence of Indian
also quite experimental. playwriting projects, an online Levitating career high from Chicago music on Riley, its weird that no-ones
Brown left his native radio show on Resonance FM kosmische jockeys previously improvised on In C using
Newcastle for London 35 years and a day job at Mencap. Im Daft name sitars, tablas and so on. thus Brooklyn
ago, sharing a New Cross a musical pauper, he laughs. notwithstanding, Raga Massives take is a logical and
squat with industrial noise- But I love it. Ive had a fantastic Cooper Crain and satisfying one. Part of In Cs genius
punks Test Department and life. STEPHEN DALTON his Chicago crew is how no instrumentation sounds
have established anachronistic to it, but the gracefully
themselves as the evolving systems lend themselves well
foremost neue-kosmische outfit to the rich textures listen out for the
LAURA BAIRD the fine opener, Wind Wind, are such around. After various collaborations dragon mouth trumpet. A masterpiece
I Wish I Were A Sparrow comfortable bedmates with trad picks (including a profile-raising one with of social music may have finally found
BA DA BING like Pretty saro and the Cuckoo. Will Oldham), their first full album in its spiritual home. JOHN MULVEY
One to file alongside recent sets by three years is a testament to expanding
8/10
House & Land and Nathan Bowles frontiers. Initially, Bajas Fresh remains MATTI BYE
Appalachian folk songs ancient and in your Contemporary Appalachian focused on rapturous psychedelic This Forgotten Land
modern. Contains actual sparrows. section. JOHN MULVEY electronica, albeit less dependent CONTROL FREAk kITTEN
those who place on the usual reference points terry
6/10
value in folk bona JULIEN BAkER Riley, tangerine Dream et al of
fides should be Turn Out the Lights MATADOR old. Gradually, though, it embraces Swedish composer expands palette
impressed by Laura new textures: a vast drone piece Long known for his
8/10
Bairds family tree: (Yonaguni); a foregrounding of free film compositions,
her sister is Meg, the Second set of soul-scarring tunes jazz elements (2303, Chokayo, Be reviewers tend to
spectral singer who also currently from a Mid-South singer-songwriter Going) that, as on their 2015 set with pontificate about
jams in Heron Oblivion; her great- Julien Baker recorded Natural Information society, manage Byes visionary
great uncle, IG Greer, was a notable her second album to be skittishly improvisational cinematic scope.
song collector and singer in North at Ardent studios without undermining the overall This Forgotten Land lives up to such
Carolina. the pleasures of I Wish I Were in her hometown of serenity. A good time for your chakras clichs, as ambient traces of Debussy
A Sparrow are not, though, dependent Memphis, and those guaranteed. JOHN MULVEY and satie inform his piano on the
on ancestry. As keen listeners will historic environs instrumentals Melt and Absencee.
have spotted on three duo albums only increase the relentless, at times A more futuristic impulse fuels the
with her sister (notably 2012s Until even claustrophobic intimacy of her Bitchin Bajas Ligeti-inspired Piano street, while
You Find Your Green), Baird is a nimble songs. Her arrangements remain the spooked, slow-motion circus-
banjoist, and has one of those ethereal aggressively minimalist, pairing her mannerisms of Into the Haze conjure
KATOMON

folk voices that can sound at once soulful vocals with only a guitar or a mad whirligig at the end of time. It
warm and uncanny. Its a tribute to her a piano to underscore barbed lines really needs someone to make a movie
songwriting, too, that new songs like like, Youre all that I need and Im all to go with it, though. NIGEL WILLIAMSON

22 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


new albums

Marcus Hamblett, percussionist Lascelle


Gordon and recorder player Liza Bec,
who obliterates all lingering memories of
school music lessons with her ferocious
approach to the humble instrument.
At the centre of it all, Holdens synth
plays a different role than before. It can
still gnaw, seethe and splutter like a
beast on a leash, but mostly it acts as the
harmonic anchor, allowing the other
instruments to cut loose and shred.
thunder Moon Gathering and the
Neverending feel unifying and majestic,
in contrast to the common urge in
experimental music to prod and provoke.
Pages live drums have transformed
Holdens approach, allowing for complex
rhythms that roll and sway in the manner
that programmed beats can rarely hope
to match. Pass through the Fire has
a lurching, swirling rhythm inspired
by Holdens 2014 trip to Morocco to

JAMES HOLDEN & work with Gnawa musician Maalem


Mahmoud Guinia. Go Gladly Into the

THE ANIMAL SPIRITS Earth sounds like Kraftwerks Europe


Endless reimagined as a frantic folk
waltz. During the mesmeric spinning
The Animal Spirits Dance, whose time signature changes
every time you think youve found the
BORDER COMMUNITY
beat, you start to wonder if youre actually
8/10 being hypnotised for use in one of Holdens
future experiments. For an LP inspired by
Former trance kid turned modular synth wrangler discovers the power free jazz and outsider folk, with no vocals
of psychic communication. By Sam Richards or lyrics to cling to, The Animal Spirits is
pretty approachable. Although it barely
Its taken almost two Cherry and Four tet collaborators qualifies as electronica, much more than
decades, but James SLEEVE NOTES RocketNumberNine, and Etienne Jaumet on The Inheritors you can hear Holdens
Holden has finally 1. Incantation For of French synth duo Zombie Zombie, who dancefloor-pleasing past manifested in the
reached a musical Inanimate Object also blows a mean jazz sax. way these tracks groove and flow.
domain where he 2. Spinning Dance Holden also gave up DJing, so rather Ultimately it doesnt sound much like
feels completely at 3. Pass Through than spend his week sifting through Pharoah sanders. The Animal Spirits is
The Fire
home. At the turn of hundreds of new releases to put together earthy and tactile, with an inescapably
4. Each Moment
the millennium and barely out of his teens, a convincingly cutting-edge techno set, British and faintly mischievous air that
Like The First
the skyscraping thump of his early tracks 5. The Beginning he started listening almost exclusively feels more like soft Machine jamming
Horizons and Nothing made him a & End Of The to the spiritual jazz of Don Cherry and with Mogwai or Fuck Buttons. Holden
star on the trance and progressive house World Pharoah sanders. this convinced him is a rationalist rather than a spiritualist,
scenes, where he rubbed shoulders with 6. Thunder that the only path to true musical nirvana applying science and logic to push his
sasha and tisto. But with a maths degree Moon Gathering involved musicians vibing off each other music into strange, potentially mind-
from Oxford, Holden was always more of a 7. The Animal in real time, and that even multitracking altering places. Even if you dont believe
thinker than a raver. Gradually retreating Spirits was an evil capitalist construct. to in animal spirits, you can appreciate the
8. The
from the superclub sphere, he started his complete his new folk-jazz-trance alchemy of this albums creation and its
Neverending
own label Border Community, putting band, he scoured Londons lively improv impressive dedication to spinning your
9. Go Gladly Into
out techno and electronica with a bucolic The Earth scene to find trumpet and cornet player brain just slightly off its axis.
feel. His own debut, 2006s The Idiots Are
Winning, introduced a strong element of
Aphex-style wibbliness to the equation.
Produced by:
James Holden Q&A
It would be another seven years before Recorded at:
he followed it up, during which time he Sacred Walls, James Holden: The when people play together, complicated. But usually Id
abandoned the strictures of software London modern way of making everything each one does just show them a basic idea.
Personnel: James records is a capitalist affects the rest. So you cant With Tom and I, we dont
composition for the lure of the modular aberration!
Holden (synth, do it in takes, the traditional need to discuss things very
synth, painstakingly constructing his own studio method. You all have much. He knows intuitively
programming),
Frankensteins monster of an electronic Tom Page what made you want to hear and respond to where Im going. Its magic!
music machine. 2013s The Inheritors (drums), Etienne to form an improv band each other. The modern Music is like a conduit for
found him coaxing astonishing noises Jaumet (sax), after all these years of way of making records is psychic communication.
from his new creation, although at 75 Marcus Hamblett being a solo producer? a capitalist aberration!
minutes, the LP was heavy going in places. (trumpet, When I started playing live, I How did the state
For all its pagan references, it still felt like cornet), Liza found how exciting it was to what instructions did of the world in 2017
the work of a boffin rather than a shaman. Bec (recorder), play with people who liked to you give to everyone affect your approach?
Lascelle Gordon improvise. The structure of before you pressed In that I didnt want to make
Holdens eureka moment came my music worked with that record? For some of a closed record for a niche
(percussion)
when assembling a live band to tour anyway. Theres this Harvard the songs Id demoed little audience, one thats carried
LAURA LEWIS

The Inheritors. He managed to recruit physics guy, Holger Hennig, melodies. I did write a score by its funny noises, I wanted
two musicians hed admired for a long who did a paper on human for The Beginning & The it to be carried by the songs
time: tom Page, drummer with Neneh timing. He proved that End Of The World as its so beneath. INTERVIEW: SAM RICHARDS

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 23


neW Albums

states and the red hotbeds of country


MAVIS and heartland rock in the South and
the Midwest. Build A Bridge, where

STAPLES Tweedys falsetto vocal is pitched an


octave higher than Staples growl, not only
reads like a hymn to unite a nation, but it
If All I Was tries to do so musically, mixing a funky
Was Black undercarriage with country flourishes.
elsewhere, there are nods to other
ANTI-
offshoots of the secular gospel tradition in
8/10 R&B. The tinny drum machine that kicks
off opener Little Bit and Who Told You
The gospel queen teams That? recalls the Maestro Rhythm King
up with Jeff Tweedy for an used by Sly Stone on Family Affair or
Timmy Thomas on Why cant We Live
album of 21st-century Together. Another Sly & The Family Stone
Civil Rights anthems. track, everyday People, is invoked by
By John Lewis jangly tack piano on Aint No doubt About
It a bright and breezy duet for Staples
and Tweedy.
On other numbers, Tweedy goes out on
a limb. No Time For crying is a single-
chord groove based around a motorik
drumbeat and some percussive, one-note
guitar riffs. People are dying/Bullets
are flying, howls an emotional Staples.
No time for tears/Weve got work to do.
Its an extraordinary collision of gospel
harmonies and post-punk angularity.
Perhaps the most moving moments,
A decAde ago, Mavis
Staples recorded an
SLEEVE NOTES little too dignified. We go high/When they
go low/I know they dont know what theyre
however, hark back to pre-war blues.
Peaceful dream plays like a low-key,
album with producer 1. Little Bit doing, she sings on the gospel ballad acoustic version of the Staple Singers
2. If All I Was
Ry cooder in which We Go High, ascribing her enemys Long Walk To dc, a humble hymn
Was Black
she performed soulful outrageous behaviour to ignorance rather based around a claw-hammer ragtime
3. Who Told
cover versions of You That than wickedness. The heavy boogie of guitar pattern, sweetened by Hammond
1960s civil Rights 4. Aint No Doubt Try Harder has a similarly forgiving organ, a bluesy electric guitar solo and
anthems. At the time, tracks like her About It (feat. air. Theres evil in the world/And theres some heavenly harmonies. The same
brooding blues version of the funereal Jeff Tweedy) evil in me, she prays, as if taking partial ragtime guitar re-emerges on the closing
dirge In The Mississippi River or her 5. Peaceful responsibility for a national tragedy. track All Over Again. Here Staples
thrilling Southern-fried funk upgrade of Dream Perhaps it is part of Tweedys project to voice is unsweetened by any harmonies,
eyes On The Prize were presented as 6. No Time For reconcile a divided nation. Performing croaking at the bottom of her vocal
Crying
historic pieces from a discrete period in US most of the guitar, bass and backing register, quavering with emotion as she
7. Build A Bridge
history performances that were revisited vocals himself, he mixes Southern rock, sings words that fit her like her glove.
8. We Go High
for reasons of aesthetics rather than out of 9. Try Harder blues, country, gospel and soul in what The world gets cold/Sometimes I have
political urgency. 10. All Over Again could be seen as a symbolic attempt to regrets/But I aint done yet/Ill do it all
Flash forward to 2017 and, as they say, unitethe R&B-fixated blue coastal over again.
shit got serious. As the current occupant of Produced by:
the Oval Office claims that a rally of white
supremacists contains good people,
Jeff Tweedy
Recorded at:
Q&A
and blames both sides for the murder of The Loft,
Chicago, 2017 Mavis Staples We Which of these songs with little Benjamin Booker
an anti-racist protestor, this collection of need more love! would you like Donald as well, that was a lot of fun.
Personnel: Mavis
original, 21st-century civil Rights songs Staples (vocals), Trump to hear? All this The main thing is, I feel like it
takes on a certain urgency. Jeff Tweedy Around the release of work Ive been doing, all keeps me young to be with
The album is Staples third collaboration (guitar, bass, your last album, Livin these years, I feel that hes the hipsters! Im flattered
with Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, and the percussion, On A High Note, you bringing back all the things that they know who I am and
first where, instead of tackling old and vocals), Spencer said you were looking weve fought against, the want to work with me. And
new standards, Tweedy has written every Tweedy, Stephen to contemporary bigotry and hate. I think the songs we all did were just
song. each is a nod to the kind of (vaguely) Hodges, Glenn songwriters for joyful it would fall on deaf ears, like Pops used to say If you
Kotche (drums, songs. Do you see but I would like him to hear want to write for the Staples,
political secular gospel anthems that R&B Jeffs songs here as Build A Bridge, because we read the headlines.
percussion),
artists started singing in the late 1960s joyful? Yeah, I guess Im shouldnt be so divided.
Scott Ligon
and early 70s, and its a compliment to (keyboards), Jeff back to the bad news and Are you looking forward
Tweedys songcraft to suggest that many Turner (bass), making people cry with this How did you find the to the upcoming tour
of these songs including the jangly disco Rick Holmstrom one! But its just too much, recent collaborations with Dylan, and will you
of the title track sound as if the Staple (guitar), Donny whats been going on, to not with Gorillaz and be collaborating? He
Singers might have performed them in Gerrard, Vicki try to sing about it, and try to Arcade Fire? I had big, told me last year during the
their heyday. Randle, Kelly inspire people to fix it. And big fun with all of them. Win tour that we were going to
Hogan, Akenya Im a loving person and I think and Tinkerbell [Rgine, from make a new record. Over the
However, where Mavis voice was once
Seymour that love does come through. Arcade Fire] had me over to years, every now and then
a rangey, optimistic mezzo-soprano, her Anger can give the Devil a their house in New Orleans wed connect, but the tour
(backing vocals)
register has dropped dramatically to an
CHRIS STRONG

foothold, as they say, and to record, and Damon took last year was the best. We
emotionally rich, bassy contralto. It adds I dont want that. So rather a train from New York to had a great time and talked a
a growling intensity to lyrics that are than anger, I think we need Chicago for our session. I also lot, reminisced and had some
dignified rather than angry maybe a more love, more compassion. did a song called Witness laughs every day. JOHN LEWIS

24 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


neW
e Albums
bu

JOHN CARPENTER Turning Strange and the glassy Here


Anthology: Movie Themes We Are), laying bare the tragedians
19741998 SACRED BONES impulses that underpin the comics act.
Ha ha bonk. JIM WIRTH
6/10
Spine-chilling synth scores, given BOOTSY COLLINS
a full-band overhaul World Wide Funk MASCOT
In 2015, John carpenter
6/10
re-emerged in new
form, the esteemed Return for P-Funk legend, with
horror director intermittent sparks The Deep Dark
shedding his skin Its the 50th Woods: deep
and dark indeed
and hitting the anniversary of P-Funk,
festival circuit as a rocknroll synth which is just about the
impresario, backed by live band. Two perfect time for bass
albums for Sacred Bones, Lost Themes master Bootsy collins Strongest are the sunlit Amarinthe and a spent, whispered delivery for the
and Lost Themes 2, were comprised of to return with a wry, and Shiloh, which adds chimes to extended tension of All My Worlds.
brand-new tracks. Anthology, however, spry album. Like its predecessor, 2011s its sweet, Glen campbell-like twang. WYNDHAM WALLACE
finds carpenter remaking his back Funk Capital Of The World, this new SHARON OCONNELL
catalogue with a splash of showy album is a bit of a mess at times, though THE DEEP DARK WOODS
pomp. Its not always an improvement: its scope is almost as impressively broad ADRIAN CROWLEY Yarrow
takes on escape From New York as its top-loaded guestlist (chuck d, Dark Eyed Messenger SIX SHOOTER
and Halloween cant top the cold Buckethead, Big daddy Kane, Stanley CHEMIKAL UNDERGROUND
8/10
desolation of the originals. But Big clarke). The devils often in the details
8/10 Measured, painfully beautiful
Trouble In Little Chinas Porkshop with World Wide Funk the plasmic
express gets a neat, chugging bass that grounds Hi-Heels is as Irish troubadour takes a walk Canadian folk noir
overhaul, and pretty much every hypnotically lustrous as it is dank; on the dark side Ryan Boldt has an
one of the albums 13 tracks confirm Boomerangs rhythmic detail is Recorded in four days ear for tragedy. Over
carpenters skill for an eerie earworm. pointillist and pneumatic. JON DALE in New York with the last decade five
LOUIS PATTISON producer Thomas albums with his band,
LOREN CONNORS Bartlett (Sufjan one solo covers record
MARTIN CARR Angels That Fall Stevens, The Magnetic the Saskatoon-raised
New Shapes Of Life TAPETE FAMILY VINEYARD Fields), crowleys singer/guitarist has established himself
eighth album pivots on the decision as a master of the mordant ballad.
8/10 8/10
to abandon his primary instrument, Yarrow is no departure, offering nine
Former Boo Radleys songwriter The ghost in the wires: Lorens the guitar, in favour of a starker achingly slow ruminations on flood
maintains his giant steps Venusian blues palette of strings, piano and cinematic (deep Flooding Waters), gin
Following 2014s Now well into his fifth atmospherics. His boho-lyricism and drinking (drifting On A Summers
exuberant The Breaks, decade of playing, rich baritone, with shades of Richard Night) and fixing to die (Roll Julia).
carr returns with a American guitarist Hawley, Sam Lee and Mark eitzel, Boldts guitar offers flurries of Neil
succinct, deceptively Loren connors has ramp up the drama. Silver Birch Young-style electricity, but the songs
simple half-hour reduced his style to Tree and Valley Of Tears possess ooze ancient sorrows, as on the closer
outing. Nodding subtly essence theres no the minimalist, thrumming tension The Winter Has Passed, which
to songwriters like Jimmy Webb The flash or flourish here, just the barest of latter-day Nick cave & The Bad makes a pass at optimism before
Vans instrumental interludes, The outlines of melody, and great cutting Seeds, though theres room for pointed accepting the inevitable.
Main Mans bold, brassy arrangements swathes of mood, mostly wrung from prettiness (Little Breath) and barbed ALASTAIR McKAY
and key changes its frequently six strings via lung-gusts of reverb and humour (Halfway To Andaluca). A
contradictory, his bewildered lyrical fractious delay. On Angels That Fall, a finely crafted mood piece rewarding BAXTER DURY
mood at odds with his confident single, extended piece, connors often deep immersion. GRAEME THOMSON Prince Of Tears
musical delivery. Apprehensive on the sounds as though hes playing in the HEAVENLY
gorgeously fluid title track, despairing next room, dropping pearl-like notes MLANIE DE BIASIO 7/10
amid the lovely piano lines of waltz A into the echo chamber of a hallway; Lilies
Mess Of everything, and confessional when he moves to piano, briefly, at the PIAS Ian Durys son continues to prove
on the upbeat Three Studies Of The albums end, his phrasing is curt, blunt, a worthy heir
7/10
Male Back where amusingly he but heartbreaking. JON DALE Five albums into an
admits to being stoned as a goose he Mysterious, moody triumph, intriguing career,
makes sweet music of amidlife crisis. WILLIAM PATRICK endorsed by Phil Selway Baxter dury has taken
WYNDHAM WALLACE CORGAN In contrast to confident command
Ogilala MARTHAS MUSIC/BMG the drama of last of the family business
EUROS CHILDS 6/10 years 25-minute, a proprietor, like
House Arrest NATIONAL ELF experimental his father, of a profane, iconoclastic
Smashing Pumpkins mainman Blackened cities strain of pop, half-sung, half-rapped
8/10 returns; James Iha guests eP, Lilies is a succinct in a yard-wide essex accent. Prince Of
Gorkys frontmans curious Nothing signals an affair, albeit one of often similarly Tears is a suite unreliably narrated by a
world of interiors artists desire to be unearthly pleasures. The chanteuse character called Miami, introduced on
Latterly a master of regarded as a serious impulses of de Biasios jazz background the eponymous opener: he has himself
smiles that never auteur quite like are exchanged for an uneasy serenity, mixed up with someone smarter
quite reach the eyes, formalising their old and though the title track begins and more successful, and the
former Gorkys Zygotic name, and so it is with like a torch song, it dissolves album is a wittily wrought
Mynci kingpin euros corgan. For the follow-up to 2005s solo, into a soundscape of soundtrack of his delusions,
childs taste for the electro-shoegaze set, hes opted for which Mark Hollis would from the sickly-sweet new
garishly quirky can mirror that of Go acoustic balladry recorded in live takes, approve. Gold Junkies wave of Mungo to
Kart Mozart, but again behind the 70s leaning heavily on piano and guitar, ups the pace, hinting the dadaist deliriums
velvet curtains of his 13th solo record featuring strings and Rick Rubins at but never of Letter Bomb.
the surface bonhomie masks deeper, impeccable, stripped-back production. delivering a climax Other highlights
darker concerns. An all-you-can-eat corgans pinched, rather nasal voice worthy of Nina include cameos from
buffet takes a notably macabre turn on has always been an acquired taste, but Simones See Line Rose elinor dougall on
crystal And Misty, and House Arrest the issue here is the sameness of his Woman, and she even Porcelain and Sleaford
ends with three cheerily crushing songs, which blur into a sub-Ashcroft restricts herself to Mods Jason Williamson on
meditations on different stripes of mournful intensity, typified by little more than Almond Milk.
isolation (Shower, widowers lament Aeronaut and The Mandarynne. two chords Baxter Dury: ANDREW MUELLER
the young Lord
Upminster
DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 25
new albums

americana EERA
Reflection Of Youth
BIG DADA
Country, bluegrass, folk and more
7/10
Norwegian emigres powerful first
On her 2016 debut EP as
EERA, Anna Lena Bruland
mixed grungy alt.pop and
eddying, animist folk,
messaging her emotions
without making them
explicit. But her first full-length is a darker,
more revealing and fulsome record in every
way. It cuts unsettlingly vivid imagery
(splintered skin, carpets cut open) with
personal disclosure (Make me stand, make
me rise, help me feel alive, she demands on
the opener, Living) against a backdrop
of clanging guitars, reverbed vocals and
gloomily intoxicating keys. I Wanna Dance
is evidence of PJ Harveys influence and
there are hints of Cocteau Twins and Joanna
Newsom, but the air of doomed beauty is
Brulands own. SHARON OCONNELL

JIM WhITE WILLIAM EGGLESTON


Musik
Waffles, Triangles & Jesus SECRETLY CANADIAN

LOOSE 7/10
Fabled US photographers synth tracks
8/10 Now 78, William Eggleston
Uplifting communiqus from Georgia-based polymath is considered one of the
finest photographers of
JIM White hasnt exactly been The latter plays foil on the deliberately hokey the 20th century for his
idle in the five years since his Ernest T Bass At Last Finds The Woman Of His documentation of American
last solo release, Where It Hits Dreams, a hillbilly duet that imagines a happy life and use of colour. Acts
You. His striking visual collages ending for the psychotic mountain man from including Big Star, Primal Scream and
continue to gather in art The Andy Griffith Show. Silver Threads skips Joanna Newson have licensed his images
galleries across the States, ahead at pace too, armed with trumpets and for their artwork. Less well known is that
theres been production work for various roots supple harmonies, as White wishes for a world hes also a keen musician who grew up
singers, and hes also won the Pushcart Prize where troubles are rendered weightless with a in Mississippi playing Bach, Handel and
for Superwhite, a book of short fiction. few simple stitches. gospel on piano and, in the 1980s, took to
Sixth solo album Waffles, Triangles & Jesus As ever, theres a bittersweet quality to many composing rather grand, baroque pieces on
marks the welcome return of White the singer- of these songs. Rainfall acts as backdrop to a Korg synthesiser in his Memphis home.
songwriter, unpacking reassuringly odd, Reason To Cry, a string-band hymn about a Transferred from floppy disk, 13 of these
skewed narratives that offer a surrealists view wailing woman in the woods that finds White improvisations including a cover of Gilbert
of Southern life. White has jokingly called it musing on the endless train of sorrows that life and Sullivans Tit Willow make up his
the soundtrack for the end of the world, but seems to present. Meanwhile, the banjo-steered debut album Musik, an eccentric collection
its noticeable that his songs have become Drift Away is a resigned, moody piece that that only adds to his mystique. PiERS MARtiN
breezier as hes gotten older (hes now 60), as if suggests its sometimes better to cast fate to the
to gradually dispel the darkness that clouded tides than keep on struggling against them. ELECTRIC WIzARD
earlier, reputation-sealing works like No Such It all ends with Sweet Bird Of Mystery, a Wizard Bloody Wizard
SpINEfARM/WITChfINDER
Place. A group of players from his adopted moving tune written for his daughter 18 years ago
hometown of Athens lend their weight too, thats hitherto never made it to record. A simple 6/10
notably old-time fiddlers Hog-Eyed Man, folk- declaration of love and hope, it feels very much More diabolically heavy doom rock
country duo Cicada Rhythm and Holly Golightly. like Whites own Forever Young. ROb HUgHES from the Dorset quartet
americana round-up Some things never change.
On the opening track of
Among the big winners at the usual band, The Coastguards. Electric Wizards ninth
annual americana awards, The LP sees him experiment album, a slow doom-blues
held in Nashville last month, with a full orchestra, overseen entitled See You In Hell,
was Uncut favourite sturgill by Austrian arranger Arnulf Jus Osborn greets listeners
simpson (right) who made Lindner. It marks their first with a reminiscence about a buddy: Lucifer,
off with the Album Of The collaboration since Lindner my only friend. Its matched by a title and
Year prize for A Sailors Guide produced 2005 EP Donkey cover that verge on self-parody: a womans
To Earth. Jason Isbells other Stock, by Michaelsons old torso with Wizard Bloody Wizard carved in
half, amanda shires, won Sturgill outfit, Absentee. On the live bloody letters into her flesh. As is traditional,
the Emerging Artist award, Simpson front, Jason isbell, backed there will be those bemoaning the fact its
while the great John prine by The 400 Unit, takes The no Dopethrone, and The Reaper, over in
was crowned Artist Of The Nashville Sound out in late an uncharacteristically brief three minutes,
Year. Prine celebrated by performing with October, beginning at Manchesters Albert feels like a waste of a track. Still, Wizard
iris dement, who took home the Trailblazer Hall and ending at the Symphony Hall in Bloody Wizard offers enormous pleasures:
gong. December is usually a thin month for Birmingham. Canadian aces The sadies the ferocious combination of Osborn and Liz
new releases, making the return of dan also play dates around the same time, Buckinghams guitars on Hear The Sirens
michaelson all the more agreeable. First promoting the very fine Northern Passages, Scream, or the acid trudge of Mourning Of
Light, issued on The state51 Conspiracy, is and LA upstarts The americans bring their The Magicians, a track so single-minded in
the successor to last years much-praised boisterous rocknroll to Bristol, Manchester its journey to the abyss it makes Saint Vitus
Memory, though this time hes left behind his and London in early November. ROb HUgHES sound eclectic. MiCHAEL HANN

26 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


new albums

ESCApE-ISM feeling like a dry curatorial exercise. Birkin would ever trade in anything Aside from having
Introduction To Escape-ism The limpid prettiness of Lush and but louche Euro-pop. It has been very once appeared on
MERGE You Are Loved harks back to his good louche Euro-pop, mind, and on Play Away dressed
early-noughties folktronica phase, the more electronic Rest, Gainsbourg as King Arthur,
6/10
although theres something for the (previously helped by the likes of Air, Peter Hammill has
Make-Up/Nation Of Ulysses ravers in the form of SW9 9SL, named Jarvis Cocker and Beck) has taken resisted any urge to
preacherman goes solo after the postcode of Brixton Academy, greater charge of the writing, not water down his music over the last
Once one of the where he hosts his annual all-nighters. least as a means of grieving for her 50 years. As is his wont, he recorded
great frontmen in Hebden may think global, but he half-sister, the late photographer Kate his 35th solo album alone in his home
indie rock, in recent usually acts local. SAM RiCHARDS Barry. Collaborators Owen Pallett, studio, and its 10 tracks show that age
years Ian Svenonius Paul McCartney and Daft Punks still hasnt tamed Hammills mighty,
has also emerged ChARLOTTE Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo stentorian voice or the existential rage
as one of its great GAINSBOURG leave traces, but the voice is all still burning at the centre of his songs.
conceptualists: see his 2013 book of Rest Gainsbourgs, in more senses than On Deaf Ears conjures up a spectral
invented interviews, Supernatural BECAUSE one: the title track is an especially choir of Hammills, while opener My
Strategies For Making A RocknRoll exquisite confection. ANDREW MUELLER Unintended, dissecting a poisonous
8/10
Group. Logically, then, his debut relationship and riven with hard
solo album should be a gem. Instead, Sumptuous, melancholy electronica pETER hAMMILL acoustic guitar, would have slotted
though, Introduction To Escape-ism It would have been from The Trees right into 1973s Chameleon In The
feels half-cocked. Stripped back to just absurd to expect fIE! Shadow Of The Night.
guitar and drum machine, Lonely that Charlotte tOM PiNNOCK
8/10
At The Top channels the murky Gainsbourg
incantations of Suicides Alan Vega, daughter of Serge Van der graaf leader continues his CURTIS hARDING
while the likes of Almost No One (Can Gainsbourg and Jane fine solo trip face Your fear ANTI-
Have My Love) gestures towards the
7/10
hip-wiggling electro punk of early
Peaches. But the tracks are so sparse Soul man plots his course
and lo-fi as to feel half-finished, and Curtis Hardings
Svenonius smouldering delivery fails 2014 debut, Soul
to catch fire. LOUiS PAttiSON Power, suggested a
talent not yet sure
BLA fLECK & of his direction. On
ABIGAIL WAShBURN Face Your Focus, the
Echo In The Valley Atlantan soul man has worked out
ROUNDER where to go. Working with Danger
Mouse and Sam Cohen has polished
8/10
his sound, and the quality of the
Duelling banjos and Appalachian songwriting matches the production.
echoes from grammy-winning The singles Wednesday Morning
husband-and-wife duo Atonement and Need Your Love
After illustrious solo take old forms and buff them up
careers, the worlds with clever use of sound: the wailing
premier banjo player fuzz guitar in the background of
and his troubadour the former, the buzzing synth of
wife recorded together the latter. The strength of Face Your
as a duo for the first Fear is that neither of those needed
time in 2015, and the self-titled album to have been the lead singles: the
promptly won a Grammy as best beautiful Ghost Of You sounds
folk album. The follow-up is steeped
in a similarly intimate, back-porch were destined for radio; the closer As I
Am sounds oddly like Pushin Too
aesthetic on a set of stripped-down but
intense songs. The virtuosic interplay
new Hard reinvented as deep soul. A bit
of a triumph.
of their two banjos is heard at its finest here MiCHAEL HANN
on a medley of trad Appalachian
instrumental tunes, while on the JOE hENRY
haunting rural blues of My Homes Thrum EAR MUSIC
Across The Blue Ridge Mountains
and Come All You Coal Miners, its
EERA to be true to yourself. And to
not be afraid of letting the 7/10
audience get to know you.
Washburns high, keening voice that Ms Bruland digs and delves A maverick game of musical chairs
She admits, though, that using
commands centre stage. Both are wrOTE my first song an alias helps in a way, since After making last
equally exquisite. NigEL WiLLiAMSON
i when I was about 15
years old, Anna Lena
my songs are very personal.
And as to EErA, specifically?
years Shine A
Light Billy Bragg
fOUR TET Bruland remembers. I think I I wanted to have a name that collaboration on
New Energy wrote very folky songs back felt strong and was also easy the hoof in railway
TEXT
then, and I always played with to remember. terminal waiting
rooms, Henry takes another novel
8/10 a nylon-string guitar. My Bruland agrees that the title
inspiration was just boys, she Reflection Of Youth suggests approach on his 14th solo release.
Warm and intimate ninth album Thrum finds him and his regular
from british electronicas MVP laughs. Very typical! shes on the brink of a new
As her debut album shows, beginning. It definitely feels cohorts playing as a live unit, with
Kieran Hebden the Norwegian emigres like an end of a chapter, and engineer Ryan Freeland mixing the
recently appeared subject matter has matured Ive learnt so much about performances in real time; the result
on Radio 3s Late infinitely since then, but her myself by writing this. It was is a set of songs that twist, dip and
Junction to share some habit of mining emotion for after I finished that I released tease as if the wind keeps changing
of the inspirations creativitys ends has only what it was actually about. direction. The method brings a filmic
for this album. They intensified. when asked And now I can use that vibe to the Waits-ian balladry of The
included music for santoor, Celtic why she digs so deep, she knowledge to further develop Glorious Dead and Blood Of The
harp and African thumb piano, as says, I think its important as a person and also as Forgotten Song, and gives the effect
well as an Inuit kids chant. Hebdens of the players strolling in and out of
ALICE rAINIS

as an artist to be honest and an artist. SHARON OCONNELL


skill is to weave such ethnographic earshot on the hymnal high-water
curiosities into the fabric of his own mark Now And Never.
luminous electronica without it tERRY StAUNtON

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 27


new albums

large cast and the pedigrees of its


core partnership: former Cocteau
Twins bassist/keyboardist Simon
Raymonde and drummer Richie
Thomas of Dif Juz and the Cocteaus
touring lineup. Making excellent use
of his connections as Bella Unions
major domo, Raymonde elicits
gorgeous performances from guest
vocalists such as Marissa Nadler,
ex-Midlake frontman Tim Smith and
The Innocence Missions Karen Peris.
Even more welcome are the deviations
from the sumptuous dream-pop and
ethereal acid-folk modes youd expect
of Ojala, like the match of Raymondes
Caption cascading piano figures and
Megan Ghostpoets gruff but emotive delivery
Henwood: on Reckless. JASON ANDERSON
immersed in
fluid alt.folk DANIELE LUPPI &
PARQUET COURTS
Milano
MEGAN HENWOOD vocals layered and intertwined using Lynched), but their battery-acid sharp, 30TH CENTURY
River a Roland VT-3 voicebox. Magical. Dransfields harmonies and uilleann
8/10
DHARMA STEphEN DALTON pipe drones ensure their second
album is powerfully strange. Largely Italian composers new-wave
7/10 KING GIZZARD & THE homage to 1980s Milan
trad but heavy on the arr, Between
Third expansive album from LIZARD WIZARD WITH The Earth And Sky casts its net wide; Daniele Luppi last
alt.folk adventurer MILD HIGH CLUB Gavin Bryars minimalism colours surfaced alongside
If you had Henwood Sketches Of Brunswick East their stately The Townie Polka, The Danger Mouse in
marked down as a HEAVENLY Turkish Reveille puts Sweeneys Men 2011 with Rome,
dyed-in-the-wool under heavy sedation, while their their tribute to
7/10
folkie, shes come anarcho-punk roots show through on that gilded era of
a considerable way Australian psychaholics take their takedown of modern Ireland, Cinecitt movies into which they
since winning the welcome chill pill Danta In ireann, every inch the roped Jack White and Norah Jones.
BBC Young Folk Award in 2009. In This is King Gizzards work of an Incredible Dog-On-A-String Conceptually and musically, Milano
these dozen fluidly flowing songs, third album of 2017, Band. JIM WIRTh is more straightforward: drawing
her acoustic guitar frequently bursts with another two in parallels between mid-80s Milan and
through to the surface. Yet to do so it the pipeline. Such SHANNON LAY no-wave New York, then ultra-stylish
has to weave its way through layers dazzling prolificacy Living Water dens of iniquity, Luppi recruits Big
of understated electronica and on is impressive on WOODSIST/MARE Apple ambassadors Parquet Courts
album highlight Fresh Water the paper but rarely advisable in practice. and Karen O to romp through a set of
7/10
haunting, Chet Baker-ish trumpet of Thankfully, Sketches pulls back from nimble post-punk and dissonant disco
Jonny Ensor. Opener Join The Dots the bands usual high-concept hysteria Spellbinding third from West about the Italian citys demi-monde.
and Seventh hint at a rootsier, more to salute their Melbourne locale with Coast songstress The dubby funk of Lanza and
literate Dido, but thats really not to a series of sunny jams influenced by Kevin Morby was Caf Flesh suggest this is Parquet
criticise Heywood: this is sophisticated tropiclia and 70s soundtrack jazz. so enamoured of Courts wildest set so far, while Karen
contemporary singer-songwriting Mild High Clubs Alex Brettin imbues Lays solo show Os vivacious turns on Talisa and
on a par with Laura Marling. proceedings with a soft-focus calm that he offered to Flush demand immediate attention.
NIGEL WILLIAMSON via his trademark wilting synths and take her out on tour pIERS MARTIN
watery AOR licks. Yet even at its most and release Living
HANNE HUKKELBERG languid, this album retains a faintly Water on his new Mare label. The DANNY MULHERN
Trust manic, frazzled quality that prevents album explores another side of her Reflections On A Dead Sea
PROPELLER it from descending too far into retro repertoire (shes also lead guitarist 1631 RECORDINGS
pastiche. SAM RIChARDS for LA psych-punks Feels, whose
7/10 6/10
Ty Segall-produced debut landed
Nordic singer-songwriter explores LANKUM last year), delving into timeless Atmospheric cello-led miniatures
her electronic side Between The Earth And Sky acoustic folk that marries the from the film and TV composer
Rooted in the ROUGH TRADE autumnal ambience of Vashti Multi-instrumentalist
loosely conceptual Bunyan with the stillness of Jessica and producer Mulhern
8/10
theme of human Pratt or Julie Byrne. Recorded by is best known for his
empathy in an online The Flaming horslips: moody Emmett Kelly at his home studio, soundtracks to TV
cyberworld, Hanne Dubliners weird up trad folk its a tender, beguiling affair, with shows such as Silent
Hukkelbergs fifth Ian and Daragh judicious use of strings and the Witness and The
album continues the welcome drift Lynch nominally occasional electric jolt. ROb huGhES Natural World, but this LP features
into experimental electronica hinted at went straight when music written for the soundtrack to
on 2012s Featherbrain. The Norwegian their experimental LOST HORIZONS the award-winning 2016 short film The
singer-songwriter makes particularly psych duo morphed Ojala Dead Sea, in which African refugees
striking use of technology to enrich into raggle-taggle BELLA UNION make the perilous journey across
and manipulate her voice, expanding four-piece Lankum (formerly the Mediterranean and end up in a
7/10
and pitch-shifting it into a kind of Libyan detention centre. Mulherns
lustrous, woozy, self-harmonising Former Cocteau Twins associates mournful cello, hymnal piano and
instrument on the swooning sci-fi get the best out of their guests minimal strings all emphasise texture
lullaby IRL and the syncopated The gossamer spectre over melody: exceptions include the
digi-funk of Embroidery. Inspired of 4AD house band uplifting, tearjerking chord cycle
by an iPhone alarm ringtone, Fall This Mortal Coil on In The Hands Of Strangers
has an infectiously sweet nursery- hangs over Lost and Libya (Instrumental), where
SARAH FLYNN

rhyme simplicity, while the final track, Lankum: Horizons beguiling the sawing, swelling strings echo
Duper, the only lyric in Norwegian, an Eire of debut, which is the panicked breathing of the
is a gorgeous tangle of a cappella unease not so surprising given the projects protagonists. JOhN LEWIS

28 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


new albums
bums

Given his life MiLES COOPER SEATON


commitment to Phases in Exile
anarcho-pacifism, TROVAROBATO/VAGGiMAL
Rimbaud is arguably
5/10
a natural for these
readings of works Akron/Family members solo outing
by celebrated First World War poet Seaton has pulled
Owen, launched as a live improv some hard yards in
project with pianist Liam Noble and his time, particularly
cellist Kate Short in 2014, and carrying as a member of
through to 2018. As youd expect, its a Akron/Family, where
compellingly stark and sombre set, but he developed an
theres serenity here, too. Noble and ongoing working relationship with
Short are expressively versatile foils Michael Gira of Swans and Angels Of
for Rimbaud, who conveys the terrible Light. Phases In Exile is Seatons first
beauty of Owens texts without over since Akron/Family split in 2013. Its
dramatising, despite plenty of richly a mixed bag of good intentions that
rolled Rs. Most vivid is the stricken often fall flat due to some of the more
The Sentry (eyeballs huge-bulged cloyingly performative aspects of
like squids), most devastating as these languorous, amorphous songs.
regards those sacrificed, Anthem For Too often, Seatons delivery comes
The late Leon Russell: Doomed Youth. ShARON OCONNeLL across as the kind of earnest indie-folk
fleapit blues, cracked reflectiveness that makes the genre
ballads and nightclub
swingers
LEON RUSSELL such a chore. At its weakest, its just a
On A Distant Shore spooky Fleet Foxes. JON DALe
PALMETTO
OCS Change Is Sure To Come, and Coleman
8/10 PHiLiP SELWAy
Memory Of A Cut-Off Head Hawkins on the duet with guitarist Let Me Go OST
CASTLE FACE Chris Cobbson, The Morning After Touching posthumous album by BELLA UNiON
The Night Before. Pine needs to record fulsomely bearded musical legend
8/10 7/10
a lot more like this. JOhN LewIS Im waiting here for
The continuing adventures of my time to come, Radiohead drummers third solo
John Dwyer PRiMUS sings Leon Russell album and first soundtrack
Mere months after The Desaturating Seven on the opening title Given the films
dropping Orc, John ATO track of On A Distant inspiration Austrian
Dwyer has called Shore, the album woman uncovers her
5/10
time on Oh Sees and Russell was working on before his mothers proud Nazi
re-emerged under Reunited jazz-punk shredders death in November 2016. Whether or past Philip Selways
long-abandoned continue their exploration of sinister not he knew his death was imminent, soundtrack for Polly
pseudonym OCS, retaining one childhood themes Russell was clearly fully committed Steeles second feature was never going
member long-time collaborator With their knotty to the project, with sincere lyrics and to be uplifting. Nonetheless, it offers a
and vocal muse Brigid Dawson and tangles of bass- a strained, emotional vocal sustained brittle beauty on shorter instrumental
sacking off the gale-force psych heavy jazz-metal, by luscious strings. Theres fleapit tracks, not least its bookends, two
in favour of spry baroque folk. A strangulated vocals blues (Black And Blue) and cracked versions of Helgas Theme, the
surprising mutation, for anyone only and psychedelic ballads (On The Waterfront), but the latter embellished with eerie musical
familiar with Dwyer at full-tilt, but weirdness, Primus prevailing mood is poised somewhere saw. Selway contributes pleasantly
Memory Of A Cut-Off Head proves are a Marmite-intense experience, between nightclub swing and James timid vocals twice accompanied
his magic straddles genres. Dawson abrasive and divisive but frequently Bond theme, as on the gorgeous by acoustic guitar on Wide Open,
and Dwyer sing in close harmony, exhilarating. The first album in 22 This Masquerade and the touching and also on the grander, but still
their entwined tones recalling the years from the reunited classic lineup swansong A Song For You. understated, Let Me Go, the closest
fey androgyny of Tyrannosaurus of Les Claypool, Larry LaLonde and PeTeR wATTS he gets to his parent band but leaves
Rex-era Marc Bolan, while lush Tim Alexander is inspired by The Lambs Lou Rhodes, on Walk, to
strings and horns courtesy of guests Rainbow Goblins, a lavishly illustrated SAiCOBAB provide the albums most reassuringly
Heather Lockie and Mikal Cronin lend 1978 childrens book. From the lysergic Sab Se Purani Bab tender moment. wYNDhAM wALLACe
Neighbour To None and On And prog-punk shanty The Valley to the THRiLL JOCkEy
On Corridor a fulsome orchestral gnarly percussive shredding of The
7/10 OMAR SOULEyMAN
prettiness. LOUIS PATTISON Scheme, these seven tracks expand To Syria, With Love
on the twisted childhood innocence Boredoms vet amplifies impact BECAUSE
COURTNEy PiNE that Primus mined on their 2014 of new projects spiralling
7/10
Black Notes From The Deep reworking of the Willy Wonka & The grindcore raga
FREESTyLE Chocolate Factory soundtrack, though An improvisational exiled singers love letter home
the arrangements here are thinner and project for YoshimiO Souleymans third
7/10
the longer pieces feel overstretched. of Boredoms and official Western LP
Brit-jazz titan, back on the tenor STePheN DALTON OOIOO, and sitar first came out in June
sax, with guest singer Omar player Yoshida Daikiti on Diplos Mad Decent
After a string of PENNy RiMBAUD that first began in 2001 label in the hope that
albums where he What Passing Bells but has only now recorded its debut the festival fave might
switched to bass ONE LiTTLE iNDiAN with the help of bassist Akita Goldman dent the US dance market following
clarinet and soprano and frame drummer Hama, Saicobab 2013s Four Tet-overseen Wenu Wenu.
7/10
sax to explore whip up a sonic maelstrom thats every This is a meaty-sounding affair, largely
European folk themes, Crass man recites wilfred Owens bit as intense as the shock tactics of as Souleymans keys mainstay Rizan
reggae and the standards songbook, poems, with cello and piano Boredoms early noise recordings or Said has been replaced by Hasan
Pine makes a welcome return to the the polyrhythmic psychedelia that Alo, who flattens the likes of Ya
tenor. The four collaborations here followed. Indeed, the frenzied ragas Boul Habari and Ya Bnayya into
OCS: Brigid Dawson
with Brit-soul star Omar are rather and John Dwyer and other Japanese/Indian musical dabke techno. Souleyman has always
dated pieces of junglist-tinted acid collisions on Sab Se Purani Bab elicit sounded melancholy, but here, with
jazz, but elsewhere Pines orthodox, some of the wildest sounds to ever his country in chaos, he addresses
instrumental ballads are exquisite and escape from YoshimiOs throat, the situation, singing, on Mawal:
well-written. He recalls Stan Getz on whether theyre the mutant bird calls Im tired of looking for home/And
the brooding Rivers Of Blood, a flute- of Siiidaa or the zig-zagging scat asking about my loved ones/My soul
playing Yusef Lateef on the waltz A singing of aMn nMn. JASON ANDeRSON is wounded. PIeRS MARTIN

30 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


new albums

dislocation of Lift To Experience and the


more adventurous moments of Wilco.
Theres also a diversity that comes
from the contrasting styles of Sharp and
Keith. Loosely put, Sharp favours oblique
non-narrative lyrics with wry asides,
while Keith is more direct, both in terms of
delivery and content. Keith provides Out
Of Range with its sense of momentum,
moving things forward where Sharp
will circle his themes like a vulture. The
clearest example is The 101, an ode to the
road that took the band from Washington
to California. With Barnes playing
bouzouki and Keith accompanying her
vocal with fiddle, the song sounds ancient
even as it picks apart modern LA where
the first lesson you learn is how to project.
Californias a legend, she sings, on the
brink of destruction every day, arcing back
to Cybele, Sharps Ozymandian lament

GUN OUTFiT about a lost ancient cult.


Keith is always on the move. Amid the
swirling Sally Rose she sings, not
Out Of Range gonna run, Im gonna fly Quitting all my
PARADiSE OF BACHELORS jobs is good for my career, while love
song Three Words has her threaten
8/10 and you know in a moment Ill be on my
way. Sharp, though, is more likely to be
Western expanse and Californian mythology explored on excellent fifth chasing his own thoughts. On country
from cosmic Americana five-piece. By Peter Watts rattler Strange Insistence he starts by
contemplating the perceived outcomes
YOU might want to and looser, atmospheric Dream All Over. of taking different drugs Speed makes
pick up a guide to SLEEVE NOTES They now play as a five-piece following you a genius/Cocaine will make you rich/
ancient myths before 1. Ontological the addition of Henry Barnes, whose LSD shows you divinity/And everythings
listening to the latest Intercourse homemade instruments (the sibanjar, alright on opiates before exploring
Gun Outfit album, 2. Landscape the springocaster lap-slide) as well as related themes of authenticity and reality,
Painter
which includes songs his mastery of the dulcimer and bouzouki, while on the crawl of Slow Realisation,
3. Cybele
about Orpheus and 4. Strange
adds to the sense of mystery that hangs he pauses to apologise for his own drift
Cybele as well as references to monads, Insistence over their music and which Gun Outfit towards abstraction: Pardon me for the
viridian, hierophants and syrinxes. 5. The 101 are so adept at exploiting in their more hippie talk
From Ancient Greece to contemporary 6. Slow Realisation abstract lyrics. Its Barnes who coined the On Second Decade he abandons that
California, theres a fascination with myth 7. Sally Rose phrase western expanse to describe the strategy to sing an unalloyed love song
and legend on Out Of Range, due in part 8. Three Words bands sound, a label that hints at both for his band, directed at Keith: Oh my
to co-songwriter Dylan Sharps job as a 9. Primacy Of Love geography and their sense of openness. Caroline/Can you believe how swiftly a
security guard in an art gallery, time that 10. Background There are elements of folk and country decade has gone by?. In the process, he
Deal
allowed him to gaze upon visual art for six in their music, but its also the sound of neatly captures the sonic atmosphere of
11. Second
hours a day, and also to contemplate ways Decade
the desert, the ocean, the prairie and the band A simple recollection of the
of incorporating what he self-mockingly the loneliness of LA. Within this vibe, rhythm of waves but still finds time to
calls pretentious references into the Produced by theres little space for the bands hardcore reference Samuel Beckett. Its a tricky thing
bands fifth LP of cosmic Americana. Gun Outfit origins. Instead theres the sardonic to pull off without sounding self-obsessed,
Opening song Ontological Intercourse, Recorded drawl of Silver Jews, the incandescent but it shows that Gun Outfit can sing from
a rough-necked samba, is in part about at: Gaucho richness of Phosphorescent, the unsettling the heart as well as from the brain.
Orpheus, the Greek father of songs who Electronics, LA

Q&A
made rocks dance and worshipped only Musicians:
Carrie Keith
the sun, a heresy that led to his death,
(guitars, vocals,
while Landscape Painter sees Sharp violin), Dylan
celebrate the work of Brueghel. The myths Dylan Sharp & Carrie How do you describe
Sharp (guitar, keith: Were more your sound overall?
of drugs and California also feature, and by vocals, banjo, western than country DS: Western expanse is
closer Second Decade, hes exploring the bass), Henry something Henry came up
legend of the band itself. Were building Barnes (guitar, Tell us about your with. Theres a C&W part,
a labyrinth/And playing hide and seek, dulcimer, sibanjar, different writing styles. but we are more western
he sings in a self-declared love song to the springocaster DS: We try to balance things. than country, and we are
band he has co-led for 10 years. lap-slide, You can go down a hole if rooted in the western USA.
bouzouki, fiddle),
Gun Outfit were formed in Olympia when you have too many songs of We are more about vibe and
Adam Payne one kind. My songs are more atmosphere than melody,
Sharp and co-songwriter Carrie Keith (bass, guitar,
began playing as a duo around the citys abstract and Carrie brings but the lyrics ground it.
drums), Daniel things back down to earth. child and I started to cry. The record is a bit more
fertile hardcore scene. After expanding Swire (drums, They asked why I was crying, conceptual than usual. We
to a four-piece and moderating their perc, guitar), Chris what was it like hearing and I had to explain it was went back to certain themes
punky vibe, Gun Outfit released a couple Cohen (keys), Joe second Decade for because I was happy. I was and eras of history. Theres
JOAnnE KIM

of hard-to-find but well-received albums Denardo (Ebow) the first time? CK: Dylan very touched by it. Its also more focus we wanted to
and then moved to LA where they released (Sharp) sent me the demos fun to play live, because write a record rather than
two more the driving Hard Coming Down and I was looking after a there is a lot of space there. collect songs. PETER WATTS

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 31


new albums

discovered
Searching out the best albums new to Uncut
sleeping in his car at a truck stop
(because where Im coming from
is a full tank of gas away) and
finding alienation in the roadside
billboards for Christian talk
radio: They turn bucket seats on
this highway to pews. Then, as
if to stress that recording in the
hoardings of the Bible Belt havent
altered his worldview, he notes
how country radio all rhymes with
Bud and Chevrolet.
Orens Nashville sound is not
the traditional one. The playing
is understated. The pining steel
guitar on Canary In A Coal Mine
lures the lugubrious phrasing into
an undertow of romance, even
though the lyric is suffused with
dread. Throw Down is bolder:
theres some heavy electricity and
a ghostly aura swirling around a

PETER OREN
the clipped poetry of his lyrics as marching rhythm, while the words
easy conversation. Falling Water offer encouragement to what
is a warmer tune, beautifully seems to be anarchist activism,
anthropocene sung, with a lazy la-de-dah
chorus, which almost masks the
of Maalox and molotovs/Tonight
were taking a stand.
WESTERN VINYL
autobiographical conflict clawing Its not all about politics, except
8/10 at the singer. Oren mentions his
home town, Columbus, Indiana,
that it probably is. Picture From
Spain is almost a love song, and
Poetic dispatches from the Midwest. a place named after a killer and a is followed by River And Stone,
By Alastair McKay misnomer, but the after-taste of a pained commemoration of a
the song is of resilience, and the broken romance. But Orens mind
ON a record to the impact of humanity on the strength of nature; inspired by appears to be elsewhere, trapped
that turns earths ecology, with radiation memories of canoeing the rivers between his own discomfiture
hopelessness and fossil fuels taking their toll of Indiana, and echoing Wendell and his fears for the planet. What
into hymn, on the planets natural order. Its Berrys short poem The Real to do? On the spry New Gardens,
named after a big word to smuggle into a folk Work, which concludes with the he dusts down the spirit of Woody
a term for tune, though Nick Cave almost line: The impeded stream is the Guthrie and imagines a better
ecological got there first with Anthrocene one that sings. time, a new kind of industry. He
disaster, its no surprise that things on Skeleton Tree, which mixed The album opens with Burden sounds like he almost believes
should appear disordered. Still, it dark forces and corrupted nature. Of Proof, which is the least in this practical paradise, an
is a little disquieting to get to the Orens view isnt so different trucking trucker song ever. Instead Eden of ecological hell averted,
end of Orens second solo LP 10 hes awaiting catastrophe with of lionising diesel smoke and while keeping open the option of
austere, poetic incantations and idle hands and you can almost dangerous curves, Oren sings of imminent epochal oblivion.
find the scene-setting Welcome/ imagine Cave singing Orens bleak
Goodbye. Its a slight thing, camp-
fire folk with sombre strings, and
half-chorus: How will we escape
this hell we made?/How will we Q&A
it begins with the singer directly escape this hell? But you can also
addressing the listener. Hey there, see why Oren kept Welcome/ Peter Oren: Im trying to was bill Callahan an influence
hello, he says in his half-spoken Goodbye to the end. keep my chin up on your vocal style? Its mostly
Bill Callahan croon, can I talk Its bleak stuff, but its not about what my voice can do. When
with you? The song proceeds in its unforgiving. The sound of what do you mean by I was beginning to write songs, I was
the anthropocene? The living in a dorm room at the university
pretty, funereal way: I dont know Anthropocene also marks a anthropocene is what geologists and I was singing in a hushed way.
what to do/See, shit is fucked up/ progression from Orens 2016 solo seem to agree the next epoch But I realised this the other day
Even Elon Musk seems to think the debut, and the band recordings he should be. Its a geologic time period. theres this singer songwriter who
coming storms could be too much. made with Swales (still available The name is intended to signify passed away in 1983 at the age
That mention of the PayPal/Tesla on Soundcloud). Recorded in the impact humans have had on of 33 named Stan Rogers. My dad
exec is a flash of dark humour, then Nashville with Ken Coomer the composition of the planet. I listened to him a lot growing up, and
he refocuses. Wouldnt mind to be (ex-Uncle Tupelo and Wilco was living with a couple of garden he had this really deep baritone voice
proven wrong, but damn, its been drummer) producing and former designers who had an interest in with a lot of vibrato, and hed sing
ecological design and one of them about the fishermen and the Great
so long since I heard of anything Sturgill Simpson guitarist Laur
was constantly depressed and Lakes. Theres a hip-hop MC, goes
hopeful going on/So welcome to this Joamets adding minimal country wondered where the songs about by Ka, who has a similar style lower,
record, goodbye to this world, may a flourishes, it goes some way to climate change are. I dont know if conversational, this is just how it is, Im
new one soon be unfurled. understanding what to do with its The Climate Change Song For A not going to shout it at you. I certainly
And then there is the title track. Orens voice, a low, conversational Generation! I think Im probably not admire that straightforward delivery.
The term, anthropocene, refers rumble which manages to disguise done trying to write those songs. interVieW: aLastair mcKaY

32 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


new albums

SPINNING COIN Ultimately, the atmospheric sprawl JOZEf VaN WISSEM Portland synth-pop band lose their
Permo is more curio than crucial, but theres Nobody Living Can Ever cool and get sultry
DOMINO sufficient sustenance to satisfy fans Make Me Turn Back The alternately wry
until the promised LP of new music CONSOULING SOUNDS and wistful tone
8/10
materialises. Graeme thomson preferred by Wild
Glasgow jangle from indie five-piece 7/10 Ones singer Danielle
Scottish rockers UUUU esoteric songcraft by last living lutist Sullivan creates a
Spinning Coin are UUUU There is no more sense of reserve rather
steeped in that EDITIONS MEGO prominent modern than the abandon the Portland bands
Glasgow indie advocate for the name may suggest. That restraint can
6/10
jangle that masks lute than Jozef Van make it hard for Wild Ones to stand out
introspection and Wire, spiritualized and raime heads Wissem, a Dutch- from Americas plethora of synth-toting
occasional melancholia with chipper in consort born, Brooklyn-based indie-pop acts. But Mirror Touch has its
melodies. Recorded with Edwyn Collins Another side-project composer whose artful, minimalist- adventurous qualities, too, as evidenced
but sharing more in spirit with TFC and beaming from the tinged compositions have seen him by the Aaliyah-like mix of spacey and
Eugenius than Orange Juice, Permos Wire mothership, score for Jim Jarmusch and soundtrack sultry in Invite Me In and by I Wanna
strength is the variety of voices provided UUUU features Edvard The Sims Medieval. Now approximately Be Your Man, a coy gender-reversal
by rotating singers Rachel Taylor, Sean Graham Lewis, a a dozen albums old, his music has fantasy that mightve pleased Prince.
Armstrong and Jack Mellin, which in founding member attained a singular, sombre gravity. Even better are the moments when
turn encourages and emphasises the of said group, alongside recent-ish Baroque instrumentals like Golden Sullivans demeanour is troubled by
bands range. Theres a classic guitar recruit Matthew Simms, with Valentina Bells Ring In The Ears strike a refined, lustier undercurrents as she coos in
pop mood overall, but Taylor brings a Magaletti (Raime, Vanishing Twin) and contemplative mood. But there is a Love And Loathing, infatuation is
Sandy Denny vibe to opener Raining Thighpaulsandra (Coil, Spiritualized) heaviness of spirit here, too. Virium so hard to hide. Jason anDerson
On Hope Street, Magdalene is rounding out the lineup. If recent Illarum which adds Wissems
delivered with a real crunch and Wire albums have been impressively grumbling vocals and an occasional LEE aNN WOMaCk
Floating With You is all lysergic swirls. streamlined, UUUU gives free rein to beat that shakes dust from the rafters The Lonely, the Lonesome
Peter Watts Lewis and companys more freeform, feels more in line with the drone-doom & The Gone
experimental tendencies; its remit of Sunn O))) than any Renaissance Faire aTO
SUMIE is impressively broad, from churchy re-enactment. LoUis Pattison
8/10
Lost In Light Krautrock stormers to murky pools
BELLa UNION of simmering drone and crackling WILD ONES nashvilles finest vocalist
5/10 rhythmic grids that almost shape into Mirror Touch Lee Ann Womack
song (Boots With Wings). Not perfect, , TOPSHELf trekked down to
sophomore album from the but risky, and often thrilling. Jon DaLe 6/10 Houston to record
Japanese-swedish singer her ninth LP at
On her second LP,
Gothenburgs Sandra
Sumie Nagano recites
revelations SugarHill Studio,
which has hosted
sessions by Lightnin Hopkins and
her depressive, wintry Lucinda Williams among others. The
haikus in a soft, pure Texas native more than holds her
voice over some rather own, gracefully balancing between
samey accompaniment. Nearly all are old-school country and new-fangled
minor-key ballads in 6/8, featuring Americana as she delivers 14 beautifully
metrical clawhammer guitars or clunky broken-hearted tunes about just what
piano vamps. The best moments the album title says. Womacks favourite
elaborate on this simplicity: the tremolo subject is country music itself, whether
guitar and pedal steel flourishes add a shes recasting Lefty Frizzells Long
suitably heartbroken Nashville air to Black Veil or wondering on the title
Divine Wind and The Only Lady; track what Hank Williams has to say to
a gorgeous string orchestration adds a a generation raised on pop-country and
touch of redemption to Leave Me. The strip-mall honkytonks. stePhen DeUsner
major-key closer Walk Away comes as
a blessed relief, as if being airlifted from
misery into an astral plane. John LeWis
UUUU WU-TaNG CLaN
The Saga Continues
Edvard Graham Lewis on a strange experience 36 CHaMBERS aLC/ ENTERTaINMENT ONE
THE THE 7/10
Radio Cinola first met Thighpaulsandra parts came together through
CINEOLa/LaZaRUS

6/10
I when Wire were
recording Change
experiment and circumstance.
This has defined their practice
Wus eighth flab-free return to
the 36 Chambers
Becomes Us at Rockfield in since, with the material on Having created a
three discs of spoken-word, ambient Wales, Edvard Graham Lewis UUUU varied in structure, but unique, mystical
collage and rebooted oldies recalls, of the first encounter joined by the collective voice backdrop for their
Matt Johnson is firmly that would gradually lead to that has developed out of the bleak project
back in The The the formation of his latest rough-housing improvisations narratives, these days
business, with shows collaboration, the mutant rock/ they worked from. Indeed, the real saga of the
announced for 2018, electronics of UUUU. With Lewis reflecting on the recording of Wu-Tang Clan is behind the scenes.
a new doc, and this and Thighpaulsandra joined by UUUU, which took place over a Personal drama, harsh words, periodic
handsome three-disc guitarist Matthew Simms, and year, from late 2015, on into reconciliations, never mind an album
box. Disc One features reinterpretations percussionist Valentina 2016, Lewis continues, after available in an edition of one owned
of The The songs by 11 artists, including Magaletti, the groups self-titled the initial sessions, when we by a pharmaceutical exec Wu are
Thomas Feiners jazzily glacial This debut album is a strong, listened bck, it was a strange less a group, more a dysfunctional
Is The Day, plus the bands fine surprising collection of song experience; we remembered family. Still, even if the production
recent single, We Cant Stop Whats thoughts sculpted from little of what had been (by Mathematics, inventor of the W
Coming. The second has Johnson exploratory recording sessions. recorded through being totally symbol) pores over old memories,
narrating John Tottenhams epic poem, With Thighpaulsandra playing immersed in the process when they fire on all cylinders
The Inertia Variations against an with Lewis and Simms when on Bizarrely we couldnt identify (particularly Pearl Harbor and
AnTonIo CURCETTI

ambient backdrop, while the final disc tour with Wire, and Magalettis the player of individual sounds, People Say) the combination of their
intercuts soundbites about social media, band Tomaga touring with Wire such was the cohesion of the best MCs creates more than a nostalgia
multinationals and US foreign policy in 2015, UUUUs constituent playing. Jon DaLe trip. In fact its more like the paranoid
with soundscapes from Johnsons Radio discomfort that was, oddly, the sound of
Cinola broadcast earlier this year. their good old days. John robinson

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 33


Do you remember? When you were our age?

DECEMBER
CE
EM R 22017
TakE
kE 247
2
1 TiM BUCklEy (p38)
2 Davy gRahaM (p41)
3 jaCkiE shaNE (p43)
4 Talk Talk (p44)
5 ChRis BEll (p46)

reissues | coMps | boxseTs | losT recordings

hskER D
savage young D
NUMERO gROUP

Minnesotan trios early days in 69 tracks. By Louis Pattison

T
he last two decades breath for more. But the promise of a hskers
have been open season reissue reunion was never entirely dispelled, and
for the band reunion, a OF THe the news in 2015 that Mould, hart and
phenomenon that has MONTH bassist Greg Norton had opened collective
seen all manner of broken
relationships and battered
8/10 ancommunications if only to sell T-shirts from
official website raised hopes anew.
egos salved by the prospect of Any lingering what if? was blotted out forever
lucrative comeback tours and a thriving reissue in September, when hart succumbed to a battle
market eager for new ways to package the past. For all with liver cancer. It is difficult to imagine hsker
this, there have been a few holdouts, groups for whom D lacking any of its three core members, but in
no cheque could paper over the cracks. The Smiths, particular, the dynamic between its two songwriters
for one. Talking heads, another. And of course is the fulcrum the band revolved on: Mould, intense
hsker D, the prolific Minnesota punk rock trio and buttoned down, his songs caustic and bitter; hart,
whose collapse on the road in 1988, after nine years hippyish and energetic, with a generous melodic
and six furious albums, amounted to one of the most sense and a taste for raw, confessional songwriting. If
acrimonious splits in rock. their relationship could sometimes feel competitive,
In the years hence, the trio continued with new it certainly worked in the service of the songs. You
projects most notably, Bob Moulds Sugar, a sleek, hear some live bootlegs, and Bob and I are working
commercially solvent update so hard to outshine each other
on the hsker D template, that it just lifts the whole thing
and a string of solo albums off the ground with peace and
Lisa Haun/MicHaeL OcHs arcHives/Getty iMaGes

from drummer and co-vocalist wonderfulness, hart told The


Grant hart that explored bold AV Club in 2000.
conceptual realms (2013s The Now comes Savage Young D.
Argument was inspired by A 69-track boxset collecting
Miltons Paradise Lost). There freshly remastered and
was the briefest of reunions in largely unheard music from
2004, when Mould and hart hsker Ds first five years,
came together at a benefit it captures the group in first
concert for Karl Mueller of Soul flush, evolving from green
Asylum, playing a couple of teenage punks rehearsing in
hsker D songs before telling the basement of St Paul record
the audience not to hold their store Northern Lights, into

34 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 35
ARChIVE

a savagely tight and notoriously fast power And whats new?


trio, cutting a swathe through clubs across Primarily, theres a new
North America. That Hsker D were real take on the groups 1981
road dogs is sometimes forgotten, but a live album Land Speed
thorough hardcover book packaged with Record. Like the original,
the box lays out their hectic live schedule its taken straight from
through tour dates and a wealth of photos the soundboard at
and hand-written flyers countless Minneapolis venue 7th SLEEVE NOTES
support slots at Minneapolis venues, Street Entry. But this take CD DISC 1
1. Do You Remember?
extensive sorties along the West Coast, was recorded a couple of 2. Sore Eyes
all the way down to Texas and all the way weeks later, with Hsker 3. Cant See You
up to Canada. Some hardcore bands were D fresh from a tour that Anymore
speed king:
4. Picture Of You
strictly local heroes, but not Hsker D. saw them play bills with a Bob Mould at
5. The Truth Hurts
Minneapolis
Like Black Flag before them, they were DIY stack of hardcore groups First Avenue 6. Do The Bee
club, sept, 87 7. Nuclear Nightmare
networkers, building their reputation and from up and down the 8. All Ive Got To
honing their sound out there on the road. West Coast. Land Speed Lose Is You
So whats here? Of the familiar stuff, Record was already fast, 9. Chinese Rocks
10. Uncle Ron
we have the groups debut single, but here you can hear the trio pushing But probably the most thrilling material 11. Data Control
Statues/Amusement, the A-side an themselves further and further, faster and comes towards the boxs close. Live 12. Insects Rule
The World
uncharacteristically slow post-punk lurk faster, keeping it together even as they takes on Real World, Its Not Funny 13. Youre Too Obtuse
with spiky Keith Levene-style guitars; a dare the songs to fall apart. There are Anymore, Out On A Limb and Harts 14. Outside
newly mixed recording of second single hints, too, of a musical scope reaching serial-killer fable Diane all of which 15. Sexual Economics
16. What Went Wrong
In A Free Land, warp-speed hardcore beyond that of their punk peers. Its like would appear on the bands debut release 17. Statues
with a thrilling anti-authority vocal from free jazz, Hart says in the sleevenotes. for SST, Metal Church mark the band 18. Amusement
19. Writers Cramp
Mould; and the groups debut studio When you listen to the whole thing truly arriving at their signature sound: a 20. Lets Go Die
album Everything Falls Apart, a 12-track the gestalt of the thing theres Bengali raging tug-of-war between the fulsome 21. Walk With The
charge that sometimes holds tight to the music, Indian music, because we were melodies and thematic broadness of Wounded
22. Industrial Grocery
hardcore template (Bricklayer, Afraid able to get this raga thing happening. classic rock, and the pent-up rage and Store
Of Being Wrong) but throws in some Elsewhere, there is valuable live and pedal-to-the-metal pacing of hardcore CD DISC 2
wild cards along the way. The title track rehearsal material, much of it taken punk. There is the slight sense that Savage 1. Drug Party
2. Call On Me
buries a brilliant array of melodies amidst from the archive of the bands live sound Young D cuts out just as things are getting 3. Termination
its mopey, greyscale guitars, while a engineer, Terry Katzman. An early show good, but thats more than countered by 4. Im Tired Of Doing
Things
surprising cover of Donovans Sunshine recorded at Jays Longhorn in Minneapolis the quantity of material here, and the 5. Stick It To Me
Superman is played not for the hyucks, captures the group in vestigial form the promise of what else might be to come. 6. Wheels
but for the hooks. Careful remastering Norton-sung Youre So Obtuse might When Ken Shipley at Numero Group first 7. All Tensed Up
8. Dont Try To Call
throughout makes the melodies crisper be considered new wave, if it wasnt for contacted Hart about piecing together 9. Im Not Interested
and the noise crunchier. Harts chaotic drum batteries, while an Hsker D reissues back in 2010, the 10. Guns At My School
11. Push The Button
appropriately bug-eyed song called drummer was initially sceptical, but his 12. Gilligans Island
Insects Rule The World closes increasing enthusiasm for the project 13. MTC
with a great Hart public service proved crucial, even as his illness sapped 14. Dont Have A Life
15. Youre Naive
announcement: Were not his energy. When plans were made to 16. Strange Week
the most professional band fly out to the Museum Of Pop Culture in 17. Big Sky
in the Twin Cities We have Seattle to pore through his archives, he 18. Ultracore
19. Lets Go Die
fun though An early 1980 wanted to join, recalled Shipley. But 20. Wont Say A Word
session spawns a breathless when it came time to go, he suddenly 21. Dont Try It
22. Private Hell
take on Johnny Thunders cooled to the idea and withdrew from the 23. Diane
standard Chinese Rocks, project entirely. Can you get it out before 24. Sex Dolls
while lost Mould originals like I go? he asked. It was not to be, but CD DISC 3
1. In A Free Land
Stick It To Me show how they Savage Young D stands as some 2. What Do I Want?
were rehearsing pensive, introspective testament to his wild creativity, and the 3. MIC
4. Target
material, even as their live shows were protean energy of the band that first 5. Signals From Above
gaining in speed and intensity. brought his songs to the world. 6. From The Gut
7. Blah, Blah, Blah
how To bUy... 8. Punch Drunk
9. Bricklayer

ALL THE YOUNG DS


10. Afraid Of Being
Wrong
11. Sunshine
Superman
12. Signals From
More classics from the Hsker members Above
13. Everything
JIM STEINFELDT/MICHAEL OCHS ARCHIVES/GETTY IMAGES

HskER D NovA MoB sUgAR Falls Apart


14. Wheels
Zen Arcade The Last Days of Copper Blue 15. Target
ssT, 1984 Pompeii RykoDisC/CREATioN, 1992 16. Obnoxious
The punks go prog. RoUgH TRADE, 1991 It would be deceitful 17. Gravity
18. Do You Remember?
Mould and Hart Grant Harts love to call the debut LP 19. Travel In
pool their growing for a high concept by Bob Moulds Opposite Car
songwriting talents into a bold certainly survived the collapse of post-Hskers combo light, exactly. 20. Its Not Funny
70-minute concept album about Hsker D. The debut album by his On A Good Idea, a man drowns his Anymore
21. Real World
teenage alienation and finding new trio tackled a grand narrative lover, while The Slim recounts the
22. Out On A Limb
ones place in the world that takes in which the Nazi rocket scientist death of a friend from Aids. But the 23. Its Not Fair
in psychedelia, folk, wistful piano Wernher von Braun escapes World choruses stretch out a mile, and an EXTRA CIRCUS
suites, Hare Krishna chant and a War II by summoning Wotan, Nordic expanded instrumental palette see 1. Heavy Handed
2. You Think Im Scared
14-minute freakout closer titled God Of War, flies back in time in a V2 especially the harpsichord-assisted
3. Wont Change
Reoccurring Dreams. Unparalleled rocket, and witnesses the eruption of Hoover Dam means that each 4. Is Today The Day?
and unrepeatable. Mount Vesuvius. Good tunes, too. song gleams. 5. Standing At The Sea

36 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


ARChIVE

2012 while working


on Purple Snow and
was blown away by
the level of depth
in his archive. Its
not justHskerD,
theres scraps
from nearly ever
important or minor
Minneapolis combo
going back to the
mid-70s stacked up
in corners. He was
immensely valuable
to the entire project.
I dont know if I can

Q&A
even put my finger
on the number of
tapes he has. 300?
Hsker D: (lr)
greg Norton, grant 400? We havent
Hart and Bob Mould even gotten past the
early-1983 tapes and
there are still another
Ken Shipley, Numero then he wanted a period colour photo
of the group. When we couldnt find a
couple hundred shows to digitise. We
settled on doing the earliest period
Group How the early- cover-worthy photograph, he wanted for three reasons: one, this material
Hskers boxset was to colour it by hand. Seven years into was the most free and clear legally.
the process he was still trying to set Two, we wanted to get legit versions
pieced together the thing on fire; at the last possible of the demos into the marketplace
moment he wanted to change the title to counteract the insane number of

P
REsUMABLy the compiling to Broken Promises! bootlegs. Three, its easiest to tell a
of Savage Young D story if you begin at the beginning.
involved a certain amount Were Bob Mould or greg
of diplomacy how was it Norton sitting on significant Was there any non-Hskers
piecing it together, and what material from this era? stuff in Terrys archive that
did it involve to get everyone on Bob provided the initial second Land was particularly surprising
the same page? Speed Record set tape, which framed or promising?
I knew from the start it was going to the direction of where the project The only Katzman tapes we had access
be a difficult process, and as a result would go. Originally we were going to were the Hskers. But buried in
picked the person that Id been told to do a 35th-anniversary edition of their old attorneys storage space were
would be the most difficult to convince. Land Speed, but kept finding more most of the Reflex Record masters,
Grant certainly made it interesting and more interesting material. Greg, including albums by Man Sized Action,
from the jump, testing knowledge, despite donating a bunch of stuff to the Rifle Sport, and others. No plans to do
connections, and chops. But once I Minneapolis Historical Society, had a anything with those right now, but
was in, it was more a matter of when ton of flyers and crisp album jackets for never say never.
than if. Bob didnt take a phone call us to restore from.
from me for a year, choosing to defer Does Savage Young D reveal
to his long-time adviser Josh Grier. Can you give an impression of anything new about the band,
BMGs acquisition of Bug Music, their the scope of Terry katzmans do you think?
publisher, only intensified competition tape archive? Was it a surprise The set illustrates the bands first arc
for the work, and nearly killed this box to find the bands existence so in exacting detail. They start out as
entirely. The biggest factor was time well documented? almost a power-pop band, morph into a
and patience. Savage Young D ended Terry had been the bands sound guy blistering hardcore act, and by the end
up at Numero because we outlasted for these crucial years, and made a of 1982 are writing material that would
every other suitor. habit of taping every show. Hes a bit end up on Zen Arcade. The progress
of a pack rat, but you need a guy like they made in such a short amount of
What was it like to work with this to even attempt a project so vast time is incredible. There are very few
grant on this set? in scale. I first got into his basement in acts that challenged themselves and
Grant could be a bridge builder and the audience more thanHsker D
bomb maker, simultaneously. The did. Just when you thought they were
LISA HAUN/MICHAEL OCHS ARCHIVES/GETTY IMAGES

slides for the Metal Circus jacket Americas greatest hardcore band, they
would show up in an unmarked
manilla envelope one week, and the When you thought were too busy inventing alternative.

is the relationship with


next hed want to change the tracklist
entirely. To be clear: he did not want to
do this set first. He felt that the albums
they were Americas Hsker D ongoing? Will there
be future archival releases
should be done in order, with the
demos and early material issued last.
greatest hardcore from later stages of the band,
and will these be on a similar
Extenuating circumstances made that
impossible in the short term. In the
band, they were busy scale to Savage Young D?
Theres a lot more story to tell. I think
beginning he had very strong ideas
about the cover. First it was a painting,
inventing alternative were just getting started.
INTERVIEW: LOUIS PATTISON

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 37


ARCHIVE

some good reviews, the album joined two nights (four before an audience, one

TIM BUCKLEY two prior live releases, Peel Sessions and


Dream Letter: Live In London 1968, in his
posthumous catalogue.
a rehearsal) and repeating none of the
versions that made up the 1994 album.
Between them, Venice Mating Call and
Venice Mating Call/ Buckley would have turned 70 this Greetings From West Hollywood add about
Greetings From year, a poignant anniversary that
evidently prompted manifesto run
two hours and 45 minutes of unreleased
material to whats out there.
West Hollywood by evan Cohen, a nephew of Buckleys Buckley, just 22 when these gigs took
MANIFESTO/EDSEL former manager Herb to have another place, was about to make his fourth and
rummage in its archives. Venice Mating final album for Jac Holzmans elektra
8/10 / 8/10 Call and Greetings From West Hollywood label. Launched as a folk-rocker in 1966,
have been assembled from the same he now viewed himself primarily as a
More nuggets from two forward- shows as Live At The Troubadour, drawing jazz singer, which may be one reason
looking 1969 gigs. By David Cavanagh on five sets that Buckley performed over why these albums often occupy a similar
meditative headspace to Astral Weeks;

S
ome live albums document rather than racing to the point, Buckley
a tour. others are souvenirs turns single words and individual
of a single, magnetic syllables into lingering, probing ecstasies.
performance. And then Indeed, hes transported within seconds
there are others, like a of strumming his first chord on Buzzin
Tim Buckley album issued Fly, the opening song on both albums,
in 1994 by the LA-based and immediately can be heard humming
manifesto label, that seem to chronicle to himself, squealing, yelping, moaning
not so much an event as an essence. sensually and on Venice Mating Call
Connecting us to the voice and vision happily whistling.
of a long-departed cult hero, Live At The albums take somewhat different
The Troubadour 1969 shone a light on routes, offering alternative views of
two September evenings when Buckley roughly the same setlist, before they
forged new directions in folk-jazz at a really start to cook around track five or
West Hollywood nightclub. Receiving six. Venice Mating Call, a two-disc set,

38 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


ARCHIVE

AtoZ
Buckley: 1966s
folk-rocker
becomes 1969s
recorded Bitches Brew in New York only
a fortnight earlier, and nobody outside Track lisTs
jazz singer Columbia Records would hear any of it GREEtInGs
FRom WEst
until the following march. HollyWood
Not every song on these sets will send 1. Buzzin Fly
people scurrying to check the recording 2. Chase The
dates of groundbreaking jazz-rock Blues Away
IAN DURY
records. A lot of Buckleys music is 3. I Had A Talk
New Boots And Panties!!
easy to lie back and luxuriate in. No With My Woman
(reissue, 1977)
4. Blue Melody
mingus or Dolphy expertise is needed EDSEL
5. Nobody Walkin
to appreciate the sweet, swoony words 9/10
6. Venice Mating
and serene tempo of Blue melody, Call Still partial to his abracadabra
for instance. But its telling that, with 7. I Dont Need It
Happy Sad not even two months old, Stiff Records quickly earned
To Rain
a reputation as a home
Buckley was already previewing the 8. Driftin
for mavericks, but few fit
next album he would make (Lorca) 9. Gypsy Woman
the tag quite like the man
and the one after that (Blue Afternoon), who gave the label its first
VEnICE
while pointedly ignoring the one that mAtInG CAll gold-certified album. Dury,
had won him his plaudits in the first CD1 the art school student turned pub rocker,
place (Goodbye And Hello). 1. Buzzin Fly barrelled up at the height of punk with a
Spread across the second disc of 2. Strange Feelin calling card that dabbled in jazz, music hall,
Venice Mating Call are the five songs 3. Blue Melody retro rocknroll and Kinks-ian character
from Lorca a formidable, fanbase- 4 Chase The studies. He could have been dismissed as
Blues Away a Dickensian cartoon, were it not for the
polarising step into the unknown eloquence of his lyrics, his sly humour and the
5. Venice
that even the avowedly pro-artist formidable musical range of his partner Chaz
Mating Call
Holzman found hard to swallow. 6. Gypsy Woman Jankel, whose playful arrangements brought
Its title track, not yet saturated in 7. I Dont Need It depth and ballast to the odd-looking bloke at
that eerie pipe organ, is performed To Rain the mic. Clevor Trevor is jazz-rap in all but
on a marimba and lacks the scary name, Wake Up And make Love With me
drama of the studio version. CD2 the only boudoir seduction to include a break
other tracks, however, are fully 1. Driftin for tea and toast, and Sweet Gene Vincent
2. (I Wanna) knocks spots off most other paeans to a fallen
formed. Literally so in the case of
Testify idol. While others jumped ship, Dury stayed
Driftin, which, give or take a bit with Stiff for a further two long-players,
3. Anonymous
of eQing, is revealed to be the same although neither could match his debuts
Preposition
eight minutes of music that appears 4. Lorca invention and charm.
on Lorcas second side. It gets a 5. I Had A Talk Extras: 8/10. Completing a no-stone-unturned
great reception, too. How ironic to With My Woman 40th-anniversary four-disc set are period
hear Buckleys fans in 1969 warmly 6. Nobody Walkin non-LP singles, B-sides, Peel sessions, discs of
applauding an album that would demos and a previously unavailable live gig
alienate so many of them when it recorded for BBC Radio 1. TERRY STAUNTON
came out in 1970.
SERGE GAINSBOURG &
Attractively presented and well
JEAN-CLAUDE VANNIER
recorded, Venice Mating Call and Les Chemins De Katmandou
achieves take-off on Gypsy Woman, Greetings From West Hollywood will FINDERS KEEPERS
from Buckleys then-current album be lapped up by Buckley completists
9/10
Happy Sad. Lee Underwood, his lead and should appeal to casual fans of
guitarist, switches to electric piano Happy Sad and Blue Afternoon. Issuing Unearthed Indo-funk soundtrack from
and a groove starts up. Rolling and this music as two separate 1CD and 2CD Melody Nelson team
pulsing like Bitches Brew, it withdraws packages does seem an unnecessarily Insanely productive
pedantic way of making it available, especially considering his
into a long percussion-only section,
prodigious alcohol intake
whereupon another groove gets going though, especially as the sets duplicate
Serge Gainsbourg recorded a
and Underwood returns to his guitar. two songs (Blue melody and Chase huge number of soundtracks
Throughout all the changes, a delirious The Blues Away) and share identical over the last 30 years of his
Buckley seems hellbent on locating sleevenotes. Wouldnt an all-embracing life. Almost all the best stuff from Nicos
every note in his four-octave range 3CD release have been a more sensible version of Strip-Tease to the sublime, proto-
in whichever order he sees fit. Its an idea? But then, if everything in the hip-hop Chanson De Slogan, recorded with
astounding feat of singing. Really, the world made sense, Tim Buckley Jane Birkin is available, yet Gainsbourgs
producers of The Voice should send would still be alive. complete soundtrack to 69 hippie trail flick
Extras: None. The Pleasure Pit (starring Birkin, Renaud
an mP3 of Gypsy Woman to every
Verley and Gainsbourg) has remained
applicant and tell them to try again lost. This was something of a tragedy, as it
in 10 years. was recorded with Jean-Claude Vannier,
A similar epiphany, meanwhile, the arranger who helmed Slogan, the
occurs in Nobody Walkin on
Greetings From West Hollywood. A delirious Buckley Cannabis oST and the eternal Histoire De
Melody Nelson. Recently discovered in a
suitcase, however, the whole thing is now
After a discouraging start (Sounds
horrible, Buckley mutters), it soon
livens up (Yeah! All night long!) and
seems hellbent on being released, and it doesnt disappoint.
Theres Clavichord funk with tarry strings,
again Buckley rhapsodises and
free-associates while his band play
locating every note in rock grooves, and some glorious mixes of
tabla, tanpura, strings and horns. Theres
a Bitches Brew electric piano groove
for a head-nodding 12 minutes. This
his four-octave range only 27 minutes of material here, but it sounds
vital and, as a key to unlocking what both men
would do over the following few years, its
is some pretty advanced stuff for the
Troubadour crowd. miles Davis had
Its an astounding feat invaluable to the Serge enthusiast.
Extras None. TOM PINNOCK

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 39


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CHRIS GANTRY By the mid-80s


At The House Of Cash Metallica had
DRAG CITY already established
themselves as a
8/10
commercial and
What you get when you factor in creative force in
peyote, Johnny Cash and Nashvilles metal, introducing their ragged
wildest cat riff-heavy sound on 1983s Kill Em All
Of all the colorful and honing their attack on 1984s Ride
characters who kicked The Lightning. eschewing singles and
around nashville Floridian videos, they signed to elektra and flew
in the 60s and 70s, psych-folk to Copenhagen to work with producer
forebears
few could match Pearls Before Flemming Rasmussen on their major-
Chris Gantry. Born Swine label debut, Master Of Puppets. They
in Queens, the precociously talented pare metal down to its flesh-stripped
singer-songwriter signed his first bones, combining bass, drums, guitar
record deal at the age of 14. By 21 he was GERMAN OAK human skeleton in his Lada who and howling vocals into a barrage that
in Music City, where hed pal around Down In The Bunker gave them dubious titles such as Raid is aggressive yet nuanced, mechanistic
with Kris Kristofferson and hit paydirt NOw-AGAIN Over Dusseldorf and 1945 Out Of yet nimble. Full of abrupt key changes,
by penning Dreams Of The everyday The Ashes. On a later bonus track, Uhr convoluted chord progressions and
8/10
housewife for Glen Campbell. But even overdubbed a hitler speech over complicated time signatures, these
after 10 years of shilling songs, he set A 3CD compendium of Krautrocks one of the trios fetid jams. With hitler songs are ambitiously arranged,
out to do something creative and most controversial group now excised, the track titles altered and peppered with flourishes like the
revolutionary, as the now 64-year-old Since the 1972 release tape-speed problems corrected, these industrial blues riff on The Thing
Gantry recounts in his notes for Drag of German Oak, idiot-savant pieces finally released That Should not Be and the late Cliff
Citys album of the extraordinary their only album, with the bands involvement still Burtons intricately melodic bassline
songs he cut in the studio of his friend this Dsseldorf trio retain an eerie, claustrophobic charm; on the instrumental Orion. Thirty
Johnny Cash in 1973. The effects of have been portrayed at times, its as if the listener is really years later, the heaviness of these
Gantrys recent mind-expanding as either nazi locked in the shelter with the band and songs has intensified rather than
peyote trip in Mexico are not hard to sympathisers or Meinhof-ian political their explosions of noise, galloping abated. As James hetfield sings,
discern on Drop, a spoken-word tale revolutionaries seeking to exorcise rhythms and surf-like, nave guitar. Powerhouse of energy, whipping up
about a raindrops odyssey set to a Sun the horrors of World War II. In reality, Extras: 7/10. Groovy bonus cuts, a fury We create the battery!
Ra soundscape, and the bluegrass however, Wolfgang Caesar Czaika, some recorded outside the bunker Extras: 7/10. expanded edition
Beefheart of Oobablap. The more Ullrich Kallweit and harry Kallweit and previously unreleased, extended includes two CDs of rough demos and
sumptuous likes of Flower Of The claim that they were always apolitical, versions of the original albums live cuts; deluxe edition sprawls to eight
KOH HASEBE/SHINKO MuSIC/GETTY IMAGES

Mountain land closer to Jimmy Webb their freeform, instrumental jams tracks (Missile Song is particularly CDs and two DVDs. STEPHEN DEUSNER
at his weirdest. According to Gantry, inspired by hendrix, Ginger Baker, incantatory) and band interviews.
his iconic host had this to say about his Can and Amon Dl II rather than any TOM PINNOCK PEARlS BEFORE SwINE
visitors handiwork: I listened to your ideology. Unable to find a rehearsal One Nation Underground
record last night and I dont think even space, they settled for a damp former METAllICA DRAG CITY
the drug people are gonna understand wartime bunker, where they captured Master Of Puppets 7/10
it. A commercial release was not on their hawkwind-meets-Amon Dl BlACKENED
the cards. Forty-five years later, its experiments on a portable cassette Acid-folk ur-text gets a much-
9/10 needed remastering
nearly as confounding, but damn fine recorder with in-built mic. however,
all the same. these recordings were then processed Thrash metals greatest One suspects that, in
Extras: none. and released by producer Manfred achievement gets boxed 1967, there must have
JASON ANDERSON Uhr a black-magic acolyte with a and expanded been quite a few bands
like Pearls Before
Swine spattered across
Mid-80s Metallica America. Formed in
with Cliff Burton Florida by an antic high-schooler called
(third left), who
died in a coach Tom Rapp, the young PBS vacillated
crash while touring between Renaissance Faire whimsy
Master Of Puppets and wheezing electric protest-folk. At
times, both can seem a little gauche:
the solemn invocations of the amber
lady seated at her harpsichord in
velvet; some Dylan impersonations
(cf Playmate) in which, if nothing
else, Rapps nasal congestion sounds
authentic. So far, so generic. But
the way the two strains combine, in
haphazard ways, is what makes Rapps
first moves so appealing, and why
Pearls Before Swines music has been
so venerated in outsider psych circles.
Farfisas on the edge of breakdown,
finger cymbals and stray banjos give
a weird edge to garage workouts
that are closer to The Fugs than The
Band, the pranksterish dimension
compounded by the Morse Code signal
F-U-C-K being beeped out in Miss
Morse. Meanwhile, unsteady and
lovely reveries like Another Time
and Morning Song set a template for
later, more fully realised Rapp albums
like Use Of Ashes and for waves of
acid-folk over the ensuing decades.
Devendra Banhart fans take note; he
certainly did. Extras: none. JOHN MULVEY

40 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


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Davy Graham: That was possibly the eureka moment


journeying that led to the second Davy Graham LP,
between
notes, genres Folk, Blues And Beyond. It doesnt turn him
and locations pop, exactly, but it at least nudges him in
the direction of a more comprehensible
presentation, accompanied by bass
and drums. Lead Belly surely never
conceived of his Leaving Blues as a
transcontinental rave-up, but that is what
it becomes here. It ushers in a selection
of prevailing traditional songs and
covers (Cocaine; Dylans Dont Think
Twice) in which Grahams guileless
voice (genuinely lovely on Ballad Of The
Sad Young Men) becomes a lodestar for
the songs amid the confusing magic often
being worked by his hands.
The poise and jazzy mood is immaculate
like Bert Jansch, Davy Grahams music
suggests a lifestyle that is aspirationally
down at heel though it perhaps carries
less cultural weight for a lack of original
compositions. his take on Bobby
Timmons Moanin, a balancing act
of precision and swing, shows the wires
sparking, while the frenetic Maajun,

DAVY GRAHAM inspired by Tangier, points the way ahead.


A contemporary rocker with an ear for the

Folk, Blues & Beyond (reissue, 1964) exotic might have noted the unfamiliar
mode, the reverberating wordless vocal,
large As life And Twice As Natural (reissue, 1968) and been inspired to suggest a production
like happenings Ten Years Time Ago to
BREAD AND wINE
his group The Yardbirds.
8/10 / 8/10 Much as John Coltrane continued to
find something new to explore in My
Two way stations on Grahams 60s journey, reissued. By John Robinson Favorite Things, Davy Graham could
mine fortunes from popular song. 1968s
When it was first Graham plays his She Moved Thru The Large As Life duly finds the room for
noticed in the 1990s SLEEVE NOTES Bizarre, a fleet chase sequence taking development in Joni Mitchells Both
that a large talent FOLK, BLUES in north Africa, Bachs Germany and Sides now, opening an album where the
& BEYOND
like Davy Graham India that we will soon know as White balance between folk-scene singer and
1. Leavin Blues
was keeping a very 2. Cocaine Summer, by Jimmy Page. The tracks are wide-voyaging composer becomes more
low profile, one 3. Sally Free And Easy listed as live, and certainly theyre not heavily weighted to the latter.
assumption was that 4. Black Is The professionally recorded, but this doesnt Theres a lot of reaching here. But if his
Colour Of My True
he had gone on an Loves Hair
sound like a paying concert. This is clearly voice struggles to make it, the playing
ultimate walkabout 5. Rock Me Baby more an event at which the observers never falters. Alongside Brit jazzers and top
some folk-based 6. Seven Gypsies are incidentally present, accidental sessioneers like Danny Thompson, John
factfinder to the ends 7. Ballad Of The Sad witnesses to an interior trip. The deep, hiseman and Dick heckstall-Smith, Davy
Young Men
of the earth. he had 8. Moanin
searching runs, the suspension of time flies on Bad Boy Blues and on the grim
after all, been around 9. Skillet as Graham plays Misirlou, suggests but lovely Bruton Town, a song suggested
a bit in his time. As he 10. Aint Nobodys hes not bothered if anyone is there at all. to him by Shirley Collins. his composition
told his Decca producer Ray horricks for Business What I Do Today, that it was recorded at all feels Tristano in honour of jazz pianist Lenny
11. Maajun
the sleevenote of his second solo album, 12. I Cant Keep From miraculous. As Davy journeys between is impressive and intricate, but its his other
Folk, Blues And Beyond, he had busked Cryin Sometimes the notes, genres and locations, were instrumentals Sunshine Raga, Jenra
in France, holed up in Malaga and, when 13. Dont Think left to speculate about other sessions and Blue Raga that are the most
Twice, Its All Right
his money ran out, taken a job in a Tangier like these, between the studio dates, but head-turning; meditative pieces in which
14. My Babe
restaurant specialising in hash cakes. 15. Goin Down Slow unrecorded, at which similar magic must something unique is unmistakeably being
It possibly speaks to our literal natures 16. Better Get Hit have happened. chased down.
and appetite for biography that we In Yo Soul Thats not to say lightning didnt strike in Discreet talents like Davy Grahams
would prefer someone whose music flew LARGE AS LIFE AND the studio. The album immediately before have a difficult narrative. Their arc isnt
between maps and melded destinations TWICE AS NATURAL the first reissued here, 1964s essential aways the stuff of drama or tragedy, and
to have bought tickets to some of those 1. Both Sides Now Folk Roots, New Routes, recorded with they dont deliver something as easy
2. Bad Boy Blues
actual places. A bit like Sandy Bull, who 3. Tristano
Shirley Collins, is a magnificent example as a standout album. Rather, they offer
did something pretty similar in America 4. Babe, It Aint No Lie of Graham in captivity. here, the relative something like this, an engrossing ongoing
at about the same time, with many of 5. Bruton Town formality of the arrangements (traditional narrative, which is revealed in intriguing,
the same interests (and distractions), 6. Sunshine Raga British and American, most selected by incomplete parts. Its about curiosity and
7. Freight Train Blues
Davy Graham travelled all over the globe 8. Jenra Collins) find Graham weaving his exotic private conviction, and ultimately the
without often needing to leave the house. 9. Electric Chair flourishes and curious swing into songs continued pursuit of something which
Its a point supported by live tracks on 10. Good Morning with beginnings, middles and ends. might not be immediately obvious to
a reissue of his first album, 1963s The Blues the onlooker. To the artist, however, its
With Collins candid delivery, songs
11. Beautiful City
Guitar Player, from a few years ago. 12. Blue Raga like Jane Jane even suggest an odd 60s completely clear: tantalisingly close, if
Amid an occasional mumble of chat, pop the work, possibly, of some infinitely frustratingly just out of reach.
coughs and rattling matchboxes, hipper Petula Clark. Extras: none.

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 41


ARCHIVE

rediscovered QUEEN
News Of The World (40th
Anniversary Super Deluxe)
Uncovering the underrated and overlooked UMC/ViRgiN

7/10
Weighty celebration of the We Will Rock
You years, with added fanbait
A shelf-threatening
3CD/vinyl/DVD box
extravaganza, this
heavyweight package is
aimed ruthlessly at the
bands hardcore cadre
of fans. Theres an argument that News Of
The World is Queens least consistent 70s
effort, and the contrast between the big
numbers (Champions, Get Down Make
Love) and flimsy filler (Who Needs You)
is clear to hear, especially crisply in this
Bob Ludwig 2011 master. The supporting
material is the sets selling point. The Raw
Sessions disc holds unheard, unreleased
jewels, with all the album cuts represented
in alternate, live or rough mixes, crowned by
some cute in-studio banter. Freddies vocal
take of Brian Mays All Dead, All Dead is
fascinating, but Roger Taylors contributions
are the pick. With its extended guitar intro

PETER HOWELL & and different coda, Sheer Heart Attack


shimmers with trashy, thrashy brilliance,

JOHN FERDiNANDO while Fight From The Inside is presented


in intriguing demo form. The Bonus Tracks
CD is less relevatory, rounding up odd BBC
A game For All Who Know: The H&F Recordings Box sessions and instrumental tracks. The
gRAPEFRUiT vinyl, though, is audiophile catnip: a pure
analogue recut, direct from the unmastered
8/10 analogue mix tapes.
Extras: 8/10. New one-hour documentary
DIY pop-folk-psych magic from deepest Sussex Queen: The American Dream all-access
footage from the 77 US tour by Bob Harris
THE prologue to the liner offset by brilliant moments of textural and crew. Plus! Three posters and 60-page
notes for A Game For All Who invention, while tiny melodic cells glimmer photo book. MARK BENTLEY
Know, a boxset collection of out of the murk. But the Agincourt and Ithaca
uber-rare private press psych- albums, in particular, are full of gorgeously REM
folk from the UK, is subtitled melancholic pop-folk, drawing from the astral Automatic For The People
Joy In The Finding, which pastoralism of Pink Floyd, the opaque early (25th Anniversary Deluxe
just about sums up the thrill of encountering material by The Moody Blues and the everyday Edition)
limited-edition, self-released LPs: they often surrealist pop of Kevin Ayers, while pointing CRAFT
show up in thrift stores or local flea markets, toward the home-spun folk of groups like The
9/10
and every discovery contributes to an Carousel and Red Chair Fadeaway. On Fragile,
alternative history of modern music making, whose songs are all written by Howell, you A benevolent rock masterpiece,
where quiet DIY communities create music can hear the music reaching outwards, with expanded with outtakes and live tracks
for love, not money. Bunkering down in the songs like Take A Walk adopting a gentle, Conceived while Out Of
Home Counties, the songwriters at the heart bossa nova lilt, while Come Inside and Time was still topping
of H&F Recordings, Peter Howell and John Once In A Winter Town are pure low-budget the Billboard 200, REMs
Ferdinando, werent exactly primed to become Witchseason, as though Joe Boyd was ghosting eighth album forsook
a record collectors cult: theres something the home studio while producing a modern triumphalism for spectral
unassuming about the songs they wrote Vashti Bunyan recording session. ruminations on memory
and recorded, as though they were created Indeed, its interesting to consider how the and mortality. The self-lacerating starkness
for the sheer kick of the moment, all of the mood of these deeply personal H&R albums is of Drive still freezes the blood, while
players deep inside the melancholy moonlight reflected in modern music, from Jane Weaver at the other end of the emotional scale,
captured by the music. to Saint Etienne separated by decades, they Nightswimming finds solace in snapshots
However, the albums they self-released share a nostalgia for a sometimes bucolic, often of a lost summer. Even as Stipes gestures
across the late 1960s and 1970s Alice Through haunted England, an Arcadia that one senses became necessarily bigger and simpler
The Looking Glass (1969), Tomorrow Come they all feel is forever lost. No wonder Howell the giant consoling hug of Everybody
Someday and Agincourts Fly Away (both ended up at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Hurts, the sustained anti-Republican
1970), Ithacas A Game For All Who Know Extras: 7/10. Excellent liner notes from David rant of Ignoreland he still playfully
(1973) and the previously unreleased Friends Wells. JON DALE challenged you to forage for meaning among
Fragile (1974) have ended up as private lists of board games and discussions of
press legends, against the odds. Part of Recording callphone etiquette.
the charm is their utter guilelessness: the the Agincourt Extras: 8/10. The big news is the inclusion of
players are all unknowns, the production album in 1970 the long-heralded Devil Rides Backwards
is somehow both potting-shed charm and (also sometimes known as Big Talk),
sophistication on a shoestring budget, and a song as haunting as anything on the
the songs are often delightful and uncanny main album. Mikes Pop Song is fun and
in their warmth and emotional depth. Eastern 983111 another intriguing road
The first two sets are oddities, not travelled, although tantalising titles
community theatre and film soundtracks Cello Scud and Howler Monkey turn
respectively, with all the pros and cons out to be simply demo versions of Automatic
that entails, their relative lack of coherence favourites. Disc Two is a crisp recording of

42 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


ARCHIVE

REMs only proper live show of 1992, A Day In The Life trumpet the
a Greenpeace benefit at the 40 Watt creepy collective as pioneering pop
Club in Athens, previously divvied postmodernists, carving out a path
up for Monster-era B-sides. Theres for Throbbing Gristle, Negativland
also a Blu-ray disc containing videos and the Butthole Surfers to follow.
and a new mix of the album by Scott Fab foresight, all told.
Litt in Dolby Atmos. Extras: 7/10. A slyly illuminating
SAM RICHARDS booklet with plenty of gratuitous
eyeball photographs and sleevenotes
THE RESiDENTS from long-term Cryptic Corporation
80 Aching Orphans: 45 mouthpiece Homer Flynn.
Years Of The Residents JIM WIRTH
CHERRY RED

8/10 JACKiE SHANE


Any Other Way
Eye tunes: San Francisco weirdies NUMERO gROUP
4CD greatest misses
7/10
Once so enigmatic
that tinfoil-hatted Two-disc celebration of undersung
uber-fans posited 60s R&B/soul singer
that they were The A Nashville-born
Beatles in disguise, singer acclaimed
The Residents grew by players on the
names in later decades, Randy, soul/R&B circuit and
Chuck and Bob conceding with who worked with the
unexpected candour that they likes of Joe Tex and
were merely ageing hippies with Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Jackie
misguided fantasies on this Shane was little known outside of
exhausting best ofs sardonic her adopted home of Toronto, even at
closer, Life Would Be Wonderful. her peak. This 25-track compilation,
80 Aching Orphans thoroughly overseen by Shane (now 77) and
documents their slow evolution via featuring extensive, autobiographical
the hideous eyeball headgear towards liner notes with archival photos, shines
a kind of wonky musical theatre, a light on both an extraordinary life
but it is the creations of their putrid gay and black, she started living as Jackie Shane with
70s pomp that define them. Second a transgender woman when a young Frank Motleys
changeover in the great avant-rock teen and a talent (which included Hitchhikers and
4 x 100m, passing the baton from the drumming) marginalised by history. (top) in 1967
Silver Apples and Frank Zappa to It features all six of her singles,
Pere Ubu and Devo, their primitive including the title track, which was
electro-pop terrorism is showcased a modest hit in 1962, plus live highlights
by the Mickey Mouse free-jazz of from 1967 sessions at Torontos
Eloise and the melted Beach Boys Sapphire Tavern, where Shane, backed The Dog, a light, sinewy take on highlights are Stand Up Straight
gloop of Semolina. Meanwhile, by Frank Motleys Hitchhikers was a Barrett Strongs Money (Thats What And Tall (Aretha fronting Booker T
the Residents unforgiveable regular. The songs are very much of I Want) and an insanely speedy & The MGs) and the irresistibly jiving,
desecration of The Rolling Stones their time, reflecting shifts in popular version of the Ray Charles hit Sticks R&B-pop of New Way Of Lovin.
Satisfaction and Beatles cut- taste and featuring numerous covers, And Stones (the flip of Any Other Extras: None.
and-paste Beyond The Valley Of including Rufus Thomas Walking Way). Of Shanes own material, SHARON OCONNELL

How to buy...

THe resideNTs
From political drones to emotional song-cycles
Eskimo station KFRC to broadcast them all.
RALPH, 1979 They rose, brilliantly, to their own
An eerie crater-scape occasion with a set of 40 uneasy
of chants, low-blown miniatures; proof that The Residents
drones and arctic had a knack, however skewed, for
ambience, Eskimo pop melody.
was The Residents first serious step 9/10
sideways, a collection of long, slowly
evolving pieces loosely based around Animal Lover
indigenous American culture. Its MUTE, 2005
conceptually rigorous and politically During the noughties,
engaged, yet smartly, slyly playful. Chris The Residents
Cutler of Henry Cow and Don Preston of perfected their song-
The Mothers Of Invention guest. cycle approach to
8/10 albums Animal Lover, about the
interaction of human and animal
The Commercial worlds, is one of their strongest.
Album Mortality is another theme, and often
RALPH, 1980 the emotional tenor of Animal Lover is
It was one of The simply overwhelming: My Window, The Residents:
pupils of the
Residents smartest filled with deep mourning, is the most Zappa/Silver
gambits: record an devastating song they ever recorded. Apples school of
album of one-minute songs and buy 8/10 rock subversion
advertising slots on San Francisco radio JON DALE

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 43


ARCHIVE
VE
by no Doubts garish 2003 cover. The
same year, Such A Shame and Dum
Dum Girl failed to capitalise on radio
support, scraping the Top 50 and Top
75 respectively, with audiences most
likely put off by the gloomy tone that now
makes them so persuasive.
its indeed in such melancholy that
the neglected appeal of both albums
is concealed. True, The Partys Over
remains victim to period technology
and claustrophobic click tracks, its new
Romantic reputation further justified
by the Rotodrums of luckless single
Another Word, and Hate, whose trite
arrangement stampeding rhythms,
stabbed synths, grunted chorus
distracts from its veiled sentiment.
Thats not to mention their painfully
thin debut single, Mirror Man.
Have You Heard The news echoes
Duran Durans Save A Prayer, too,
The first Talk Talk but many of these shortcomings are
lineup: (lr) Simon down to eMis chosen producer, Colin
Brenner, Mark
Hollis, Lee Harris Thurston, fresh from helming Rio for Le
and Paul Webb Bon and co, but chiefly approved by the
band for his work on Bowies Heroes.
nonetheless, the muted pleasures of

TALK TALK its So Serious, the majestic, Japan-


flavoured title track and the disconsolate
Candy all point to greater ambitions,
The Partys Over/Its My Life (reissues, 1982, 1984) and Hollis lamenting, nasal vocal
and idiosyncratic phrasings help
PARLOPHONE
compensate for the albums flaws.
7/10, 8/10 Thurstons ousting in favour of Tim
Friese-Green whod soon become
Vinyl reissues showcase cult bands promising synth-pop origins. a vital writing partner for Hollis
By Wyndham Wallace ensured Its My Life offered a more
cultivated sound, as did Brenners
Given how often
their final, genre-
SLEEVE NOTES some of his own songs with former
schoolmates Paul Webb and Lee Harris,
departure. Hollis would later insist
both albums dominant synth flavours
melting albums, THE PARTYS OVER part of local reggae act eskalator. While were present only because the band
1988s Spirit Of Eden 1. Talk Talk punk had fuelled all three, the bands couldnt afford real instruments or
2. Its So Serious
and 1991s Laughing future mastermind was just as likely to the musicians to play them, and here
3. Today
Stock, are referenced 4. The Partys
share music by erik Satie and Ornette Friese-Green allows more space for
nowadays, its easy to Over Coleman with his new colleagues and, acoustic instrumentation to begin its
overlook Talk Talks 1. Hate supplemented by keyboardist Simon creep to the fore: the trumpets piercing
origins. 2012s Spirit 2. Have You Heard Brenner, they swiftly found common the pleasingly languid Tomorrow
Of Talk Talk book The News creative ground. Started, the strummed acoustic guitars
delivered praise 3. Mirror Man An eMi deal followed, and though interrupting the otherwise artificial
from artists as varied 4. Another Word 1982s The Partys Over and 1984s Its sounds of The Last Time.
as Karl Hyde, nils 5. Candy My Life may be best known for the The new Romantic tropes are still
Frahm and Robert ITS MY LIFE polished, Duran Duran-chasing singles there, of course, particularly in Paul
Plant, but this was almost exclusively 1. Dum Dum Girl necessitated by a major label, Hollis Webbs fretless bass playing, as well as
aimed at those brave but commercially 2. Such A Shame heart was elsewhere from the start. the memorable synth melodies of Such
disastrous collections, with which its 3. Rene in truth, only two tracks from these A Shame and the deceptively joyous
4. Its My Life
undeniably difficult to reconcile their more albums and both from The Partys title track, which actually addresses a
1. Tomorrow
marketable, early-80s releases. The Thes Started
Over cracked the Top 40 at the time: noncommittal partner and, live, would
Matt Johnson compared their decade-long 2. The Last Time Today, with its Mick Karn-esque take on a far more muscular form. But
evolution to The Beatles, and even if one 3. Call In The bassline, and Talk Talk, which Hollis vocals appear more confident,
navigates the divide with 1986s The Colour Night Boy prospered on the second attempt. The at times adopting a Bryan Ferry swoon,
Of Spring, which became their biggest 4. Does Caroline latters debt to Duran Durans Planet and the songwriting is stronger too, not
album (but contained two of their most Know? earth was perhaps fortuitous, but least on the plaintive Rene and Call
abstract compositions), its true that these 5. Its You definitely superficial: the songs cheerful in The night Boys, whose sophisticated
contrasting epochs seem to be in more demeanour masked a contemptuous groove and grandiose arrangements
than merely personnel terms the work lyric better suited to its former, fiercer hint at the progressive direction theyd
MICHAeL PuTLAND/GeTTY IMAGeS

of different Talk Talks. The roots of their incarnation, recorded by The Reaction pursue on The Colour Of Spring.
later genius, however, lie in these initial, for a Beggars Banquet compilation in neither The Partys Over nor Its My Life
currently undervalued endeavours. 1977. Otherwise, chart triumphs eluded is truly indicative of the radical stylistic
The band first formed in 1981 after ed them: 1984s its My Life would have to leaps that would eventually follow, but
Hollis, whod enjoyed success with eddie wait until its second reissue, on the back both helped define the frontiers Hollis
& The Hot Rods, encouraged his brother of a 1990 compilation, to peak at no 13, would soon seek to hurdle. its in that
Mark, with whom hed also played with this overdue feat almost impolitely light that they deserve re-evaluation.
under the name The Reaction, to record eclipsed in their British homeland Extras: none.

44 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


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ARCHIVE

the specialist THROBBING GRISTLE


The Second Annual Report/
20 Jazz Funk Greats/The Taste
Of TG (reissues, 1977, 1979, 2004)
MUTE

6/10, 8/10, 7/10


Celebrating 40 years, on coloured vinyl
and double CD
Its hard to imagine theres
even one member of
TGs potentially curious
audience who doesnt yet
own the first two of these
LPs, especially since both
were reissued in 2011. But together they
launch Mutes slew of re-presentations
marking the 40th anniversary of the bands
debut. The Second Annual Report sets out
their stall with its queasy and lo-fi (the live
sound is frankly poor), dystopian collage
of fuzz-caked guitar, synthesiser scree,
muttered/howled vocals and treated field
recordings. Theres a quantum leap two
years later with 20 Jazz Funk Greats, which
ranges over horror/sci-fi soundtracks
(Beachy Head), minimal, Moroder-ish
disco tunes (Hot On The Heels Of Love) and

CHRIS BELL industrio-tribal incantation (What A Day).


Including the era-hopping The Taste Of TG
compilation this early on in the reissue series
The Complete Chris Bell seems odd, as it features three tracks from
OMNIVORE the other two LPs, but 1978 single United
(which clearly made quite an impact on
8/10 Warm Leatherette by Daniel Millers The
Normal, later the same year) is included.
Big Stars other auteur finally gets his close-up, And it does offer a succinct overview of these
four decades after his death post-psychedelic trash exponents, without
whom its impossible to imagine todays
electronic music landscape.
CHRIS Bell is the rocknroll Life Is Right and Try Again by Rock City, as Extras: 3/10. Almost A Kiss, from 2007s
equivalent of a posthumously well as Icewaters Badfinger-like Bell co-write Part Two: The Endless Not, has been added to
exalted painter who failed All I See Is You, were recorded primarily at The Taste Of TG. SHARON OCONNELL
to sell any canvases during Ardent, which was becoming ground zero for
his lifetime. Making matters local talent. VARIOUS ARTISTS
worse, Bells considerable Rhinos Cheryl Pawelski, Ardents Adam Hill Andina: The Sound Of The
contributions to Big Stars landmark debut and archivist Alec Paleo, who co-produced these Peruvian Andes 1968-1978
album, 1972s #1 Record, have long been archival projects, ramped up their joint labour TIGERSS MILk/STRUT
overshadowed by those of Alex Chilton, who of love after Pawelski co-founded Omnivore
7/10
joined Big Star months after Bell founded the Records, which has become the de facto home
band and went on to make two more revered Big of all things Big Star-related. In recent months, Fascinating, far-reaching anthology of
Star albums following Bells departure. Thus, Omnivore has released Big Stars 4CD Complete Peruvian folk; first of a three-part series
its been left to dedicated archivists to unearth Third, a further beefed-up Cosmos and the Tigers Milk co-founder
and piece together the music Bell put on tape Bell-focused Looking Forward: The Roots Of Martin Morales is a
before and after his time with Big Star into a Big Star. Pawelskis motives in putting out these committed evangelist
coherent narrative. The initial breakthrough sets was twofold the previous iterations were for Peruvian culture:
was Rykodiscs I Am The Cosmos, a compilation on the verge of going out of print, and she wanted an award-winning food
of Bells post-Big Star work that surrounded the to continue refreshing the Big Star familys writer, he also happens
majestic title song and the poignant body of work. to be something of a crate-digger. Like
You And Your Sister with 13 tracks The Complete Chris Bell serves as the some modern-day Alan Lomaxes, Morales,
cut during the same period. apotheosis of these efforts. The 6LP fellow label boss Duncan Ballantyne and DJ
The story became more detailed limited-edition set reshuffles the two Andres Tapia del Rio have spent five years
in 2009 with the expanded Rhino recent Bell compilations, devoting on a Peruvian cultural odyssey. Here, they
reissue of Cosmos, following a the first disc to Icewater, the second to unearth 17 eclectic examples of the disparate
thorough scouring of the Ardent Rock City and the third to the 12-song folk traditions of the Andean people, with
Records archives and tapes in the official Cosmos, with two discs of many cuts released commercially for the first
possession of Bells older brother post-Big Star bonus tracks and a time. On Andina, the infectious, irresistible
David for the labels 4CD Big Star sixth devoted primarily to the rhythms of traditional cumbia and gentle
anthology Keep Your Eye On The Sky. only previously unreleased harp-plucked Andean huayno are electrified
That archeological dig also yielded material, a 40-minute 1975 albeit not dramatically with the sound
a number of recordings cut between interview (though the and instrumentation of pop and rock, and
1969 and 71 by Big Star forerunners latter seems like a waste the results are satisfyingly homespun,
Icewater and Rock City, whose of good vinyl). With joyous and fresh-sounding. Cumbia En Los
moveable lineups of young, British- the Ardent and Bell Andes by Huiro Y Su Conjunto sounds like a
rock-obsessed Memphis musicians archives exhausted, musical mission statement; Los Brbaros Del
JOHN FRY, ARDENT MUSIC

included Bell as guitarist, backing barring the unlikely Centros Loca Loquita offers the two-step
vocalist and emerging songwriter/ unearthing of more bounce of the Caribbean. Alongside forays
lead singer. These recordings, undiscovered tapes, into European gypsy jazz, South American
which include early one wonders what carnaval and the celebratory drone of
versions of #1 Omnivore will do for African-style beats, youll find some more
Records My an encore. BUD SCOPPA obvious 60s touchpoints, articulated by

46 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


ARCHIVE

ComIng nExt
The eyes have it: montH
Dylan fan Sandie
Shaw and friend, jrk returns next time
January 1969
B with her long-awaited
follow-up to Vulnicura
first single The Gate is a
the biting guitar on Los Sabios del in Weeping Sakura wax. Other CD When he emerged spectral delight while Brian Eno
Ritmos delicious Cholita. A lot on and LP editions feature an original in the late 1970s resurfaces, collaborating with
the menu, then, and the whole set poster and a book with notes, artist via Dr Dementos pianist tom Rogerson on Finding
feels programmed to be the perfect biographies, and lyrics in English gleefully deranged Shore, harnessing the power of
accompaniment to an excellent meal. and Japanese. radio show, Weird Al the rarely used Moog PianoBar.
Which is entirely appropriate, as JASON ANDERSON Yankovic wielded his Meanwhile, Dan Auerbachs
Andina is also available as a cookbook. Roland accordion like a true punk. His production powerhouse
Extras: None. MARk BENtLEy VARIOUS ARTISTS adolescent irreverence and gloriously continues with the release of
Take What You Need: puerile puns about foodstuffs, boogers Robert Finleys classy Goin
VARIOUS ARTISTS Uk Covers Of Bob Dylan and TV shows lent his parodies a Platinum!, produced and
Even A Tree Can Shed Songs 1964-69 ACE strange, subversive quality that co-written by the Black Keys
Tears: Japanese Folk 8/10 punctured the self-seriousness of so man, while noel gallagher
& Rock 1969-1973 LIGHT IN THE ATTIC much 70s rock. That he is still cracking promises some psych odysseys
Period enchantment over 22 tracks jokes more than 40 years later is
8/10 courtesy of producer David
Everybody has one of pops greatest surprises, and Holmes, and Zombie Zombie
Sounds from Japans little-heard their own list of fave Squeezebox, which collects 15 albums return with the electro-Kraut of
acid-folk underground Dylan covers and in a box shaped like an accordion, Livity. In the world of archival
Bob Dylans influence to be frank youre presents a skewed history of music releases, the Rolling Stones are
on the artists collected unlikely to find from The Knack (My Bologna) all set to release On Air, a comp of
here is obvious well many of them here. the way to Iggy Azalea (Handy). their early radio cuts, while the
before the sets final Yet these 22 covers are nevertheless Yankovic navigates certain trends moody Blues Days Of Future
track: Otokorashiitte fascinating in what they tell us about more successfully than others; the Passed gets a 50th-anniversay
Wakarukai, an the elasticity of Dylans compositions 90s alt.rock boom tripped him up, but deluxe edition. Yeah Yeah Yeahs
adaptation of I Shall Be Released and his all-encompassing influence on his more recent hip-hop parodies are Fever To Tell, which has
by an Osaka duo named The Dylan II. 1960s pop music. Only a trio of tracks ingenious and obsessively detailed. increased in stature over the
But like so many songs on Even A Tree Joe Cockers Just Like A Woman, Even on his original compositions and years since its release in 2003, is
Can Shed Tears the inaugural release Fairport Conventions Ill Keep It his anarchic polka medleys, he proves also reissued in a fine deluxe
in Light In The Attics Japan Archival With Mine and Manfred Manns an immensely witty arranger, using package, and comes wrapped
Series on the folk and rock of the late If You Gotta Go Now qualify as armpit ffftttps as a rhythm section on in red fishnet stockings. Most
60s and early 70s this rendition is genuine classics. But theres endless I Love Rocky Road and turning the expansive of all is King Crimsons
too rich to be mere mimicry. The same period enchantment, whether its syrupy holiday strings on Christmas Sailors Tales, an exhaustive look
could not be said of the Beatles and Sandie Shaws take on Lay Lady At Ground Zero into apocalyptic air- at the bands fertile 1970-72
Ventures knockoffs that dominated Lay, Marianne Faithfulls pompously raid sirens. period includes band auditions
the Group Sounds era of mid-60s overblown Blowin In The Wind, Extras: 7/10. An exclusive album of for some, hopefully, rather
Japan. But by the decades end, many Noel Harrisons Love Minus Zero one-offs and oddities called Medium cringy moments.
of the same young musicians were recited as if it was a Shakespearean Rarities, featuring early singles and
TOm.PinnOck@Timeinc.cOm
not only getting hip to Dylan and soliloquy, or a surprisingly brave parodies of The Kinks, The Beatles and
The Band they were integrating the Visions Of Johanna by the duo of Crash Test Dummies. StEPHEN DEUSNER
western styles with modes from home. Roger Edwards and Roger Hand, who
Just consider the earthy synthesis recorded as the now totally forgotten
of kayokyoku balladry and Buffalo
Springfield on Natsu Nandesu by
Piccadilly Line. Oddest of all, perhaps,
is a countrified Dont Think Twice,
SAVE
Happy End, a leading light in the recorded in 1964 by a Colchester group up to
new angora, short for underground. called The Fairies. Whod have thought 45%
Likewise, the shades of Donovan and that a band that later added Pink to
Joni Mitchell in songs by Kazuhiko their name to become the ultimate free-
Kato and Sachiko Kanenobu are festival acid warriors were unlikely The perfecT
just starting points for journeys that
encompass acid folk, sumptuous
progenitors of country-rock, five years
before Nashville Skyline? gifT for
pop and less familiar strains. That
this era of Japanese music is so little
7/10. A 20-page booklet, superbly
researched and written by sometime
chriSTmaS
from juST 17.49*
WESlEY/KEYSTONE/GETTY IMAGES

known in the west is surprising given Uncut contributor Mick Houghton,


cratediggers plundering of the garage with evocative archive illustrations.
and psychedelia recorded by other NIGEL WILLAMSON
Subscribe online at www.
S
Group Sounds veterans. Discovering uncutsubs.co.uk/BAJ7
u
all this mellow gold now is akin to WEIRD AL YANkOVIC Or call 0330 333 1113
O
discovering Laurel Canyon was Squeezebox LEGACY
actually on the other side of the Pacific.
7/10 and quote code BAJ7
a
Extras: 7/10. The initial 300-copy For more information, see page 78
run of the double-vinyl edition comes Pops premier parodist gets boxed

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 47


REM

What
to get
REM in Miami, 1992:
Bill Berry, Mike Mills,
Peter Buck and
MIchael Stipe

48 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


if you tried
off, baby?
1992, and REM are on the cusp of superstardom. How will they
adapt to a world of new opportunities? By retreating to Athens,
disdaining live shows and interviews, and making a hushed,
mournful new album Automatic For The People. Twenty-five
years and 18 million copies later, TOM PINNOCK tracks down
the major players to uncover the secrets of an unlikely rock
masterpiece. You dont always have to make a high-energy
pop record for it to be good, says Mike Mills.
Photo by anton corbijn

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 49


F
In 1991, releasing
Out Of Time, the
record that initiated
REMs imperial phase

OR Peter Buck, success was a hard a photobook assembled by Michael Stipe. Its a formidable
quality to quantify. We were living in re-examination. Yet the story of Automatic For The People is not
the same houses, driving the same just about the sounds collected there its also a story of Athens, of
cars, he says, thinking back to 1991, a singer quitting the limelight for the shadows that he still seems to
the year Out Of Time broke REM. So prefer; and of the end of an era, for REM and for the music industry,
it didnt occur to us that things had changed when a major label would nurture underground heroes, and when
substantially and they hadnt, in a lot of ways. a band didnt have to lay themselves bare on Twitter, Instagram and
Exhausted after 1989s intense Green World YouTube to sell records. In REMs case, they didnt have to tour or, in
Tour, the group decided not to perform live in their singers case, even talk to the press, to catch the attention of
support of Out Of Time, and so were insulated millions of listeners.
from the waves they were making. We were The whole point of signing with Warners was that there was not
walking away from the performing-in-big- going to be any pressure to do this, that or the other, says Mike Mills,
basketball-arenas side of our nature, the recalling their major-label run that began with 1988s Green. We
guitarist adds. Instead Id get home and play made our decisions based on what was best for the band and they
on the front porch. understood that. I think, from start to finish, Automatics probably
With touring off the agenda, the four-piece now had a rare our most cohesive record.
luxury, time; to spend in Athens, Georgia, finessing songs for Its one of my all-time favourite albums, says photographer Anton
their follow-up, hanging out with friends and family, and Corbijn, who shot the group for the Automatic sleeve. Find The
visiting restaurants like soul food joint Weaver Ds. Although River I like particularly very much. Its only later you realise how
some of Out Of Time hinted at a more baroque, sombre sound, amazing it is to be connected in some way to this.
the next LP theyd create, Automatic For The People, would be Idyllic? says Peter Buck, thinking back to the writing process.
the darkest, deepest and most beautiful music REM would ever make. Yeah, it was, there was certainly not a lot of pressure. For the first
Strangely, these explorations on mortality time in any of our adult lives, we didnt need
and ageing stemmed from a supremely to get back on the road and pay our salaries
happy, confident group; and even stranger, and our employees. We were in a very great,
they struck a chord with people around the creative place.
world, selling millions. Oh yeah, we were

O
Lawrence Lawry/photoshot/avaLon red

enjoying not being on the road, says bassist UT Of Time, released on March 12,
and keyboardist Mike Mills today, making 1991, initiated REMs imperial phase.
great music. Thats the great thing abut When Warner Brothers Jeremy Marsh
being in your hometown, youve got your heard they were already at work on a follow-
friends there who remind you that youre up, he asked the bands lawyer, and later
still the same schmo you always were. manager, Bertis Downs if the group were
REMs eighth album, Automatic is being thinking of touring again.
reissued this November in a deluxe edition, I said, The bands not really decided,
packaged with demos, a live set from their theyre taking it a year at a time, when the spirit
only full performance of the period and moves, recalls Downs. And I remember

50 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


REM
Jeremy saying, Well, I think they should do one of with, and he carried the rest of the band along with him.
two things. They should do the tour, or they should They were moving away from the rocknroll guitar and
make a really good record. As it turned out, that was drum-heavy songs.
great advice. I dont think we intended it to sound as it did, says
Downs was one of the few who wasnt surprised to Mike Mills. It took on a life of its own. Certainly the
see these four indie music geeks from Georgia become context of not having to reproduce the songs live right
one of the biggest bands in the world. As a second- away gave us freedom to explore. We spend a little
year law student, hed seen them at their first gig more time being creative with it.
under the name of REM, taking the stage at the Koffee To demo the next album, Buck, Mills and drummer
Klub in Athens at 1.45am on April 19, 1980. Before the Bill Berry as active a songwriter as the others
show was closed down by police, he was stunned by headed to Keanes studio in a turn-of-the-century
the quality of their early songs. I told them that if the property in an old part of Athens to cut their ideas on
artists I liked like the Allman Brothers, Springsteen his new two-inch, 24-track tape machine.
and Neil Young could make it big, then they could Cobbham became a historic district shortly after
too, because they were writing songs that were just I built the studio in my house, says Keane. At one point
as good. all the guys in REM, including Bertis and Jefferson [Holt,
John Keane, who engineered a host of the bands the bands first manager], all had really beautiful old
recordings throughout their career, including the houses in the same area.
Automatic demos, also saw the group early on at Wed pedal our bikes or walk over to the studio four or
Tyrones, and was convinced they could cross five days a week, remembers Buck. It gave us time to
over. I felt like their songs were so catchy and experiment with a lot of different things it wasnt the
powerful and memorable that they had a shot at usual writing songs at soundchecks situation.
being really big, he tells Uncut today. Once they REMs approach to writing songs is sort of backwards
got on Warner Brothers, things really seemed to from the way most artists write songs, says Keane. The
take off for them. band would come into the studio and record these tunes,
We were living in Athens, we werent really usually without a vocal. Sometimes Michael would
doing anything, says Peter Buck of the period have a melodic idea where hed just hum into the

anton corbijn; arno bUrGi/aFp/Getty imaGes


after Out Of Time made them international stars. microphone. But part of the reason for making these
It was like, Well, well make another record. demos was that I could give Michael a cassette that he
While parts of Out Of Time, such as Shiny Happy could take home, and then come up with lyrics or
People and Near Wild Heaven were peppy and melodies after the fact.
upbeat, Low and Country Feedback had hinted Bill switched around the bass and acoustic, Mike
at a new subtlety. When the group reconvened for the played organ and piano, and we did the traditional
follow-up, they found their sound moving towards this guitar, bass, drums, says Buck. Michael writes off of
more nocturnal vein. inspiration, something will just strike him and hell
A lot of it had to do with Peter Buck becoming write quickly. Some days hed come in and, boom,
interested in these acoustic instruments, says Keane. hed have [a song] in two minutes. Hed roll his eyes
They became the basis of the riffs that he came up when we were doing Arabic Feedback or whatever

Coasting: shots of love


downtime in

Leica rolling
Miami, 1992

stone
Photographer Anton Corbijn recalls
shooting the band, and particularly
Stipe, in Miami

I
First met them when i did pictures for
the sleeve of Losing my religion. For the
Automatic shoot, we were north of miami.
i stayed in a house where michael was staying, on
the beach. i was up really early, and the light was
beautiful, so i woke michael up and suggested we
try a few photos. he got in the water and i took some
shots. what i like about those pictures most is that the
horizon is not straight and it looks like hes surrounded
by waves. i shot maybe seven pictures with my bulky
hasselblad camera it was unusual for someone
to go into the water with a hasselblad! i was very
happy when i got back home and saw
the pictures of michael in the water. the
black and white one where his eyes
are closed is a really lucky shot, it seems
to sum up a state of mind all the parts
are moving. i didnt think my group shots
were strong enough. it was hard to get the
whole band together, and they werent
natural in front of the camera. but
i have fond memories of getting
a little bit into their world.

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 51


REM
that was. But every now and again youd get something like Star Me
Kitten. I didnt think that one would be a vocal number.
We didnt write 12 or 13 songs and pick the right 10 any more; wed
have 25 or 30 pieces of music and whittle it down until we figured
out what the record was. Its a good way to work, but it also takes a
lot of time.
We loved working with John, says Mills. If you feel comfortable,
sometimes ideas come out with less pressure. At that point, I
couldnt walk past a guitar without sitting down and playing.
Other instruments the group couldnt walk past without picking
up included a bouzouki, which Buck used on Monty Got A Raw
Deal, a sitar, which, Keane admits, we werent able to get
anything useful out of, and a trombone, which Mills played on
B-side The Lion Sleeps Tonight. After a couple of weeks demoing,
the group had finished Drive, Try Not To Breathe,
Nightswimming and Sweetness Follows. Looking at those
four songs, says Buck, theres a pretty fair picture of where we
were heading and once you get to that point where the record
Grammys
starts to appear to be what it is, youre free to either pick up things for AFTP,
that would fit or add a different side to those songs. 1992
John Keane was particularly keen on Drive
the first time he heard it I thought that might
be a song that would end up being a lot of
peoples favourite over the years while Bertis that was enough to get everything we were going to get out
Downs has a vivid memory of first hearing the of each place.
elegiac Find The River. I remember in Recording found the group adding flesh to the bones of the
particular driving around Athens with Michael, demos in the case of Sweetness Follows, Buck and his
he says. It was dusk, it was rainy, and we were black Rickenbacker contributed eerie feedback inspired by
going by some of the houses on the main street of his fondness for My Bloody valentine; on Monty Got A Raw
Athens listening to the demo of Find The River, Deal, they made a cello strike sound like something hitting
as he was humming his part, humming what he a wall, as Mills puts it, while Find The River featured one
was coming up with. But all they had was this of the best uses of accordion in the rock canon.
incredible instrumental track that was just so sad Inspired by Led Zeppelins Kashmir, Buck
the minute you heard it, it made you mournful. suggested recruiting John Paul Jones to arrange
strings for Drive, The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite,

N
IRvANAS Nevermind had blown up the year Everybody Hurts and Nightswimming. Theres
before, and Peter Buck recalls seeing and loving nothing saccharine about his arrangements, marvels
Mudhoney early on; but REM had no interest yet Mills. Thats why they work so well.
in stepping on the Big Muffs of grunge. It didnt seem New Orleans Instrumental No 1 was the product
as if that was what we needed to be doing, he says. of some impromptu experimentation after the group
Its just that difference in age. returned from dinner one night, and was included in the
Instead, Ignoreland and The Sidewinder Sleeps running order as a palate cleanser. The final song to be
Tonite aside, the songs that REM had concocted tackled was C To D Slide, originated by Berry. With the
were mostly mournful and slow, with the likes rest of the album finished and mixed, Stipe had failed to
of Try Not To Breathe and Star Me Kitten come up with any lyrics for the track, one of the groups
folky and haunting. Sometimes you hit a place favourites. They mixed it as an instrumental anyway,
and its the right place, muses Buck. The songs then departed for a short break. When they returned,
dictated the way the record went Automatic with eight days left in the studio, Stipe sang the lyrics hed
does sustain a mood. written and the track was mixed and finalised in a matter of
Stipes lyrics were also of a piece, examining the hours. C To D Slide was now called Man On The Moon.
finite nature of mortality and existence. Downs Like many REM songs, you hear it as an instrumental and
believes this dour mood may have been inspired its pretty good, says Bertis Downs, then you hear what
by Graham Swifts novel Waterland, set in the Michael adds to it and you mix it into a song and its even
Fenlands of East Anglia; the band were better! They were at the top of their game, no question.
approached to soundtrack an adaptation, but the The final 12-track album was then submitted to Warner
DAvID McgougH/DMI/THE LIFE PIcTuRE coLLEcTIoN/gETTy IMAgES

offer never came to fruition. Why was he writing Brothers who, to their credit, recognised the rare spell it cast.
about those subjects at that time? says Downs. You dont always have to make a high-energy pop record for
That is a question Ive never asked him, just it to be good, points out Mills. We were making good
because Ive never asked Michael anything about work, so there was nothing wrong with challenging
the motivation behind his lyrics. Hes an artist peoples expectations.
why was some famous painter painting those lilies at
God, this is a
W
that time, or that bridge? Hes an artist, and thats what ITH the release date set for October 5, 1992,
they do they get inspired, they write. the band just needed a name for their
After they had demoed in Athens, the group
recorded the album at four different studios in
much stronger album. This was becoming increasingly
difficult Out Of Time was so named because the band
opposite corners of America tracking was done at
Bearsville in Woodstock, Criteria in Miami and
record than I ran out of time to think of a title. Finally, a consensus
was reached: their magnum opus would be called
Kingsway in New Orleans, and mixing at Bad Animals
in Seattle. We moved around a lot, remembers Buck.
remember Star. I was in a conference room at Warner Brothers
in Los Angeles and they had finally decided on the
You get a different set of inspiration from being in pETER BUCk title, remembers Bertis Downs. But there was some
completely different places like that three weeks, murmuring in the room, and someone from Warners

52 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


REM
said, Ah, there could be a problem with that. Uncut asks if Stipe took any kind of pleasure in the
A month before, Simply Red have a record coming speculation. Hes much more private than that.
out on Warners called Stars Within seconds, Peter Hes talked before about whats private and whats
Buck, bless his heart, said, OK, Automatic For The public and what should be out there. Its not really
People. I knew what that was, that was the slogan enjoyable, no I wouldnt put it in that category.
for Weaver Ds soul food restaurant in Athens.

W
If you said to Dexter, Can I have a piece of HILE undoubtedly a landmark record,
cornbread? or whatever, his constant response was Automatic For The People also marked
always, Automatic. No matter what you said to some crucial shifts within REM. With
Weaver, hed reply Automatic. He must have said seven albums before it, and seven after, it pushed the
it a hundred times a day. I guess people thought it group into what would become the second half of
was funny, they liked it, so he put a sign up outside their career; theyd never sell as many records again,

PEOPLES
of the restaurant that said Weaver Ds Automatic and every album they released after was destined to
For The People be judged unfavourably against their 1992 effort. The bind
Its closed now, laments John Keane. The band ate
there quite a bit. Whenever I got the urge to eat some soul CHOICE of their hometown was weakening, too; never again would
they all live in the city they had formed in.
food fried chicken, macaroni and cheese Id go down to Automatic was the last record they demoed in my
The best of the
Weaver Ds. I think he got a lot of mileage out of his slogan! studio, says John Keane, and [1994s] Monster was made
I thought it was a really strong collection of songs, says
demos on CD3 about the time Peter moved to Seattle. So it really was the
Peter Buck. I thought maybe it was our best record. But PHOTOGRAPH end of that way of making records, where everybody
things like Man On The Moon, Everybody Hurts, theyre Athough almost finished, this was in the same town. After that, it was more people
nostalgic, jangling piece was
both nearly six minutes long, Everybody Hurts is really developing songs separately and then coming together
abandoned by the band for
slow. Are any of these really hit singles? Our assumption Automatic. Bertis Downs to finish them up. Monster was the polar opposite of
was that wed sell less than the previous album. enjoyed the demo so much, Automatic For The People.
Dampening expectations even more, REM decided they however, that he pestered By the time we started making Monster, it had been four
would not only not tour the album, but that their lead REM to finish the song, years since wed toured, explains Mike Mills. We were
singer and focal point wouldnt speak to the press. My and it ended up on 1993s ready to go back out there, so we made a touring record.
NARAL benefit album, Born
memory of it, says Bertis Downs, is that Michael told me, Sometimes you have to take your own temperature, realise
To Choose, recorded with
Natalie Merchant. what you need to do and what you dont need to do.
Bill was really pushing for a live show that was pretty
Automatic: PETERS NEW SONG loud and chaotic, says Peter Buck. That said, I have no
Weaver Ds, A riff Buck still plays at problem playing loud guitar, but I remember Bill saying,
Athens, Georgia home, this sprightly slice of Come on, weve gotta write some loud songs now. OK,
Byrds-ian arpeggios was
that sounds like a good idea.
perhaps too reminiscent
of Sidewinder to be fully While Monster arguably sounds of its time, channelling
developed. Nice chord the grunge influences theyd previously rejected, and Out
changes, says Buck. It has Of Time today seems like a mixed bag, Automatic For The
that thing I was doing then People still sounds like a masterpiece from start to finish
where Id throw in a bar of 25 years on. The last three songs on Automatic are all
2/4 for no reason. I know
really strong, says Mike Mills. Id put them up against
Bertis loved it, but he realised
we were trying to shy away any three songs we ever wrote. It takes all of us to finish a
from things that sounded song without everybody theres nothing, so it really was
specifically like REM. a team effort.
A couple of weeks ago I was in Los Angeles while they
Ive said all I wanna say for a while, Ill just have a quiet ARABIC FEEDBACK were doing the remaster, says Peter Buck, and then
Perhaps a little too quirky
year, and Peter and Mike can handle the press. And thats remixing for this 13-speaker [Atmos] system. Its insane,
for its own good, Arabic
what happened. There certainly wasnt a big meeting Feedback found the no-ones ever gonna hear it 10 years from now, when
about it, Michael just opted out that time. Theyve always band mixing a funky everyone has 13 speakers, that record will be right up
been a band whove operated on their own instincts, about backbeat with a plaintive there! But I was listening to it like, God, this is a much
what was healthy. It was never a big master strategy. organ melody and some stronger record than I remember. Even the songs which
Despite all this, Automatic For The People would go on to atmospheric feedback from didnt seem to mean a lot to me back then sounded
Peter Buck, still on his Kevin
sell 18 million copies to date, reaching the top spot in the amazing. Im really proud of it.
SIg SIgwoRTH

Shields trip. Stipe never


UK and No 2 in the US. Stipes silence, however, percolated provided any lyrics.
through the lyrics of, say, Try Not To Breathe (I have The 25th-anniversary edition of Automatic For The
lived a full life/And these are the eyes that I want you to MICHAELS ORGAN People is released on November 10 on Craft Recordings
remember), leading to a host of rumours in the press that An early version
he was seriously ill, suffering from either cancer or AIDS. of Everybody
Hurts this
It wasnt really a surprise, says Mike Mills. Nature
subtle demo Remastering
abhors a vacuum and writers abhor lack of information, so maintains a Automatic
they speculate, they try to answer questions without For The
downbeat People, 2017
having any information. mood, never
Though hes since made clear that these were false lifting off into the
rumours, Stipe didnt respond at the time, and after initial heavier bridge
section of the
suggestions that he would indeed talk to Uncut for this
finished version.
piece, he eventually declined to contribute, leaving his Twenty-five years
mindset, lyrics and feelings during the Automatic time still on, it revitalises
something of a mystery. this sometimes
Michael can be very extroverted and very introverted, over-played
which I find a very appealing character quality, says song. Everybody
hurts, sometimes/
Anton Corbijn.
Even the singer
I dont think he enjoyed it, says Bertis Downs, when of this song
DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 53
A RIOT OF
MY OWN
What was it like to be the only punk in the village? As a musical revolution
consumed Britains cities in 1977, how did it impact on the towns and suburbs
beyond the greenbelts? PETER WATTS talks to the punk trailblazers of
Peterborough, Carlisle and more, and discovers how a radical passion could
be nurtured in the face of local bafflement and hostility Punks werent liked.
We stuck together. Thats why some of us have never left punk.
Photo by ViRginiA TuRbETT

Damaged goods:
Fenland punks get a
rare chance to see
The Gang Of Four,
the Ruts and Misty In
Roots during a Rock
Against Racism gig
at the Cambridge
Corn Exchange,
March 17, 1979

54 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


smalltown punks
hortly after 2.30pm on Christmas every one of those villages there were small groups of
Eve, a tour bus rolled into punks spouting up.
Peterborough, catching the eye of a So what was it like being the only punk in the
group of teenagers hanging around village? Uncut spoke to fans in south Wales and
outside a local chip shop. It was the north-west England, Surrey, Buckinghamshire and
Sex Pistols, says Joe MacColl, the East Anglia to get a picture of life growing up in towns
drummer in Peterboroughs first where straight-legged jeans and coloured hair would
punk band, the Now. Sid Vicious turn heads. If you saw another punk in Swansea you
came out and told us they were knew you had more in common than you didnt and
playing at Cromer at the links Pavilion and put you knew that you were both viewed negatively by
us on the guest list. Sid was very friendly. he said, I most other people, explains Mitchell Edmond. that
didnt know there were any punks in Peterborough. was quite a bonding thing, being into something that
But there were punks in Peterborough. Not too was laughed at or dismissed by parents, teachers and
many in 1977, but enough to cause a stir in the town national newspapers.
centre with their strange appearance. Similar pockets Punk developed more slowly outside the
of punk were slowly breaking out in small towns, metropolitan hothouses of london, Manchester and
villages and suburbs all over the country as teenagers liverpool, but it provided teenagers in the provinces
were drawn to the fashion and music, which allowed with a scene they could replicate wherever they lived.
them to distinguish themselves from the soul boys Clothes could be homemade, anybody could form
and heavy metal fans who otherwise constituted a band and if you knocked on enough doors, youd
their peer group. With punk so london-centric, much eventually find somebody who would let you stage
of it was parsed second hand from the weekly music a gig, whether it was a student union, a West Indian
press, as well as via John Peels radio show and tony club, a community hall or a British rail warehouse.
Wilsons So It Goes tV show. this wasnt the case only In Carlisle and Swansea, where major bands rarely
in Peterborough, but in places as different and distant travelled, teenagers received a crash course in
as the Surrey town of Walton, in touching distance of independence as they recreated the scene theyd read
the Kings road, and the isolated northern city of about. It provided them with a social glue and an
Carlisle, where the london scene was little more than ethic that many have never fully abandoned.
rumour. Peterborough has a city centre, but you only It was DIy on a social level, says Kevin tilbury in
have to travel five miles in any direction and youre in Carlisle. there was nobody teaching us, so we had to
villages, recalls ex-punk Graham Gizz Butt. But in make it up as we went along. Punks werent liked.

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 55


smalltown punks

Blame Jimmy
Unspeakable punk Purseys younger
degeneracy at brother: Paul
West Runton near Coombs in his
Cromer, Norfolk, bedroom in
March 20, 1979 Walton, Surrey

Kevin
Tilbury
(left) and
his band
There was a mental togetherness, we stuck
together. Thats one of the reasons some of
us have never left punk.

F
Local scenes escalated as punk-savvy
Or many provincial punks, their friends from the same village or outlying
interest began with stories in suburb merged to form bigger groups,
Melody Maker, Sounds and NME partly for security. In Swansea, they
about a strange new scene in met at Virgin records, while in
London, the centre of the UKs musical Peterborough it was a local bar, raffles.
world. An early quote from Steve Jones Waltons punk contingent would meet
Were not into music, were into chaos punks from egham, Staines and
grabbed the attention of teenagers raised Weybridge and take three buses to the
on glam and Bowie, who began to follow Kings road. Carlisle punks hung around
the adventures of the Sex Pistols. Through outside Top Shop. every scene had
age and geography, some were close to the pioneers like MacColl in Peterborough
action. While Kevin Tilbury was stuck in and Martin in high Wycombe.
Carlisle and Mitchell edmond was stranded in In Swansea, edmond recalls his first encounter
Swanseas suburbs, Peterboroughs Joe MacColl with a real punk, a woman with spiked hair and
had already started working for Thomas Cook in
central London. This access to the capital meant We were looking a chain that went from nose to nipple. It was
outrageous enough to read about it, but we
he was in the right place as punk began to rumble
into existence, and his group of friends brought for any scrap of couldnt believe there was somebody in Swansea
who actually looked like that, he says. I dont
punk back to Peterborough as early as 1976. We
went to charity shops and bought jackets and information know what it must have been like for those brave
few souls at first. People would gawp as they
then used stencils, he says. I remember buying walked down the street because they were literally
a pair of trousers and then splattering them MiTChEll EDMoND the only people in town who looked like that.
Jackson Pollock-style with black ink. We were the Carlisle was bypassed by touring bands and
first people to dress like that in Peterborough. Mitchell edmond lived in a village outside that isolation forced a local scene to develop.
There were about 10 of us and we got a lot of stick. Swansea. A voracious reader of the music press, Bands such as the Skidmarx, No Support and The
MacColl and his friends formed a band, The Now. his interest in punk was originally informed Ironing Boards were up and running in 1977. It
The only place that let them rehearse was entirely by second-hand sources. It was a lot of was intensely localised, and Carlisle gigs were
Peterboroughs Marcus Garvey Club, run by a intriguing snippets of information in the papers, rarely listed in NME. Kevin Tilbury, who played in
West Indian association. and trying to find out any more was difficult, several Carlisle punk bands, is now archiving the
In the Surrey suburb of Walton, Paul Coombs he says. We were looking for any scrap of scene through his blog, carlislepunkbands.
discovered punk when his best friend robbie information. In May 1977, The Clash played wordpress.com. Carlisle is surrounded by
Pursey came to school with spiked hair, which he Swansea. For the first time, this allowed mountains, he explains. Theres nothing here
called his ferret cut. It had been cut by robbies Swanseas disparate punk enclaves to gather but farming and tourism. Theres no cultural
older brother, Jimmy, who lived in nearby in one place to see a real London punk band. infrastructure. Bands would play Manchester,
hersham and swore one day hed be on Top Of The It was an affirmation that the stuff wed heard Preston, Lancaster, then shoot up to Newcastle or
Pops. Over in high Wycombe, Bowie fan Nigel on John Peel or read about, now wed actually Glasgow and completely bypass this big area of
Martins search for extravagant clothes had taken
virginia turbett/redferns

seen it and realised it was clearly different, hills and sheep. We had to do it ourselves
him from Kensington Market to Sex. When I says edmond. Seeing a 20-year-old urchin otherwise nothing would come our way.
went back to high Wycombe in my rubber shirt dressing so differently to the stereotypical even in Peterborough, an hour from London,
and blue hair, Id get laughed at, he says. People rock star and playing aggressive and pretty few bands came through in 1977. Local bands The
would move their kids out the way as I walked simple songs you realised maybe you could do Dole and The Now were already gigging, and
along the street. They were quite threatened but that. It hadnt occurred before, and it was both Peterborough was close to Cambridge, Leicester
that was the last thing I wanted. inspiring and impressive. and the seaside resorts, where punk bands

56 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


occasionally appeared. By 1979, Peterboroughs record shops

Plastic
Wirrina Stadium was hosting The Damned and
Buzzcocks, but that lack of direct contact with

passion
live music cant be understated. Peterboroughs
only 100 miles from London but it could have
been a million miles, says one local, John
Church. The first bands began to play around
Peterborough in 78, but we were a year or two
Where punks would gather

e
behind London, who had seen these bands long arly understanding of punk came
before we did. entirely through the music press. Music
fans read all four music papers NME,

T
Melody Maker, Sounds and Record Mirror
here were always records, which were to find out what was happening. Joe
relatively easy to find. Getting the right MacColl, working in london, was able to
clobber was tougher, but it was get hold of them a day before they arrived
important to look right. This was the in Peterborough, making him feel one step
time of Grease and Saturday Night Fever, and ahead of his hometown peers.
every town seems to
when you were surrounded by that in a town like
have had a good record
Peterborough you just wanted something else, shop. in Peterborough,
says Gizz Butt. My mates tried to be John Travolta there was andys
and I wanted to be Johnny rotten. records and Willis hairstyles mingle
Few shops sold non-flared jeans or leather records. Carlisle had at Bruces record
Punk Panther records. store in Edinburgh,
jackets, let along bondage trousers and rubber october 13, 1979
for surrey punks, the
shirts, so punks had to travel or improvise.
beggars banquet shop in
Those with access to London could check out Kingston wasnt too far
Seditionaries and Boy before retiring to the away, while swansea a punk seven-inch
provinces to make their own versions. Otherwise, had a virgin in the town by typography, band
mums had to be persuaded to take in trousers and centre. these shops name or the simple
girlfriends asked to sew zips into T-shirts. Badges became focal points, homemade design
partly as they were one ethic of the sleeve,
and stencils were commonplace. When The
of the few places punks and even cash-in
Boomtown rats played Carlisles Market hall in could gather in relative records like Live At
1979 the first big punk(ish) band to venture into security and meet like-minded people and The Roxy (above) had value as they gave
Cumbria it was a sea of home-painted shirts. staff who could turn them on to the new isolated punks a chance to hear second-
edmond recalls with a mixture of amusement sounds. fans became adept at recognising wave bands like Wire and X-ray spex.
and pride the
conniptions that
would take place
when a big band We liked the idea of DIY walk around and get called a queer-looking
arrived in Swansea. clothes and putting on cunt, says Gizz Butt. The bikers all gathered in
People would be our own gigs. That was Peterboroughs cathedral square and if you
scrabbling about the ethic. walked past in your tartan bondages youd get
trying to look like a DIY hair was particularly abused by somebody twice your age. Then there
punk, he says. One important. It had to be short, was the skinhead thing that was a real drag.
lad might get his it had to be spiky and ideally You were always getting chased by skinheads
school blazer and it should be dyed. When who were five or 10 years older. I remember
chalk the anarchy Paul Coombs got a job as a saying, Fucks sake, youre old enough to
symbol on the back. Or messenger in the City, he be my dad.
theyd have read had to choose between his everybody tells similar stories. When Nigel
something in The Sun pink hair or a career in Martin went on tour with his band, the Xtraverts,
and cut some holes on a banking. his hair won. In he recalls the bristling sense of aggression on
bin liner to wear as a the days before hairspray, the streets of places like Camberley and hemel.
shirt. It might be getting working out how to spike As the Pistols were demonised in the press, it
your trousers taken in, hair was a shared rite. We became almost acceptable to attack local punks.
or knitting a mohair all had spiky hair but it I look at it now and Id be horrified to think that
jumper so you can look kind of looked a bit shit, it a 15-year-old kid could be walking down the
like Paul Simonon. was still quite fluffy, says street, and a car would screech to a halt and
If DIY didnt work, there was always Butt. We didnt know how to do grown men would get out and chase you because
the classifieds. Young punks would it. Did you use Brylcreem? Fairy of what you looked like, says John Church, who
send off for clothes, and then nervously Liquid? Soap worked best. But grew up in Peterborough. Thats what it was like.
await their arrival. Youd see the tight jeans and spiky hair meant If you took it up with the police they shrugged
adverts in the back of Sounds and send punks could be easily identified. their shoulders or started questioning us as if we
off for a pair of pink PVC trousers and a And that meant bovver. were at fault. After things like that, friends out in

V
Clash jacket, says Gizz Butt. The older the villages would avoid coming into the town
punks were much cooler, they had the IOLeNCe and punk centre until it calmed down.
ramones look and were getting leather went hand-in-hand. For the more bookish, music-obsessed punks,
from London. Those older punks like every town had its rival this was both terrifying and depressing. In
MacColl frowned upon ordering tribe. In Peterborough Walton, Paul Coombs and his mates called
clothes. The ramones brought out it was the local bikers or the themselves the Walton punks to distinguish
a single that came with a form you skinheads. In Carlisle it was the themselves from the hersham skins who followed
could send off to get a T-shirt and heavies, heavy metal fans from Sham 69, while Mitchell edmond recalls the
we saw that as the start of the the outlying villages. In Swansea feeling of trepidation every Friday night as he
commercialisation of punk, he says. it was football hooligans. Youd anticipated the next days aggro. On a

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 57


O
The Carnival
Against Racism, n a more positive note, punk
Potternewton encouraged kids to pick up
Park, Leeds,
July 4, 1981 instruments and play. The
DIY ethic was critical in places Crass turned us
far from London and Manchester if
there were no punk bands coming into on to the political
town, the kids had to form their own. In
Peterborough, The Dole and The now thing, marches
were followed by
younger bands gizz BUTT
The Exits and
The Blanks. Gizz like that, but fuck em, says MacColl. I told my
Butt worked his mum what had happened. She said if you are in a
way through the position to stand up against the nazis, you must
Peterborough do everything you could. Later, Gizz Butt became
punk scene until obsessed with Crass. That was a great revelation
he was playing as it turned us on to the political thing, going on
with the CnD marches in our donkey jackets and DMs and
Destructors. watching The War Game in community halls.
Later, he played not all punks were political by any means, but
with English for several interviewees punk provided a space
Dogs and was where curious teenagers could explore causes
a touring musician with Prodigy. The and beliefs with other like-minded individuals.

F
Destructors had an enormous following in
Peterborough and we could play three times OR a while, the punk identity was so
a week, he says. Wed get 200 people at powerful that being a punk was more
Kings Lynn and a lot of those East Anglian important than which city you lived in.
towns and villages. But London was the big Punk united rival cities Cardiff and
thing, we were obsessed with London. Swansea and the perennially warring towns and
Saturday in Swansea in 1979 and 1980 it was Bands gigged, but thanks to the punk ethic, villages in Cumbria. But over time, the movement
almost a local tradition for that small group they also released records. The nows first single, started to fracture. Oi! brought skinhead violence
of blokes from every town who are looking for a Development Corporations, was recorded in a to punk, forcing others to look elsewhere for that
fight to come into Virgin to pick on some punks friends living room but was reviewed in Sounds combination of style and interesting music
Oi, you with the green hair, yeah, you fucking and played by John Peel. Exposure was always goth, mod or new Romantics. But many ex-punks
twat, he says. There were multiple nasty fights possible, through the very avenues that led them still adhere to the original ethic of independence,
in that shop and by fight I mean one or two to punk in the first place. It could make you a originality and outrageousness. Its best
people picking on somebody who wasnt local hero. As MacColl puts it, Our egos kept us summarised by Mitchell Edmond. He sees punk
interested or able to defend themself. As to Peterborough. In London we were nobodies, as bringing a dash of colour and invention
Church puts it, The Mail demonised us, but we were the big boys in Peterborough. directly into his local town rather than being
pretending punk was the end of the world We The outspoken political nature of punk also something to be passively observed on Top Of The
were getting hammered in the street because opened a few eyes. Edmond notes that people Pops. Everybody loved Slade, but glam didnt
people believe that shit. did things and got interested in things through spawn anything like the DIY culture of punk.
Mitchell Edmond found it all too much, and left their interest in the punk scene that they might It was put about in the media that punk was
Swansea in 1980. It was almost like youd started not have otherwise. Tilburys first response on nihilistic, it was about destruction and being
it by dressing in what was perceived as an hearing Anarchy In The UK was to go to the outrageous for the sake of it, but I think we saw it
outrageous way, he says. Even the smallest library in Carlisle and look up the meaning of the as very creative, he says. We did stuff. We made
DAViD CoRio/ReDfeRnS

thing would make people stop and stare. word anarchy; within weeks, hed earned the clothes, we published fanzines, we made records.
However, this sense of persecution only nickname Trotsky. The now played their first That required project management, organisation,
confirmed the feeling that punks were different. gig for Peterborough Action Group Against creativity, money-raising, selling we did it. And
We were different and we knew we were different, Racism, which drew the ire of Peterboroughs that was the philosophy: do something, make
and we revelled in that, says Paul Coombs. national Front goon squad. The skins didnt something. Because who is stopping you?

into the valleys

Everything was 18-24 months behind


W
hile punk began in point where you saw people probably wasnt a week when
london in 1975, it your age dressed similarly and you couldnt see a local band.
took a little longer became aware that there were edmond played in various
to filter into the provinces. like-minded people at a different Swansea bands and acquired
There was a timelag, school on the other side of several demo tapes of other acts
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robert plant

I didnt choose
to be the king of
cock rock.
I didnt choose to be Chest Of The Year in 1971.
These things are festooned upon one and you
have to live em down. At home in his local pub,
ROBERT PLANT has, as ever, much to say. About his
remarkable new album, Carry Fire, and his old friend
John Bonham. About mortality, The Guardian Of
The Whiteleafed Oak, blue Irish comedians, Malvern
folklore, and an encounter with Sonny Boy Williamson
in a Birmingham toilet. And about his plans for the
impending 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin.
Lets hold hands and contact the living, he tells
MICHAEL BONNER. What else can you do, really?
Photo by MAdS perCh

Robert Plant in
an antiques
shop in Hay-
on-Wye on the
Welsh border,
June 2017

60 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 61
he only reason I do
this create music,
that is is that I must
burn and smoulder
until the very end,
says Robert Plant, reflecting on a career
stretching back over five decades. Thats my
deal. I have to make it shudder within me.
It is a quiet Tuesday afternoon and Plant is
sitting in his local pub in a leafy north
London suburb. He has kept a home here
since the 1980s; a demure metropolitan
alternative to the wild and woolly Welsh Marches, his other base of
operations in the UK. Today, the landlord warmly greets Plant as he
wanders into the pub; there are further amiable halloos to a handful
of regulars positioned around the bar before we head downstairs
towards the pubs otherwise empty restaurant. I used to come down
here for the quiz night, Plant confides, sipping from a cup of tea and
honey. Today, he is dressed down in blue T-shirt, jeans and black
shoes; the only flash of colour comes from an ornate ring, mounted
with a pale blue stone, on his left hand. A token, he explains with a
wry smile, of reckless love.
A meeting with Robert Plant covers a lot of ground. Within five
minutes of being in his company, we have moved from Tom Jones
an old friend, it transpires to the brewing company set up by
Plants son, Logan, and the wellbeing of Arthur, Plants trusty
greyhound-bedlington, who recently turned nine. It is a model
Plant conversation: circuitous, beguiling, full of arcane information
Rambling on: Robert
and not a little modesty. Later on, for instance, he will answer plant and family (lr)
a question about the Birmingham music scene during the Karac (197277),
Maureen and Carmen
early 60s with a yarn that involves an unexpected encounter in a field near their
with Sonny Boy Williamson in the gents toilets at Birmingham home in Wales,
october 15, 1976
Town Hall, and ends up, several decades
later, with Plant stepping off a plane
with Jimmy Page in Marrakesh to
record the No Quarter album.
Travel comes up a lot with Plant. He
speaks fondly of trips to India and
Morocco in his Zeppelin days (with a
special mention to New Orleans), along
with more recent sojourns in Austin reconfiguration of Plants long-standing
and Louisiana. Linking these far-flung musical obsessions with R&B, North African
locations borderlands, in many cases blues and West Coast psychedelia.
is a deeply embedded connection to He explains that he intends to tour Carry Fire
the soil and the energy shifts of the well into 2018 a year that coincidentally also
natural world. In many of Plants includes two significant anniversaries. On
songs, figures ramble on through August 20, Plant turns 70. Next year also marks
richly delineated scenery; seasons the 50th anniversary of that magnificent
change, an idyllic past is often beast, Led Zeppelin. Although creatively Plant
recalled. The last time we met in the has long since escaped the long shadow cast by
Shropshire market town of Ludlow his old band, it can still creep up on him
Plant was about to release lullaby and sometimes when he least expects it. I found the
The Ceaseless Roar, a reflective and
deeply personal work, suffused with Im pleased working lyrics to Kashmir the other day, he divulges.
Along with some green satin flares, a Led Zeppelin
Albions landscapes of legend and
myth. His splendid new album, Carry and Im in backstage Knebworth T-shirt and some Woodstock
badges. Peace and music. Like, about 300 of them.
Fire, once again recorded in cahoots Although talking to Plant requires across-the-board
with his musical collaborators, the
Sensational Space Shifters, also
touch. I feel thinking, as ever he is obligingly open about all
aspects of his storied career. There are tales involving
addresses familiar themes of time
passing, romantic longing and distant,
good about sacred sites in the Malvern Hills, recording sessions at
Headley Grange and a surprising appearance on Top
misty mountains; sometimes all within
the same song. We might profitably
everything Of The Pops during the 1980s. He speaks touchingly
and at length, too, about his old friend John Bonham.
describe the music made on this album RoBERT plaNT Im on the road, he says, surveying his current
as heavy folk, based around a skilful condition. Im on the track. Im pleased and Im in

62 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


xxxxxxxxxx

NOW AND ZEN!


north african rhythms plEaSE REaD Buddy millers opaque
reinforced the varied THE lETTER smears of feedback and
music tastes of its creators Raising Sand, 2007 plant and patty griffins
10 classic Plant solo tracks and threw forward to originally recorded for underplayed delivery.
plants later explorations Walking Into Clarksdale
plants fourth grabbed the with the Sensational it nearly didnt make Up oN THE
headlines, this gorgeous Space Shifters. the cut, reveals plant he HolloW HIll
ballad, featuring an re-recorded it with alison (UNDERSTaNDING
artfully restrained vocal SoNG To Krauss as a poignant slice aRTHUR)
from plant, is a highlight. THE SIREN of deep, dark americana. lullaby and The
Dreamland, 2002 Ceaseless Roar, 2014
CoME INTo MY lIFE nestled among covers against Tuareg guitars
Fate of Nations, 1993 by Dylan (one more and pulsing electronic
Fate Of Nations was a cup of coffee), moby rhythms, plant the shaman
Terence Spencer/The LIFe ImageS coLLecTIon/geTTy ImageS

back-to-basics affair grape (Skips Song) and salutes the legendary


for plant, drawing on his Bonnie Dobson (morning British king, brilliantly
IN THE MooD folkier influences. The Dew) was plants bringing together sounds
The principle of slow-building come cover of Tim Buckleys archaic and modern.
Moments, 1983 Into my Life features classic, full of breathy,
a stand-out track from his beautiful guitar from understated intimacy. CaRRY FIRE
second solo album, led by richard Thompson and Carry Fire, 2017
airy synth lines and crisp suitably haunting backing TIN paN VallEY The title track for plants
drum patterns (from phil vocals from clannads Mighty Rearranger, MoNKEY latest continues his
collins), proving that plant marie Brennan. 2005 Band of Joy, 2010 globetrotting adventures,
had finally found his voice plant takes his rock star among more established with a stunning north
outside Zeppelin. CITY DoNT CRY contemporaries to task: covers Townes Van african groove overlaying
No Quarter, 1994 My peers may flirt with Zandt, richard Thompson, moody electronics. as
SHIp oF FoolS The fruits of page and cabaret/Some fake the Los Lobos plant tackled with all of plants post-
Now and Zen, 1988 plants sessions in revel yell/Im moving up two songs by Low on millennium output, it
although two guest spots morocco, this spicy mix to higher ground/I must Band Of Joy. monkey retains a commendably
from Jimmy page on of acoustic folk and escape their hell. is the best, thanks to low-key elegance.

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 63


robert plant
touch. I feel good about everything, so I guess if you pull all those
things together you could call it happy. No holes in it. I dont have
a lot of time for thinking about stuff, and I dont want to waste time,
because time doesnt last forever. If youre an oak tree, its a bit easier.

Youre 70 next year. How do you plan to celebrate? When I was


60, I had a night of humour with my friends at the village pub. Frank
Carson and Tommy Mundon, the Black Country comedian, were the
stars. Neither of them are with us any longer, but everyone remembers
how they laughed. Frank was really, really funny and such a charming
guy. I called him up in Marbella, the day before my party. The phone
rang. Voice goes, Hello? I said, Frank? Its Robert Plant. Oh, Im
coming to see you tomorrow. Are you sure? Just a fucking minute.
Listen to this. He held the receiver up from his lounger by the pool.
Can you hear that fucking noise? Its children. Im on my way. I wont
need any makeup, just a bucket of ready mix. From the minute he got Meeting the flans:
off the plane until they took him back at one in the morning, he never Percy appears on
Tiswas with Frank
let it go. So, 70, is it important? No. Not as long as I can keep my brain Carson and Cozy
in shape and parts of my body, here and there. Powell in 1981

The other big anniversary next year is 50 years


of Zeppelin. How are you planning to mark that? Youre having a lot of fun at the moment with the
ITV/REX/ShuTTERSTock; MaIRo cInquETTI/PacIfIc PRESS/LIghTRockET VIa gETTy IMagES

Hold hands and contact the living. What else can you Sensational Space Shifters, arent you? Ive been
do, really? On May 31, 2018, John Bonham would have
been 70. Hes three months older than me. That is When I ran wrestling with the joys of contemporary recording
techniques recently. Cause and effect, bright ideas that
going to be a moment of recognition for his great gift
and how sad and fucked it was that he was taken from from the big can be jettisoned at the drop of a hat. Because Im a
bit not impetuous, but if I have an idea I want to see it
us. I spend a lot of time with his sister, Deborah; I saw
Zo, his daughter, two weeks ago. Because were from time in 1999, through as far as it can go. I know the whole sacrosanct
way of analogue recording as we did with T-Bone
the same place, I often speak about him in the present
tense. Ironically, Matthew who used to drive us in The I vowed Id and Buddy Miller has its value. But to be able to kick
an idea around and give it neck if you dont want it,
Band Of Joy and The Crawling King Snakes is still on thats great. So thats how I make music with these
the scene. We were 16 when we started playing
together. By my calculations thats 53 years ago. So
never play east guys. Yet, I guess, nothings ever really finished. I can
hear stuff from Physical Graffiti where I think, Shit,
thats a fucking hell of a long time to have somebody in
your life. Even though theyre gone theyre not gone.
of Offas Dyke why did I leave my vocal like that? There are bits and
pieces throughout my time where the vocals are out of
When Maureen and I had our accident in 75, John was tune. But it doesnt matter, because the intentions are
there. When we lost our boy in 77, John and Pat were with Maureen there. This is not a Rembrandt. A three-minute piece of music, four-
and me so much. It was John who got me back into singing again. Id minute piece of music, is supposed to have some expression in it as
been accepted to a teacher training college. So, yeah, we have to well as the inane musicality of a former golden god.
remember all things and be aware of the weight of it all. But at the
same time, the flippance of it all. All these amazing moments that A former golden god? Well, its like being a former striker for
come out of nowhere. Boom. Fantastic. Wolverhampton Wanderers and ending up playing for Huddersfield

Onstage with
Sensational Space
Shifters Liam Skin
Tyson (left) and
Justin Adams, 2016

64 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


Town. Its a role you play. I didnt chose to be the King Of Cock Rock. xxxxxxxxxx
Or Chest Of The Year in 1971. These things are festooned upon one
and you have to live em down.

Chest Of The Year! Youre joking? No! I was voted so by Creem


magazine.

Do you to listen to your music when its finished? It comes


through the mail; you go the village pub and pick up the parcel, take
it home, rip it open and put it in the turntable and go, Ah! Yes! Or
not. Their birthright is there the very first time you hear it. After that,
you have to be careful how many times you play a song, especially She was
when youre my age. You cant get tired of your own stuff or youve got amazing: with
to monitor it so you put some life into it and make it live again. Dylan Alison Krauss
October 25, 2007
makes a job of Masters Of War every time he plays it; people just
dont know what song it is for about an hour. Nothing wrong with that.

lullaby and The Ceaseless Roar was about coming home. So


It was a step into the
unknown
youre back now. Youve taken stock. What have you found
out? Ive found out that there is no back! Everywhere is home and
everybody that I love, I love. With my kids having made their own
way into life now, my dad role has completely changed. I played Ten years on, Plant remembers the genesis of
tennis last night with my youngest kid, who was a county player Raising Sand the album with Alison Krauss that
about 10 years ago. Once I got the thumbs up, the communications redefined Plants post-millennial career
werent face to face, I could really kick ass. Ive always wanted to

I
spend time in Louisiana. So a few years ago, I went on a road trip with waS invited to play a Lead into the unknown for both of us.
CC Adcock from Lil Band O Gold. We went through the dancehalls, Belly tribute for the Rock Justin [Adams] and I worked
and Roll hall of fame in out some arrangements for the
fantastic music the zydeco, the black music, all the bon temps roule. november 2004. odetta, harry songs I wanted to do in his garden
Id always wanted to do it. Back in the Zeppelin days, New Orleans Belafonte and gatemouth Brown shed, where he had a studio. alison
was the place that we looked forward to the most, musically. Ahmet were also on the bill. Id been came up to sing at rehearsals and
Ertegun used to fix up so that Earl King would come along, The typecast as this other guy, the guy she was amazing. I was singing
Meters, Snooks Eaglin, Ernie K-Doe and Frankie Ford. It was that knows no end to Baby, baby, for the first time ever with another
amazing. Wed take a really old warehouse and proceed with parties. baby. So to be in the middle voice, learning about music Id
of that with all those different never even touched. Then T-Bone
players, I thought, Ive gotta do rolled up, with his collection of
Does the song Carry Fire have a special meaning? Its all this! I called up the guys from Los songs I bought the rockin songs
there. There are two or three stories in Carry Fire and you can take Lobos and said, would you like to and he brought the gene clark
em any way you like. come and join me on this tribute stuff and the Townes Van Zandt.
to Lead Belly, and well see what I dont take too kindly to being
What are they? No! I cant! I cant tell you, because otherwise I lose we can do. I contacted alison and produced. Its almost a bit late for
invited her to sing in it with me. I someone to tell me how to do it.
the very issue of what Im trying to do. Its a slight wasnt sure I could But when T-Bone tells everybody
ambiguity, but its my life its about me. The do it. neither was in the room how to do it, everybody
musicianship isnt. Thats about those guys. alison. It was a step listens. and I was going wild.

But both these last two records are very


personal, arent they? For sure. But look at what
happened before that. Band Of Joy was all covers but That was the beginning of what you get today. When we were
one. Raising Sand was all covers but one. Dreamland working on this album, I said to Justin, I want to find a
was all covers but one. Where do you go before that? sound and a mood and a melancholy that reaches towards
Walking Into Clarksdale? When I ran away from the Grecki, the sad symphonies. How can I match the pathos of
big time in 1999, 2000 and formed Priory Of Brion, that? He came back with this amazing progression, which is
I vowed I would never play east of Offas the backbone of Heaven Sent. What it asks for vocally is a
Dyke and I would die a crooning Celt place Ive never been so I went there. But by and large,
somewhere in Bishops Castle. Fuck it, Id everybodys contribution is crucial. Record to record, if you go
had enough! When the Priory Of Brion back to Mighty ReArranger, and to a degree Dreamland, you
imploded yet again, there were gigs to do can hear the personalities of the players. Its a kind of map of our
and they happened to be in Sweden, where madnesses. Its a diagram for the condition, I think. The bendir, the
the whole game had really begun in 1968 North African hand drum, has been there all the way through, from
I formed a band with the aid of Charlie Jones, Hey Joe on Dreamland to Embrace Another Fall and Rainbow
the bass player, who pointed me towards on Lullaby, and it comes out on May Queen on this album.
LIZ o. BayLEn/LoS angELES TIMES VIa gETTy IMagES

Clive Deamer and Johnny Baggott. Porl


Thompson joined us from The Cure. It was There are a handful of songs about current events
very quick and there was no time to write on the new album: New World, Carving Up The
anything. But we came alive really well in World Again and Bones Of Saints. What
Mighty ReArranger. Thats where this whole prompted those? Its just observations from the hill,
story begins for me. really. Theyre not political songs, but theres no way of
avoiding the insane realities of this time. Does a song that
Why do you think your working relationship touches on it make a difference to anybody? Probably not.
with those guys is so successful? When I first met But you cant avoid the mess. When we were recording
Justin [Adams], we were both playing the same music. Mighty ReArranger, the question of whether Blair should be
The Egyptian singer Om Kalsoum, a lot of the Berber held responsible for the Iraq War was in the air. So out came
music Id collected over the years, Raisse Damsiri. Takamba. You cant just sing about reckless love. Last

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 65


robert plant
year, I did a show for David Lynchs Foundation and Do you miss the more pointed social
more recently the Red Cross. I played 11 shows for the commentary of the 1960s? If I had lived out there in
Lampedusa tour, bringing in funds for education in
refugee camps. I thought, Its time to do more and Let England the Bay area in San Francisco, playing with some sort
of poor mans Jefferson Airplane, I would have got it
more stuff like that.
Shake is down years before. It was such a prolific time for a kind
of virile social commentary. But not so in the British
Those three songs seem to address the cyclical
nature of events. New World is about todays folk post-psychedelia and the new blues-rock movement
which was basically people singing like black kids did
immigrants arriving in America; but it could be
a snapshot from any century. Yeah, its a real-world music. Its not in 62, 63. It was brilliant, but it was expressive rather
than lyrical. The finest guys who could play like
immigrant song. Its today. Its definitely going on right mothers surrounded me, but I didnt really have the
now, and its been going on for 500 years. There was a
legation of Chinese military dignitaries in Washington
a dead art state of mind or the awareness or the cultural influx to
start talking about stuff.
a few years ago, discussing the continuity of war
around the planet. One of the Chinese guys said, But youve got a Theres a quote from Aubrey Powell: Robert still believes we
war thats 500 years old and you havent even won it yet. And they come as one tribe from the heady 60s days Is that accurate?
never will. When I lived in Texas, I followed Patty [Griffin] around Id like to think that. But sometimes you cant call people that you
when she was writing American Kid. I spent time on the Mississippi care about because they dont take your calls any more. Its slightly
border south of Memphis. I was picking up all the signals when I was distressing to see where it all went. But I play these festivals in America
there which if you were born into it, youd probably prefer not to which are reflections of what it was when I first went there. So never
touch, because theres a huge yoke around all of our necks. New mind the 60s, how about just a general camaraderie, great vibe? The
generations are not always responsible for their fathers work. creativity there, Im sure, is just as vibrant now.

Theres a lot of soil and seasons on this album. Theres


snow upon the hill, Our fields are filled with clover, the
magic of the land. It reminds me of Ramble On: The
autumn moon lights my way/For now I smell the rain
Leaves are falling all around, time I was on my way. I live in
the seasons. I live on the edge of the great industrial swirl of the
wondrous Black Country. But I can dive in there and enjoy the
greatest tribes of people on the planet or just head west. I can
actually meld, bit by bit, into what the physicality or the silence
or the bustle or the clutter offers me.

Town or country? Country is good, because theres nobody


else around. For me, that is quite important because theres a lot
of flurrying around for much of the time, so I really value the
singular moments I have. I was in Morocco just 48 hours ago, in
the Ourika Valley, in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. I took
With Buddy Miller and my little radio with me and found the local Berber radio station.
Emmylou at a Lampedusa
Concerts For Refugees, But there was nobody around, nobody, except for the birds and
Berklee, Boston, Oct 2016 the odd lizard. Then you walk through town and the farmers are
buying sheep to celebrate Ede. I came back, drove straight up to
the Black Country, and its all on again. [Drops into deep Black

I landed in St Louis, Country accent] All right, Robert? How you doin, mate? So, yes,
Im very, very lucky. My father taught me a lot. I have a lot of friends

Missouri at midnight who are immersed in the rural life and I learned a lot over the years.

I remember you telling me about your grandfathers


Ever restless, Plant fills us in on his recent involvement with the brass band. Youre from Dudley
extracurricular activities originally? Tipton and Dudley, basically. I had two cats when I first

I
n October 2016, Plant joined It was a semicircle of mostly got my current home, 26 years ago, and I called them Tipton and
a special 11-city Lampedusa acoustic songs performed by Dudley. They miaowed with a Black Country accent.
tour, which aimed to raise some great singers. Steve Earles
awareness about the global performances are incredible. We Growing up, were you aware of local traditional folk songs
refugee crisis. Im not making a were playing the Town Hall in new
political statement, said Plant at York and Joan Baez joined us. Id
like The Dudley Boys? Not really, though I used to play folk
the time. The organisation that is danced the two-step with her a clubs before I started singing. I played washboard and kazoo and
receiving these funds is a religious few times when we used to play harmonica from 1963 onwards. I remember Ian Campbell the father
one, but this is a totally secular Little Maggie on the last European of the UB40 lads and the Birmingham folk groups, but I didnt
mission. This appeal is trying to tour. Shes a real dynamo. really know anything about Black Country songs. I know where to go
help on the ground wherever it But it was fantastic to go from to find them. I keep bumping into Howlin Wolf.
can. The lineup also included playing, one night, no Place To
Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Go by Howlin Wolf with Juldeh
Buddy Miller and Patty Griffin. Camara, to singing back-up to This album opens with The May Queen. Youve always
I landed in St Louis, Missouri, Emmylou and then shed back me woven folklore into your songs. Where does that come from?
PauL MarOTTa/GETTY IMaGES

at midnight, says Plant. I was on Townes Van Zandts nothin. The perpetual cries of Britain; never ending. It comes from being
picked up by a strange bloke Sitting next to Emmylou, listening there. Im actually there. Im 25 miles from the Whiteleafed Oak,
in the nicest possible way to her, getting an idea and then which was the centre of a huge wheel of activity. The Guardian Of The
and woke up the next day in a joining in and dropping harmonies
soundcheck with Emmylou Harris, underneath stuff I wouldnt have
Whiteleafed Oak, shes very special. Do you know about the Perpetual
Steve Earle, the Milk Carton Kids dared to do before I went and did Choirs Of Britain? There are people who still walk the great lines,
and Buddy Miller. We played 11 the Raising Sand project. So I didnt singing. It carried on into the Christian times; its still around Malvern
dates for the Lampedusa tour. stop. I just changed cassette. now. Nine hundred years ago, the deal was when you passed a certain

66 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


mark on the track, another bunch of people would
carry on singing. So it never ended. It was intended to
maintain a spell of peace across the land; it enriched
everybodys lives. Do you know the Poly-Olbion? Its a
spectacular book. It talks about everywhere we live,
but it gives it a picture and colour that has been
eradicated with the tempo of life. Its a reference to each
county and each river and the goddesses of each river.
But Ive been lucky. Ive met people who are on the
same path: Do you know about this? Come with me,
let me show you. Two hours later, youre staring at
some amazing topographical site. Once upon a time, it
was part of the warp and weft of our great, great, great-
grandfathers lives. Now we just whizz around getting
tickets for going too fast on the freeway.

Did you see that story in the news today about a


seven-year old girl who found a sword in a lake
in Cornwall? I think the French took a lot of poetic
licence. They messed Arthur about too much. He was
fine the way he really was, in all of our spirits.

The tower block on the back of Led Zep IV is in


Dudley, isnt it? No, its in Winson Green. There were
two towers blocks in Dudley and John Bonham lived in
one of them. It looked just like that. He made the
mistake of buying a second-hand Rolls-Royce and The newly formed Led
Zeppelin lounge on John
parking it at the bottom of the council Bonhams Jaguar in
tower block, so every morning London, December 1968
he came down it had been
keyed and keyed and keyed. I Muddy Waters, a young Hound Dog Taylor,
said, Whats the odd thing out Otis Spann and Sister Rosetta Tharp, they
in the whole of Dudley? Its your all came through. Meanwhile, in bohemia,
pecking car! It was very funny. we were in the midst of the post-bebop
revolution. Bearded beatniks were
You touched briefly on wondering around reading Sartre and
Birminghams trad folk Albert Camus and listening to Roland Kirk,
scene. Im guessing it was Cannonball Adderley and A Love Supreme.
quite militant in its outlook: But it was also very selective and had its own
the old way is the right way. attitude and atmosphere. People would sit
You were always against that, outside the fountain by Birmingham Town Hall the whole weekend
werent you? I believe that music with their sleeping bags rolled up but a lot of them would go
grows and ebbs and flows all the home about seven oclock at night. Weekend beatniks. There
time. Its such a difficult thing or a were the beginnings of British rocknroll, too. As a 14, 15-year-old
ridiculous thing to attempt to kid, seeing Sleepy John Estes with Hammy Nixon was one of the
classify music. But the songs the most amazing moments of my life.
miners sang and the songs of the bargees
making their way through the Black Who else did you see? I remember being in a toilet in
Country, lying on the top of the barge as Birmingham Town Hall and Sonny Boy Williamson came in to
they leg it through the tunnels, being take a leak. He had his grey and purple harlequin suit on, his
pulled by a horse, its all very well and all bowler hat and his umbrella and his briefcase. He was a very
DICK BarnaTT/rEDfErnS; MICHaEL OCHS arCHIVES/GETTY IMaGES; DaVID rEED/rEDfErnS

very nice. But its as much folk music to tall guy, much taller than me. I said, Mr Williamson, all my life,
me as Talk Talk, The Colour Of Spring. ever since I heard you play, Ive been practising my harmonica
Traffic, Mr Fantasy. No Face, No Name, playing. Can I get your autograph? He looked at me, shook his
No Number is as magical as you could manhood and said, Fuck off, son. I said, Thank you. I knew
ever imagine. Let England Shake is exactly where I stood in the great hall of musical legends,
todays folk music. Its not a dead art. Its because he was absolutely right. Fuck off, Planty. Who the fuck
got a long life expectancy. are you? I saw these amazing characters come
through who were dazzled by the attention that they
What was the music scene like that got. Manchester Free Trade Hall, you could hear a pin
you entered in the early 60s? It was drop. So if I move to 1995, 96, Ive taken Jimmy to
very alluring. There was so much to Morocco to do No Quarter. We belched out of the plane
learn. There was literature, jazz, the in Marrakesh with managers and cameramen and a
unaccompanied folk singer singing Heave need to get on with it that just didnt work there. We
and weigh Santiana, and some off-duty started off with local musicians. But they had to go to
policeman from Ireland who would give you a wedding Well see you another time! So by the
a refrain. I remember when Lippmann and time we did get something together it was with
Sonny Boy
Rau, the two German promoters, bought over Williamson musicians who were pro and quite organised. But they
Sonny Boy Williamson, Howlin Wolf, Skip (above) and said to me later, We cant understand the British
Sleepy John
James and Son House, Bukka White and Estes (right) with audience. Our music in Egypt is a music of celebration.
Ransom Knowling, all those people, a young Hammy Nixon Same with Sonny Boy Williamson, same with Bukka

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 67


Plant in
2017: Im Rose. Hed run away and left me. We went to see him play in some
furtive and club up Haverstock Hill and tried to lure him into rehearsals. He was
out and
about having none of it. Pat told him he could never play with me again,
because it was a losing game. He said, You cant be serious! I cant
come and work with you. Ill be divorced! I said, Is that good or
bad? But when we started playing, it was the place we needed to be
at that time in our lives. The interplay between the four of us quickly
became quite extraordinary.

Youre on the latest Fairport Convention album. Earlier this


year, Dave Pegg told me about a jam between the Fairports
and Zeppelin at the Troubadour in 1970. What do you recall
about that? I think we were playing Eddie Cochran songs. That
was quite something to see Dave Swarbrick playing a fiddle solo on
Summertime Blues. It was only shortly before that that Fairport
were more or less a psychedelic rock band, with Time Will Show The
Wiser. Richard [Thompson] was still with them then. Hes probably
one my top favourite guitarists of all time. His playing then he could
have been in the Airplane or Big Brother And The Holding Company.

The missing link between West Coast psychedelia and 60s


English folk-rock? Definitely. But Mike Herons stuff was more so
Smiling Men With Bad Reputations. Because the thing that The
Incredible String Band didnt have, didnt need, would have been
cursed by, was regular rhythm and timing. Everything else we
discuss is based on some kind of groove. The natural cards revolve
ever changing, you see? Thats what they said, and they were right.
But Swarbrick crazy, wonderful man. Sandy and I
its funny really. If wed had the time, we could have
sung and done some great stuff together. With my
memories of obscure early black R&B, with her voice,
White. All these artists were bemused by the its like with Alison Krauss getting her to sing Rich
European response to their music. These earthy Woman, shes got to get into that pocket. Sandy would
musical forms had become intellectualised. have been great in those places.

What did you make of London in the mid- Bron-Yr-Aur, Headley Grange youve always
60s? Me and Bonzo used to come down here and responded to open spaces, close to the land,
hover. Stay round the corner here at what was the havent you? Bron-Yr-Aur was an experiment. It was
Holiday Inn. We went to the clubs and danced. just two guys who travelled a lot and we wanted to
Wed stay up for hours upon hours upon hours pluck the difficult third album. We were already on
until everything ran out. Then on Thursday, wed the way with Ramble On and What Is And What
go to bed. I dont know much about London, Should Never Be. We knew we could move on from
really. I didnt know much about it then; dont Babe Im Gonna Leave You, Your Time Is Gonna
know much about it now. Ive seen so many trends Come, into another place. But what was that other
and fads and centres of energy come and go, Im place? So the idea of going to Bron-Yr-Aur was to strip
better sitting on a hill watching it from a distance. away everything, including the electric light, and see
I had a better time in Dolgellau or Shrewsbury. if we had anything. We pulled out some good ideas
Plant with and they went on to be developed more and they became a part of Led
What were your first impressions of Jim? I first met him when he Sandy Zeppelin III, which is a very important record. It combined Out On
Denny in
and Chris Dreja and Peter Grant came up to have a look at me, to give 1970 and The Tiles and Immigrant Song with Thats The Way and Hats
me a once over. I was playing at a teacher training college in (below) Off To Harper and all that stuff. All that stuff Ha!
with John
MADS PeRCh; JON LYONS/ReX/ShuTTeRSTOCk; RON hOWARD/ReDFeRNS/GeTTY IMAGeS

Birmingham. There was definitely a difference between us all. They Bonham in


thought I was a roadie. The Yardbirds was a name not to be sneezed The Band What was the significance of Headley Grange? It was only a
Of Joy in
at; still isnt a name to be sneezed at. There wasnt the whole furore London, year or so on, but we were more mature and operating as a four-piece.
about the three great guitarists in those days Clapton, Page and 1968 Everyone brought stuff. Some of Jimmys guitar parts were virtually
Beck but they were a working band. They had far complete. John Paul as well. Bonzo and I would glue
more presence in America than here. Later, Jimmy stuff on. Headley Grange had two proper mobiles the
told me they used to travel with the Dick Clark Stones and Ronnie Lanes so stuff could be committed
Roadshow on the bus with the Shirelles, Gary to tape in a more or less complete performance to be
Puckett & The Union Gap. So he was coming from mixed later on. There were the impromptu moments,
a place where he already had the code. He was like Trampled Underfoot, where you could actually
eloquent. He knew more about some things, I create something on the scene. There was a lot of
know more about other things, but musically we spontaneity as there is now, with what I do. But
were running virtually in parallel. We knew Headley Grange was kind of tough, really. We tried
about Bert Jansch, Davy Graham, Sandy Bull, it a few times over the years, at Rockfield and other
John Fahey. All that great guitar that had come in residential studios. You expend so much emotion and
some cases from North Africa and in some cases creativity, its like a marathon. Then everybodys
from Creole and Georgia Sea Islands sources. capacity for drawing a day to a close is a little bit different.
It wasnt unusual to hear Bonzo playing Wild Thing on
Where was Bonzo in all this? Bonzo wasnt the guitar at four in the morning and me shouting down
around at the time he was playing with Jim the stairs, For Gods sake! Isnt it time now? I cant sleep!

68 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


robert plant
When was that? 1983? So I was 34. If someone says, Youre in the
wrong place, my son... Well, I was in the wrong place. But I was
looking for glory! How can you have reckless love without glory?
They say, where I come from, Youve got to dip your bread.

What does an average day entail for you, when youre at


home? When you have the measure of an entire place, you know
every nook and cranny. If you have a garden, you probably know
where the toads pass. I know exactly the course of hedgehogs and
toads. Im not in The Incredible String Band, but I know what the
fuck is going on around me. In a way, its a set piece. I know my
environment, so Im always looking over the wall. This thing about
me and the restless spirit. I have a friend in America, she tells me I
have a homeopathic condition which means I never stop. I said, Oh,
thats a blessing! She thought I needed help, you see. I think I just
need more fuel, really. The day? Im furtive and out and about. I used
Tell me about India. That was, what, 1972? No, no, no. It was September to read those interviews in the back of the Sunday supplements about
before that. We went three times, Jimmy and I. Probably about 71. He 21, 2012: a writers day. Get up, have coffee. Read The Times. Check the Today
John Paul
knows. Theres some bootlegs of Friends and Four Sticks, so that Jones, Plant programme. 9am, if its not Melvyn Bragg then Im going to read.
was 72. But wed been there already before that. We played in a club and Page at Then Ill pass wind, have some poached eggs and write a classic.
the launch of
with me on the drums and Jimmy playing guitar. I sang Whole Lotta Celebration I dont know about that.
Love while playing the drums. There are people in India whove got Day, the DVD
of their 2007
really remarkable positions now in the country who tell me about reunion gig It gives their day a focus, I guess. Yeah, but that means, when you
that gig. Come on, that was bloody awful! Thats not a milestone. get to 2pm, you have to turn it on. I just carry a book everywhere I go.
Thats a millstone. This is the new one. [Plant pulls a navy-blue A5 notebook from his bag
and reads from a page] Here it says, Clarence Ashley
Talking of Jimmy Page, when did you last speak banjo tunings. And here it says, Its never ending
to him? Ten days ago. I spoke to John Paul Jones at and it hasnt even started yet.
that very same moment! I do five-- How about that! Yeah. Keeping up with yourself.
Dont leave us in suspense No, dont be silly!
Youre kidding, arent you? Johns getting ready to get
a-side on Were talking about a new record and a new tour
with the most stunning group of musicians and
his opera out.
Wednesday, brothers that I could wish for. Keeping up with
oneself creatively is a tall order. I do five-a-side on
Do you ever worry about your own mortality?
Yeah I do. Well, not worry. Im not asking anybody to
tennis three a Wednesday night and tennis three times a week.
Theres no room for fillers in any way, ever, in the
get into the groove of what we do, we just do it. And of
course Im gonna talk it up, but with self-respect,
times a week whole of your being. Otherwise do the meals-on-
wheels run. Work for Toc H. Seriously. Why not? Its
because Im never going to be everybodys favourite. not over yet.
I dont do it in the way everybody would probably like.
But does it matter if anybody likes what I do, so long as I do and the Carry Fire is available now on Nonesuch
guys, we like what we do? We cant curry favour beyond where its at.
over A track-by-track guide to this months CD, compiled
I saw you on an episode of TOTP2 recently, performing tHe by Robert Plant And The Sensational Space Shifters
Big Log. How do you view that period of your career now?
paGe

location, location

House Of The Holy


Inside Headley Grange

T
he headley house The heating didnt work. IV famously, Plant eddeys Lane to stock up onto our Nakamichi
Of Industry, nestling But it had one major reportedly wrote the on cider. Other bands cassette player.
in a remote corner advantage. Other bands lyrics to Stairway To who stayed there include The area had strong
of hampshire, was built had rehearsed there and heaven in one evening Bad Company, The Pretty music links: Richard
in 1795 as a poorhouse. It hadnt had any complaints. there. When not working, Things, elvis Costello and Bransons family came
was turned into a private Thats a major issue, the band would venture to Genesis, who recorded from nearby Wishanger,
residence in 1870 and by because you dont want the corner shop on nearby The Lamb Lies Down while in 1970, Fleetwood
the 1960s had become to go somewhere On Broadway Mac lived at Benifold on
a hostel for students and start locking there in 1974. nearby headley hill Road;
from Farnham School into the work Remembers Mick Jaggers Stargroves
Of Art. eventually record process and then Phil Collins, We home was only an hour
companies heard that have to pull out. were in the living across the county in east
headley Grange was The house also room, and there Woodhay. Page revisited
DAve J hOGAN/GeTTY IMAGeS

available to rent and it came with a was another headley Grange for part
became a residential base labrador Sinbad room along the of the 2008 documentary
for bands to profitably get immortalised in hall where Peter It Might Get Loud. Such
it together in the country. Zeppelins Black had a piano, is the weight contained
Led Zeppelin arrived in Dog. While in and thats where in its bricks and mortar,
1970. headley Grange residence, the he worked a lot. an American blues-rock
was somewhat rundown, band recorded Wed improvise band took their name
Page told Uncut in 2009. Led Zeppelin and record from headley Grange.

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 69


robert plant

Golden
Gods compiled by
robert plant
& the sensationa l
s pac e s h i f t e r s
1 Buddy & Julie 4 Bada seck
Miller (with Nguewel
roBert Plant) Chosen by Dave Smith
What You Gonna Do Leroy One of the few tracks available here
Chosen by Robert Plant by the Senegalese percussionist,
Our CD kicks off with this bawdy Nguewel first appeared on the
roots-rocker from the Nashville- 1999 compilation Streets Of Dakar:
based husband-and-wife duo, Generation Boul Fal. Its frantic,
featuring a cameo from Percy almost waltzing passion is at odds
himself. Taken from 2009s Written with the meaning of the Senegalese
In Chalk, the second and most recent street slang, boul fal: never mind.
album by the duo, the song was 6 nick harPer junkyard percussion, distorted
penned by veteran country writer 5 Patty Griffin A Hundred Things vocals and amplified likembs
Mel Tillis. 250,000 Miles Chosen by Skin Tyson (thumb pianos), their grooves are
Chosen by Robert Plant Although not chosen by Plant relentlessly savage and thrilling.
This ominous, wonderfully poised himself, theres a link going back
slice of Americana is taken from decades here, Nick of course being
Griffins most recent album, 2015s the son of Roy Harper, acoustic
Servant Of Love. The Maine-born maven and Zeppelin touring mate.
singer-songwriter collaborated with Harper Jr has inherited his fathers
vocal prowess and is arguably an
even more impressive guitarist,
Bert using undersea-cable strings as low
Jansch as a baritone guitar, demonstrated AA
on this track from his 1994 EP, Light Bondy
At The End Of The Kennel.
2 Bert Jansch
Go Your Way 7 thee oh sees 9 aa Bondy
My Love Patty The Axis American Hearts
Chosen by Robert Plant Griffin Chosen by Billy Fuller Chosen by Robert Plant
Co-written with folk enigma The final track on John Dwyers The first album by Scott Bondy,
Anne Briggs, Go Your Way My 17th album with Thee Oh Sees, 2007s American Hearts, was
Love first appeared on Janschs Plant on the latters 2010 Band Of Joy, 2016s A Weird Exits, is a six-minute, recorded in rural seclusion in New
fourth album, Nicola. The full and the pair lived together in Austin prog-punk epic. Over stately, Floyd- York states Catskills; this cut, the
record is a strange mix of for a few years after like drums, Dwyer mans a giant, plaintive title track, captures a
stripped-down folk and syrupy that, working churning organ of course, as vintage folk sound that wouldnt
orchestrations, but this pensive together again the song nears its conclusion, have sounded out of place in the
lost gem finds Jansch alone with, on Griffins he returns to guitar and coffeehouses of Greenwich Village
unusually, a 12-string guitar. American sabotages the splendour 45 years before. If your God
Kid (2013). with perhaps the wildest makes war/Then hes no God I
3 daniel lanois/ noise solo of recent years. know/Cause Christ would not send
rocco deluca boys to die, Bondy sings.
Satie 8 konono no 1
Chosen by Robert Plant Lufuala Ndonga 10 aBiGail washBurn
If all-round polymath Lanois Chosen by Justin Bring Me My Queen
has an instrument, its surely Adams Chosen by Robert Plant
the pedal steel, which he This propulsive, nine- We close the CD with a 2011 track
cd cover photo: dick Barnatt/redferns

showcased so deftly on Brian and-a-half-minute from one of Americas finest


this page: mads perch; david mcclister

Enos Apollo: Atmospheres And juggernaut is the banjo players, who also records
Soundtracks. On this track, opener of the proper with her husband Bla Fleck,
taken from last years Goodbye debut album, another banjo virtuoso. Mixing her
To Language, he and Rocco Congrotronics, by instrument with piano, subtle
Deluca take the instrument far this many-headed drones and yearning harmonies,
from its usual country setting; group from Kinshasa, the result combines the best of
sure, it swoops and warps, but capital of the classic Americana songwriting
the result is otherworldly and Democratic Republic with the textures of ambient or
supremely atmospheric. Of The Congo. Using modern classical.

70 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


Expertly curated by the Uncut magazine team,
and illustrated with hundreds of rarely seen
photographs, History of Rock in the 1970s is an
essential collection of interviews and classic album
reviews harvested from the archives of NME and
Maker Covering the music and how it was
Melody Maker.
made, as well as the people behind it and what
made them, History of Rock in the 1970s is the
ultimate guide to an era of glamour, excess and
monstrous rock bands.

1972

Well show
Marc Bolan
a few tricks
The FACES continue their American campaign,
with an eye on the state of things back home.
Their unrehearsed approach continues to
yield results.

A
NG ON. ILL WAKE UP in a minute, says Ian McLagan for
the fourth time. Its 3.30 in the afternoon and Macs struggling
through an interview. As a rule, hes something of a talker, but right
now hes only been out of bed half an hour and his minds a little
foggy.
The night before, the Faces had been down at the studios, doing
nothing in particular, just trying out a few possible ideas for their
next album. In fact, it isnt due to be recorded until after the bands
next American tour, when theyll get down to making the finished
product in Los Angeles. But still McLagan thinks working on odd bits
and pieces is a valuable exercise.
Now though, this afternoon, his eyes spell hangover in big
letters. He blinks out of the kitchen door at the bright sunshine,
makes some coffee, takes some pills of a mildly rejuvenating nature
and tries to think clearly. We stick to fairly simple stuff.
The thing is, weve never rehearsed for recordings before, never
even considered it, he says, talking of the recent sessions in the Rod Stewart posing for a portrait
studios. Its bad really, cos when you think of it theyre more during a recording session for his
album Never A Dull Moment:
important than gigs, because theyre going to be confronting your May 15, 1972, Miami, Florida
ears the whole time. We thought wed go down to the studios with

102

1975 led zeppelin

ALBUM

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NO OTHER TOP BAND in the world gets This is not just a collection of great tracks, but a perfectly balanced
as much stick as Led Zeppelin. Every time selection of music that weighs heavy rock with acoustic, ballad with
they bring out an album theres six months out-and-out rocker, in such a way that you can play the album non-
of carping because its not full of remakes stop day and night without ever needing to pause for a bit of peace.

Save
of Whole Lotta Love; followed by another And for one of the worlds heaviest bands, thats some achievement.
six months of moaning because they Physical Graffiti has not just been worth the wait; it had to take
havent played any live dates; finishing up a long time to produce music of this calibre. Unlike so many bands
with six months of complaints about the today, who hurl out albums like they were Frisbees in Hyde Park,
time its taken them to make the new one. Led Zep can be bothered to take the time and trouble to make this
Not this time, though, I suspect. By allowing themselves the luxury one even better than the last one.
of a double album, theyve managed to cram in a bit of everything and They are, if you like, one of the few progressive bands left you
in enough quantity to keep that vocal minority of moaners at bay. remember them, the groups who were always going to move forward
For once they will have to admit that the wait since Houses Of The and keep exploring new avenues. Zeppelin have, and still are, doing
Holy has been worthwhile; some may even be moved enough to just that. They established their base with heavy blues-rock on Led
recognise Physical Graffiti for what it is: a superbly performed mixture Zeppelin I, and have constantly sought to build on that, investigating
of styles and influences that encompasses not only all aspects of Led new fields, from the folky Battle Of Evermore to the reggae-
Zeps recording career so far, but also much of rock as a whole. influenced DYer Maker. Now theyve taken electronic space rock

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Led Zeppelin in full flight at a Madison
Square Garden gig during a 1975 tour

183

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king gizzard & the lizard wizard

IN THE COURT
Burak Cingi/redferns

Cook Craig, Eric Moore,


Stu Mackenzie and Michael
Cavanaugh of King Gizzard &
The Lizard Wizard, live on Day
2 of Reading Festival, 2016

72 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


OF THE
GIZZARD KINGS h a manic workrate.
Seven psychedelic Australians witoos. A rapidly expanding
An army of fans with alligator tatt prog-psych Game Of
catalogue of albums regarded as a THE LIZARD WIZARD!
Thrones Meet KING GIZZARD & garage-rocks biggest
JASON ANDERSON joins up with l they keep their insane
new cult in Nashville and asks: wil 2017?
promise of releasing five albums in

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 73


king Gizzard
in 2017: a weird
experiment

HE bandmates only travel about 30 feet from the Lizard and Mackenzies arguably dafter choice of Gizzard Gizzard.
door of the venue before theyre spotted. Then Yet what started as a joke definitely isnt one now. Later that night in
again, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are the sold-out Cannery Ballroom, a sweaty 1,000-strong throng of
not the most inconspicuous bunch. Here on a Gizzheads mosh to the sound of Mackenzies apocalyptic sci-fi
scorching September afternoon in Nashville, songs about cyborgs and altered beasts. An improbable but reliably
its hard to miss a mob of lanky, mid- thrilling stew of prog, surf, garage, Krautrock and psychedelia with
twentysomething, mostly long-haired Aussies in black the occasional detour into folk, jazz and Tropiclia, too the bands
shorts and Blundstones. They are eight in number seven musicians sonic barrage is powered by two drummers and delivered with
plus Jason Galea, the friend responsible for the bands artwork, enough gusto to supply several more bands of comparable girth.
videos and trippy live projections. The whirlwind of activity they whip up onstage is matched by
Two fans call out and come over. We drove 11 hours to see you! their frenzied release schedule. Since 2012, theyve put out 10
says one clutching an empty bottle of bleach for reasons unknown. extraordinary (and extraordinarily diverse) albums. Of the five that
Hes thrilled to show the band a new addition to his pale forearm: a were promised for 2017, three are already out. Even if they miss the
freshly inked illustration of a green gator. The musicians convey their self-imposed deadline for the last two and time is running short
approval without inspecting it too closely. The creature first appeared theyve already provided a ludicrous overabundance of stoner-
in Galeas sleeve and animated video for The River, a single off the motorik magnificence.
bands 2015 LP Quarters. Though it migrated into a few T-shirt designs, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are such an unlikely proposition
no-one in the Gizzard camp gave it much thought until fans started on so many counts, it seems oddly plausible for them to be
showing off their badges of allegiance at Bonnaroo a few months on. conquering America, too. Audience sizes swell with every visit and
Since then, thereve been hundreds, says Galea in disbelief. new releases score high on Billboards vinyl and independent charts.
King Gizzards 26-year-old singer, guitarist, flautist and Its really exciting whats happening with the band, says Jon Salter,
ringleader Stu Mackenzie confesses that being the object of who signed them to their American label ATO after his own
such devotion has been kinda overwhelming. He remembers the conversion experience at Bonnaroo in 2015. They have this army
words that came to mind when he saw his first flesh gator: Damn
youre gonna regret that.
Such tributes are just another absurd development in a history
studded with them. Gradually, and largely by happenstance, a band
formed as an anarchic extracurricular for young friends otherwise
We wanted to put
busy in other bands in Melbourne in 2010 has become one of the
most obsession-worthy groups on the planet. None of that was
together a band where
supposed to happen, Mackenzie explains. This was just the
weird experiment, just us fucking around. The group didnt even
no-one had to practise
get a decent name. Instead, they got stuck with a last-minute sTU MaCkENziE
compromise between someones Doors-inspired suggestion of King

74 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


king gizzard & the lizard wizard
thats mobilising and spreading one kid leaves the show freaking how to buy...
out then he tells 10 of his friends and they come back every time.
Not only are they so good, but they just make so much stuff, says
Courtney Barnett, a friend of the band since their paths intersected in
Melbourne seven years ago. Theyre a great example of getting on
King Gizzard &
with it, just doing it and not caring about what people say thats
really inspiring. The Lizard Wizard
Says Mackenzie, We definitely did have advice from people whod FloaT aloNG sunny psych-pop with a sometimes
tell us, If youre gonna tour, would you consider downsizing the - Fill YoUR manic edge, this flute-heavy set
group itll be a lot cheaper. Or why dont you just cut some material lUNGs belongs in the mellower end of the
FliGhTlEss, 2013 Gizzard canon alongside 2015s
out and just make one record instead of three? But weve just being
after one album Quarters and this years Brazilian-
driven by whatever we thought was the most fun thing to do. flavoured Sketches Of Brunswick
of gloriously messy garage rock
Nevertheless, strangeness abounds here at the centre of the Gizzard and another of western-inspired East. 8/10
universe, a realm thats rapidly expanding both in terms of its weirdness, the band launch into the
audiovisual splendours and its population of acolytes. At times, stratosphere with head on/Pill, NoNaGoN
Mackenzie cant help but feel perplexed. Four out of the 10 people I a shotgun blast of psych, nEU! and iNFiNiTY
talked to after the show last night in Chicago were Phish fans, he ac/Dc. 7/10 FliGhTlEss, 2016

says. I dont know what that means. a typically


iM iN YoUR cockamamie

O
MiND FUzz Gizzard scheme to arrange nine
NLY an hours drive away from the Bonnaroo site, Nashvilles FliGhTlEss, 2014 songs into an infinite loop yields
become a major Gizzard hotspot. Last year, the band sold out the fifth outing is one of the decades most
the Mercy Lounge, the smaller of the two clubs in a renovated the bands heaviest exhilarating albums. singles
red-brick flour mill just south of Nashvilles gleaming downtown. thus far both in terms of the Gamma Knife and People-
(Third Man Records is on the next block.) The fact that the band sold songs thunderous force and the Vultures hurtle along
conceptual bent of mackenzies like hawkwind in hyperdrive.
out the larger Cannery Ballroom indicates Nashvilles ongoing shift lyrics, which depict a malevolent 9/10
toward wilder sounds than the kind that made it famous. As a club force out to control your brain.
staffer tells Uncut in a Tennessee twang, Psychedelic bands always Driven by Kenny-smiths harmonica MURDER oF
sell out here and metal bands. The country ones dont. and a ruthless rhythm section, the ThE UNivERsE
Having arrived after an overnight drive from Chicago its the first four-song suite off the top previews FliGhTlEss, 2017

time theyve rented a sleeper bus the bandmates have time to idle the insanity of Nonagon Infinity. the most avidly
8/10 bonkers of Gizzards
along the 8th Avenue strip of restaurants, bars and shops near the 2017 output, this concept album
venue. At a stop in the Nashville Boot Co, drummer and manager Eric PaPiER MCh sets mackenzies doomy fantasies
Moore reels at the pungent aroma of rawhide while fellow drummer DREaM of mutated beasts, electric wizards
Michael Cavs Cavanaugh ponders the purchase of a new Stetson BallooN and confused cyborgs to another
hat. Further down the block in Carter Vintage Guitars, Mackenzie is FliGhTlEss, 2015 onslaught of high-velocity space
excited to spot a six-string version of the Hagstrom 12 thats one of the full of irresistibly rock. 8/10
two guitars he uses on this tour. (The second is the custom-made
yellow guitar whose nickname inspired the title of Flying
Microtonal Banana, the first of this years Gizzard albums.) out and making music together when the reality is that most
A group discussion ensures over whether a coveted pedal of them cant afford to leave or go too far for very long!
should be bought for Gizzard or The Murlocs the garage- For the Gizzard crew, an early high/low point arrived
R&B act thats another creative outlet for keyboard and during an ill-advised dinner-hour gig before a particularly
harmonica player Ambrose Kenny-Smith and guitarist unappreciative audience. Id broken five out of my six
Cook Craig. It is brought to an abrupt end when a silver- guitar strings, which just seems so impossible, says
haired senior in a green golf shirt picks up a guitar and Mackenzie. We got a few boos when we ended the show.
plays the intro of There She Goes note-perfect . Mackenzie
Then this guy came up to the stage. I thought, Cool, this
The quest for vegan fare leads the mob to a roomy caf with his guy is actually going to give us some encouraging feedback
bar. Over grilled cheese sandwiches and salads, they custom thats nice! And he said, That was the worst show Ive
banana-
reminisce about the various teenage combos and cover yellow ever seen. You guys will never play a stadium.
bands they formed with each other growing up in Geelong guitar Walker laughs. We probably wont still!
and Torquay, two towns near Melbourne. After I never even envisioned us playing a stadium, says
they all met up in university in Melbourne Mackenzie. But he did spur us on without knowing it.
(guitarist Joey Walker is the only big-city lad), In fact, Mackenzies haphazard operation was soon
more blues, garage and psych groups followed. It developing ideas beyond its initially humble station.
was out of the ensuing gigs, parties and shared Though the first EPs and 2012s full-length debut 12-Bar
houses that King Gizzard took shape. Bruise were steeped in the members shared love of big dumb
We wanted to put together a band where no-one garage rock, 2013s cult western audio book Eyes Like The Sky
had to practise, essentially, says Mackenzie. The previewed the conceptual scope of LPs to come. A bludgeoning
early music was so primal. Our first songs had a 15-minute epic from the same years Float Along Fill Your Lungs,
maximum five words, three chords, preferably Head On/Pill cemented the admittedly bizarre but
Emma mcIntyrE/GEtty ImaGEs for coachElla

one then play it as loud as you can. devastatingly effective double-drummer lineup.
Singer-songwriter Fraser A Gorman, who In another leap forward in 2014, they won an AU$50,000
played in a high school band in Geelong with music grant and used it to finance their first trip to America.
Craig and Mackenzie, tells Uncut it was standard When not attracting buzz in Brooklyn and recording part of
practice for his peers to have 5 to 10 bands on the 2015s Papier Mch Dream Balloon at Daptone Studios, they
go. There isnt the same vast touring opportunities holed up in a cabin in upstate New York, where Mackenzie
that are available in America or Europe, he notes. deftly avoided getting eaten by a bear.
So musicians from Australia and New Zealand seem Yet they really caught fire on last years Nonagon Infinity, a
to congregate in Melbourneand stick together and collection of full-throttle space-rockers that are ingeniously
create a community. From the outside looking in, it and maddeningly constructed as an infinite loop. That
seems like a giant pool of great musicians just hanging record was hard to make in a lot of ways, says Mackenzie.

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 75


king gizzard & the lizard wizard

B
Were happy with how it turned out, but it kind of ACK in the parking lot of the Cannery Ballroom, band
made me go insane. Reflecting the songs fantastical and crew members set up inside while Mackenzie
characters and settings, the videos for Gamma chats with Uncut in the bus. As Mackenzie sits cross-
Knife and People-Vultures enhanced the musics legged on the black vinyl sofa, a grinning Elton John looms
crackpot appeal with no-budget homages to over his shoulder, a poster for Wonderful Crazy Night having
Alejandro Jodorowsky and Japanese tokusatu. After become a Gizzard fixation. (He looks like hes having the best
two years of relentless recording and touring, they time.) Like his mates, Mackenzie is the epitome of chill when
planned to have a breather. As usual, things didnt not thrashing around onstage. At the same time, he exudes a
turn out that way. Says McKenzie, I was like, certain clarity of purpose. He got serious about music at the
Damn, weve got so many good ideas weve got to age of 16 in the wake of a serious knee injury playing Aussie
keep doing stuff. So thats where the idea of making rules football. I was home from school and couldnt walk
five albums came from. for weeks, he says. Basically all I did was play guitar I
You said four originally, adds Moore, who runs really hadnt practiced before at all. But that was it for me.
the bands label Flightless out of the same Melbourne At high school in Geelong, he connected with other
warehouse that houses their studio. Why did you youngsters who shared his interests. Indeed, the social
then say five? opportunities created by music have long been a major
I was just taking the piss out of myself, Mackenzie motivator. Even for a lot of the more introverted musicians,
admits, sparking a round of laughter. its still a way for them to communicate with other people,
A deep dive into Mackenzies love of Turkish psych- he says. When Im making music by myself for days, Im
rocker Erkin Koray and non-Western modes, always thinking, I cant wait to show someone this.
Flying Microtonal Banana arrived in February. Though King Gizzard became his primary creative outlet,
Then came Murder Of The Universe, a heavy-duty its been just as valuable as a means for hanging with pals
triptych of tales with narration by their friend and travelling overseas. Their eagerness to roam led to a growing
Leah Senior and a computer text-to-speech roster of new friends outside Melbourne, including the Oh Sees
program, in June. A mellower set of John Dwyer, who released Im In Your Mind Fuzz and Quarters on
collaborations with the American band Mild his Castle Face label. In 2015, they co-headlined an Australian
High Club, Sketches Of Brunswick East came out tour with mask-wearing Swedish band Goat, who became another
in August. As for the rest, well. ally in this global wave of boundary-busting psych acts. One Goat
number four is not finished yet, says member (identity withheld as per the bands preference for
Mackenzie. Its coming along, but it needs anonymity) tells Uncut they werent familiar with their hosts
another month. We might not get the fifth before arriving on their turf. The first night in Melbourne, they
finished. I hope we will but well see. started the show and blew my mind, he says. I was so
Moore says theyve been discussing a backup impressed I started to regret wed gone all the way to Australia!
AnDrew BenGe/reDfernS VIA GeTTy IMAGeS

scenario. Maybe itll be the very last minute of Since 2015, King Gizzard have also helped galvanise a new
the year and well put it out on Bandcamp. generation of psych- and fuzz-loving Australian bands with an
It might come to that, says Mackenzie annual festival, Gizzfest. That said, Mackenzie was wary of
sheepishly. Theyll likely be forgiven if they miss getting tagged with the p-word. In the past, I was like, Ah,
the deadline. For Gorman, King Gizzards discipline thats annoying, since were not necessarily a psych band, he
and creativity all demonstrate another advantage says. But I guess when you have made music thats pretty
that Australian bands derive from their isolation, psychedelic, thats fair. And were a band thats hard to label.
which is that you need to be really fucking good to Even that rather elastic category seems too confining for
make the world notice. As he says, You gotta try King Gizzard. Variously likening his young charges to the
hard when you live in the middle of nowhere. Allmans, Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart, ATOs Jon
Salter hears the blues in there, too.
Theres not a lot of guys who are doing
Stu Mackenzie
crowd-surfing that sound with such a blues strain in it,
at the Scala in he says. It feels like such an infusion.
2015
They venture further than many peers
in conceptual terms as well. With its
stories of an entity that shoots lightning
from its fingertips and a cyborg who
longs for the ability to vomit, Murder Of
The Universe belongs in a whole other
dimension. Mackenzie considers the
album to be a full expression of his
inner sci-fi geek, with lyrics that
reflect his taste for the macabre and love
for fantasy, horror and sci-fi lit (hes
currently working through Stephen
Kings The Stand). Ive never been
super-interested in writing songs that I
feel already exist, he explains. Its
tempting to write songs about your own
experiences as its always to a degree
unique. But Im not going to write heaps
of love songs because I just feel like: a)
someone could probably do em better,
and b) no-one cares about my own shit.
And as these sinister images and
characters recur on different albums
(along with various musical motifs),

76 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


And if anyone does piss you off, he adds, you can not talk to
them for 24 hours pretty easily you couldnt do that in a two-piece.

I
n the hours before the nashville set, Mackenzie tests his skills as
band director trying to execute yet another idea that seemed fun
at the time, but proves only slightly less challenging than the
whole five-albums-in-one-year thing. Thats removing the usual gap
between sets by having Gizzard join Mild High Club for an onstage
switchover in the middle of the opening acts last song.
no-one seems convinced its possible until it happens. The ensuing
performance has more curveballs. Whereas Gizzard sets from earlier
this year bounded along at breakneck velocity, theres more shifting
of gears tonight as the berserker mode of Nonagon Infinitys People-
King Gizzard
at Coachella, Vultures and Flying Microtonal Bananas Rattlesnake gives way
April 14, 2017 to the more relaxed likes of Quarters Lonely Steel Sheet Flyer and
new songs from Sketches Of Brunswick East. Conceivably, there
theres a growing impression what the band is could be two stripes of Gizzheads emerging, with some becoming
creating its own multi-verse. Judging by the just as rabid about the mellower songs. You notice it at the shows,
loonier Reddit threads, many fans regard the says Moore. People who want to chill just hang at the back.
Gizzard oeuvre as a prog-psych equivalent to That the audience cares not a jot about King Gizzards continual
Game Of Thrones already. Theres a bit of that creative detours is one indication of the latitude theyve created. A
going on but its looser than what George RR lot of bands would be lambasted for that, says Walker. But for us,
Martin does, says a bemused Mackenzie. Hes its a defining factor.
chuffed to see fans hash out theories about the People are annoyed with us if we make two records in a row that
interconnecting narrative threads, though to him, are kinda similar, quips Mackenzie. We probably will have to do
the number one thing is making sure Im super that at some point!
happy with the music. In the meantime, its been heartening for their peers to see the
Hes also happier just trying to keep his mob Gizzard universe expand the way it has. Theyre such a great
together. Mackenzie calls himself the band band, says Courtney Barnett, And its been really reassuring to
director the one who finds a way to fuse together see there are people who care about good music.
his mates various ideas into a workable whole. I cant understand how they can be so productive, keep such
Thankfully, theyre a remarkably amiable and a high quality and tour constantly, says Goats spokesman.
affable crew. Though the musics gonzo excess may We hope they can keep it up and know when they need a rest!
cause one to expect a tribe of grizzled acidheads, And rest is what they get after the show as various Gizzard
they come off more like mild-mannered Dungeons & members enjoy an 80s Schwarzenegger movie with beers and
Dragons players, what with their lack of evident await an early morning departure to Atlanta. Outside in the

frAzer HArrISon/GeTTy IMAGeS for CoACHellA; DAnny CoHen


enthusiasm for the usual vices of a band on the road. parking lot, a few Gizzheads linger before dispersing into the
Mackenzie says it didnt used to be like that. It was night. Therell be no more chances to get records signed or show
like every single night was a party, he says of the off tattoos. Perhaps thats for the best given the musicians
earlier Gizzard jaunts, but you also have more worries about what they might be encouraging. A young girl
stamina for that when youre 21. recently asked two or three of us to sign her arm with a black
They while away most of their day in nashville marker, says Mackenzie. We saw her six months later and
eating ramen, playing pool, shooting darts and shed tattooed these huge signatures all over her forearm. Then
watching crap movies on the giant TV in the she said, Can I get the rest? We were all like, I dunno this
Cannery Ballrooms vast subterranean green room. feels very irresponsible. She was like, Please just do it! So we all
The only sign of intra-band rancour comes when signed and she got the rest tattooed on her arm.
Galea is mocked for his resemblance to a bearded He laughs. At least with the gator, Jase drew it and its a cool
homeless man they spot in Happy Gilmore. Says character. These were just our shitty signatures. I thought, Youll
Mackenzie, A band of seven could have a lot of interpersonal get it removed someday, but good on ya for enjoying it now!
dynamics and tensions. But I really like being in big band. We spend
so much time together, we all know how to look after each other. Sketches Of Brunswick East is out now on Heavenly Recordings

flyiNg lizards
Bird-brained:

The Gizzard Vs The Vulture


on the set of
the People-
Vultures
video
Near-death on a video shoot!

O
f the many ludicrous ideas in the career and 12 tiny wheels. The body was made of
of King Gizzard, all Gizzheads have a cardboard and coated in feathers. I had a
special love for the People-Vultures backpack on, strapped to the head so Im
video. To accompany this Hawkwind-at- holding the whole weight of it it was heavy!
hyperdrive highlight of Nonagon Infinity, Jason But it was when it all started moving downhill
Galea and co-director Danny Cohen mounted that Galea really became concerned. So Im
an elaborate parody of Japanese tokusatsu standing at the top of this platform, he says.
shows like Ultraman. A huge undertaking, And its, like, fucking high as this bus were
Galea says, and a big step up production-wise. sitting in. I cant really see anything through this
Said production involved inserting all seven vulture mouth and Im holding onto this frame
bandmembers inside a giant vulture creature thats bending, and were going down a hill on
that most definitely did not meet construction these tiny wheels. I was terrified I thought I
safety codes. It was pretty absurd, recalls was going to die in this thing But I also thought
Stu Mackenzie. That vulture had a pine frame it would have been a good way to go out.
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tom petty

fight
to be
free tom Petty | 1950-2017
A real musical hero, remembered by
STEPHEN DEUSNER and his admiring peers.
Plus: BUD SCOPPA recalls his long relationship
with the head Heartbreaker
I just like music done well, pretty much.
Photo by richard e aaron
RichaRd E. aaRon/REdfERns

80 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


Tom Petty
in New
York, 1976

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 81


tom petty
OM Petty made his finest album under months later she would be dead. Petty did not attend her funeral.
incredible duress. During the sessions for somehow, despite all these distractions, the Heartbreakers
1979s Damn The Torpedoes, he was suing managed to distil their sound down to its leanest, meanest elements.
shelter Records and his friend/mentor/ Damn The Torpedoes tightened up their attack, pushed their
producer Denny Cordell to secure a better strongest traits to the forefront, made fine use of Campbells guitar
contract and to obtain publishing rights to his own and Benmont tenchs organ. Refugee sharpened Pettys
songs. some days he was in the studio with the songwriting. Here Comes My Girl featured what are still some of
Heartbreakers, laying down vocal tracks; other his most soulful vocal performances. even the Losers gave the
days he was in the courtroom with his lawyers, band a rousing rocknroll anthem. And those are the first three
testifying to the conditions of his record deal. songs. Drawing from the energy of punk and the tautness of new
In a strategic measure, he and the other band wave, the album is streamlined, compact and succinct except for
members declared bankruptcy, as it was decided the the odd sound collages that preface one or two songs and that were
meagre proceeds from their previous two albums meant to recall the studio experiments of the Beatles. (One of which
1976s self-titled debut and 1977s Youre Gonna Get It! features Campbells wife Marcie remarking on the clothes dryer: Its
could not cover the expenses for their third. And it just the normal noises in here!)
wasnt far from the truth: Petty, his wife and their For years, the Heartbreakers had struggled to get anywhere in the
young daughter were living in a rented house in music business. their 1976 debut had been out more than a year and a
sherman Oaks, which was barely furnished, and half before Breakdown finally invaded the top 40; American Girl
he had only just traded in his old jalopy Opel Gt for would have been a follow-up single if they didnt have a new LP lined
a brand-new Camaro. As sessions for Damn The up. Gradually, the band had managed to build up some mystery and
Torpedoes were underway, producer Jimmy Iovine bought Petty therefore some hype in Los Angeles. Damn The Torpedoes was their
a new hi-fi stereo system, including turntable, speakers, and reel- breakout moment, giving the band their first top 10 single (Dont Do
to-reel, so he would have a way to play back his own recordings. Me Like that) and sending them on their first Us headlining tour.
Despite having a gold record and some buzz around Los Angeles, It stayed at No 2 on the albums chart for several weeks, blocked from
the Heartbreakers were on the verge of splintering. Drummer the top spot by Pink Floyds The Wall. After so much scrapping, the
stan Lynch was fired and rehired multiple times, and Donald albums success signalled a clear victory for the band.
Duck Dunn, of Booker t & the MGs fame, played on several

O
EBET RoBERTS/REDFERNS

tracks in the absence of the bands full-time bassist, Ron Blair. N October 2, 2017, tom Petty was found at his Malibu home
After 70 takes of Refugee, guitarist and co-songwriter Mike in full cardiac arrest. He was rushed to UCLA santa Monica
Campbell walked out of the sessions. On the other side of the Hospital, where doctors detected a pulse but no brain activity.
country, back in his hometown of Gainesville, Florida, Pettys When doctors took him off life support, they did not expect him to live
mother Kitty, sickly for most of his life, had taken a turn for long. As fans began to mourn on social media, posting tributes and
the worse. He would visit her once while on tour, and three memorials, Petty clung to life for hours longer than anyone could

Backstage class:
tom petty in
January 1990

82 uncut deceMBer 2017


have expected, stubbornly refusing to
surrender this last fight. As Neko Case
posted on twitter, I hope tom Petty is not
actually dead and makes a full recovery to
see all the kind, sweet things you are are
[sic] saying about him. What a life. He
was pronounced dead at 8.40pm eastern
standard time.
Recounting that timeline might seem
morbid, but it signals something
essential about Petty and perhaps speaks
to his ability to attract so many lifelong fans
from so many different generations. tom
Petty was a fighter. Despite his hippie
demeanour the scarves, the top hat, the
tom petty And the
beard, the joints, the inscrutable grin, the Heartbreakers in lA,
look in his eyes that let you know he was still August 1977: (lr)
Stan lynch, Mike
grooving on being a rock star he was always campbell, petty, ron
pushing against someone or something, up Blair, Benmont tench
to and including death. For someone who

P
grew into what appeared to be a supremely ettys first real antagonist was his father, earl,
laidback hippie demeanour, he seemed to who did little to disguise his disappointment in
thrive under pressure, a protagonist always in his elder son. tom was besotted with pop culture
search of an antagonist. television and rocknroll, in particular. He grew his
there was always someone to push against for Petty, hair long. He rejected the traditionally masculine
always someone who represented an authority to pursuits embraced his father and so many others in
which he found himself opposed. And like his peers, central Florida: tom Petty didnt hunt, for one thing.
that rebellion would not only fuel individual songs Wasnt too interested in fishing, either. earls abuse often
but would inform a staunch belief in rocknroll as the turned violent, which only reinforced Pettys rebellious
ultimate weapon in that fight. Nothing disarmed his streak and strengthened his resolve to play rock music.
nemesis more effectively than a solid hook or a fierce As Warren Zanes points out in his 2015 biography,
riff or a perfect rhyme. Well, I know whats right, I got simply titled Petty, rocknroll bands became a substitute
just one life, he sang on one of his most popular for fathers and mothers and brothers. He was ready for a
tunes, I Wont Back Down. In a world that keeps on new family even before the Beatles arrived. But through
pushin me around/Ill stand my ground. the Beatles example, he was shown how to start one.
the world keeps pushing. the fight hardens the the sundowners would just be the first. From that
fighter. For Petty it always seemed a tragedy how point on, nothing was ever going to mean more to him
emotionally calloused you had to be just to live in the
world, just to survive. If you listen long enough, you There was than the band he was in. that didnt change even
when he started his own family.
can hear my skin grow tough, he sang on Rhino skin,
off 1999s underrated Echo. Love is painful to the touch, always As a teenager he was already a professional
musician, gigging around the region first in the

someone to
must be made of stronger stuff. that unending sundowners and later in the epics. It was the era
struggle may be the great theme of his massive when rock bands wore suits as uniforms, got matching

push against
catalogue, as well as of the great rocknroll canon haircuts, and learned choreographed dance moves,
to which so many of his songs aspired and truly and Petty cut his teeth on covers of songs by James

for Petty
belonged. Its essential to the medium and its Brown, the Animals, Paul Revere & the Raiders. He
mythologies, and its what he shared with so many couldnt have known at the time that subsequent
of his heroes, his peers and his followers. generations would serve their rocknroll

major tom

Anything rocknrolls fine


How to buy tom Petty
SoutHern Full Moon songs here, like Its Good To Be
AccentS Fever (1989) King and You Dont Know How It
MICHAEl MoNTFoRT/MICHAEl oCHS ARCHIvES/GETTY IMAGES

(1985) His first solo Feels, arent meditations on fame,


Pettys statement album without the but ruminations on the midlife
about his Southern Heartbreakers, a wry crises Petty was enduring. 8/10
roots, co-produced with Dave look back on the 80s and a weary
Stewart. The single Dont look ahead at the 90s. Free Fallin Hypnotic eye
Come Around Here No More, was his ultimate ode to California, (2014)
dAMn tHe torpedoeS one of the bands weirder but Yer So Bad is a clever parody Pettys swansong
(1979) creations with its accompanying of post-hippie, post-yuppie, pre- finds fresh inspiration
The Heartbreakers hard-won Alice In Wonderland-themed who-knows-what America. 9/10 in the grimy, gritty
victory: a rock album of startling video, may have been inspired sounds that first motivated him
invention and vitality that finally by their ambivalence about the WildFloWerS to pick up a guitar in the 1960s.
made them rock stars. It only American South, but the title track (1994) Balancing the nostalgia is the
produced three singles, but almost is a poignant country-soul ballad Petty considered this bands loud, rowdy performances,
every song here would be a hit celebrating the regions twang his best album and it especially on the single American
retroactively, peppering classic and drawl, later covered by might be, too, if it were Dream Plan B: I got a dream, Im
rock playlists for decades. 9/10 Johnny Cash. 8/10 just a little more concise. The best gonna fight till I get it! 8/10

deceMBer 2017 uncut 83


friends for
life: live in
1981 with
Stevie Nicks

apprenticeships covering
his songs.
The teenage Pettys
general distrust of
adults shifted into the
twentysomething Pettys
suspicion of suits.
Mudcrutch, his third
band, signed with Shelter
Records, the label
founded by Cordell (a live at
producer known for his the Civic
auditorium,
work with The Moody Santa Cruz,
Blues, Procol Harum, and Ca, 1980
Joe Cocker) and Leon
Russell, still considered in the mid-1970s a towering resulted not only in 1981s Stop Draggin My Heart
rock star. The outfit lasted for only one single, a reggae Around (the bands biggest hit at the time), but in a
song called Depot Street that Petty dismissed as a lifelong friendship between Nicks and Petty. The two
novelty foisted on the band. Mudcrutch disintegrated performed together for the last time in July 2017, when
and re-formed as the Heartbreakers, and they would the Heartbreakers played in Hyde Park. She joined the
eventually settle out of court with Cordell and Shelter, band for their signature duet and told the crowd, You
a major triumph that allowed Petty to re-sign a more know that Tom Petty is my favourite rock star!
equitable deal with Backstreet, an imprint of MCA.

I
It only gave him a new set of antagonists against f theres a word that appears in Pettys
which to kick. Most labels at the time had a policy songwriting more frequently than fight, its
called superstar pricing, which meant they would probably free. That was the prize, the purse, the
add another dollar or so to the retail price of a record by promise of rocknoll. freedom. for Petty, it was a
a proven star. Damn The Torpedoes had sold for $8.98, post-hippie dream of freedom: not national freedom
and MCA intended to sell 81s Hard Promises for $9.98. (he was political but his music was not) nor social
Bristling at the exploitative practice, Petty said hed retitle freedom, but personal freedom from the cloistered
the new record The $8.98 Album. The label backed down. world of Gainesville, from the poverty of his
But these battles took a heavy toll on Petty and made childhood, from the abuse of his father, from the
him paranoid. When Stevie Nicks first expressed interest clauses in his contracts, from the exploitation of the
in working with the Heartbreakers, even saying she label, from the demands of the journalists. Petty
would join the band if asked, Petty was initially sceptical, spent the first 25 years of his life believing he could
believing she wanted to exploit the success they had achieve that freedom if he became a rock star, but
worked so hard to achieve. Their collaboration, however, the demands of that lifestyle only compounded his
LARRY HuLSt/MICHAEL oCHS ARCHIVES/gEttY IMAgES; gEoRgE RoSE/gEttY IMAgES

friends u
united
n ited

This is unbearable the summerlands, brother.

aliCE CooPER
JEff lyNNE
tom Petty was the coolest guy
I ever knew.
tom Petty remembered by his fellow musicians It is so rare to find someone who
commands such universal respect BETTE MiDlER
BoB DylaN it was like running into a long- in this business. He was a rockn- the death of the great tom Petty
Its shocking, crushing news. I lost brother. roll lifer with music in his blood. this has come as yet another body
thought the world of tom. He was man delivered a wealth of great blow. A wonderful, American voice;
a great performer, full of the light, BRiaN WilSoN songs to his fans and to the world, his music gave comfort and joy
a friend, and Ill never forget him. Im heartbroken to hear about and that is something to celebrate. to millions.
tom Petty. tom was a hell of a He was an honest renegade, a
BRUCE SPRiNgSTEEN songwriter and record-maker. rebel, and a true original. NEko CaSE
Down here on E Street, were He will be missed by everyone At a tom Petty show in Austin,
devastated and heartbroken who loves music. SHERyl CRoW walking a full three-quarters of
over the death of tom Petty. our this is unbearable. Vegas and now a mile to the stage, every single
hearts go out to his family and RyaN aDaMS a great music hero has passed. You person was singing every word.
bandmates. Ive always felt a thank you for giving so much, brought us so much joy I feel like thats the kinda powerful love you
deep kinship with his music. A a lifetime of inspiration and love. today, the music truly died. Cant dont see everyday, but the kind we
great songwriter and performer, Your music has changed this world go see/hear music and be safe, all long for when we think about our
whenever we saw each other for the better Safe passage to and one of the greats just passed. society and togetherness.

84 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


tom petty
problems. He moved from one prison to another. eyewitness!
Perhaps thats why he was able to enjoy so much
success in the late 80s and well into the 90s, especially
when his peers stumbled. The fights he launched and I just hit the wall,
the fights he sang about made him relatable to a new
generation of record-buyers the first American
generation that would not live better than the previous.
and broke my hand!
This was a generation being told it would have to fight Hanging out with Petty in the West Valley
just to maintain, which added resonance to songs like

I
free fallin and I Wont Back Down, both from his got to know tom Petty when he greeting me at the front door of his
first solo record, 1989s Full Moon Fever. was deep in his mid-80s trough. house nearly two years later, in the spring
Even at the height of his popularity, even after the Hed begin his return to form in of 1987, Petty was tanned and relaxed,
release of the album Petty long considered his best 1988 with the formation of the closer in appearance to the blond rock
traveling Wilburys, followed a star of the late 70s than the sallow studio
work 1994s Wildflowers, produced with Rick Rubin
few months later by the release of Full rat hed subsequently become. Petty and
Petty was still in the throes of heroin addiction and Moon Fever. But the hits were no longer the Heartbreakers had been on the road
saw his family fall apart. He divorced his first wife in coming with great frequency when I with Dylan, an experience that had made
1996, ending their 20-year marriage. As he told Zanes talked to him during tour rehearsals with the band even tighter as a unit. Working
for his biography, Using heroin went against my the reunited Heartbreakers in with Bob was good for us, cos it
grain. I didnt want to be enslaved to anything. So I was mid-85, coming up for air on gave us amazing communication
the heels of the arduous, in the studio, Petty
always trying to figure out how to do less, and then
interminable Southern explained. We only had
that wouldnt work. Tried to go cold turkey, and that Accents sessions. the to set up and look at each
wouldnt work. Its an ugly fucking thing. Heartbreakers had spent other. He showed me into
Remarkably, he didnt grow bitter unless you two years in limbo while the rec room for a listen
count 2002s The Last DJ, a curmudgeonly take on the Petty was holed up in the to a freshly mastered
changing industry. He credited his turnaround to his basement studio hed test pressing of Let Me Up
installed in his rambling (Ive Had Enough). I love
second wife, Dana York, who helped him get clean and
one-storey house at 4626 playin it for people, he
reconcile with his family. As he did, he released two Encino Ave, perched on a said, lighting a Marlboro
wise late-career LPs and began to reassess his notions hillside south of Ventura Red and dropping the
of freedom as something that couldnt be sustained. It Blvd. When you build a tone arm on the rollicking
wasnt a rock stars life free of worry; rather, it was the studio at home, you go Dylan co-write Jammin
freedom found in the smaller moments: the kick of a wild, he told me with Me. the album yielded
a self-effacing laugh. Rad hatter: no hits and few raves,
catchy melody, the raw power of an earworm hook, the
Southern Accents was June 23, continuing the slump,
boundless possibilities of a guitar solo. That came the product of much 1985 but its failure would
through the 40th anniversary of the Heartbreakers angst and all-consuming make Petty even more
debut and found him locating new joy in old songs. sessions, which finally determined to climb
took their toll on Petty. back up. He pointed at
In the end, it wasnt his own music that allowed him
that freedom. It was the music made by his heroes and the day it happened, We were always the vintage jukebox in
his peers, by people like The Byrds and The Beatles, by
wed been in there
around the clock for a
glad to be one of the corner of the room.
Im always changin the
Elvis and James Brown, by Dylan and Springsteen. It week with two teams the bands. Thats records on there, he
wasnt necessarily about creating, but playing in every of engineers, and I was said. I still listen to Elvis
sense of the word, about living in the moment of the in the other room playin all you can do a lot; even his later stuff
song, in the measure and in the note. Being a lifelong the mixes on a ghetto is amazing. Its Now or
rocknroll fan granted him immensely more freedom blaster. And Im sayin, No, this isnt what I Never is one of the best-sounding records
pictured, and I was bummed. Walkin up ever on a jukebox. And Such A Night. I just
than being a rock star ever did. And thats why his
the stairwell, I just [throws his arm out to like music done well, pretty much. My kids
death seemed so unfair, so untimely: there was still the side] hit the wall and broke my hand. got Beatles For Sale on CD she plays it
a lot of fight left in him. But it forced me to calm down a little bit. over and over. No Reply into Im A Loser
that fucks me up. It didnt matter what
they did after that.
A few weeks later, an arsonist burned
the house down. But during our meeting,
on a balmy afternoon in the West Valley,
Petty was content with where he is in the
scheme of things: Youre in your band, you
know? thats the way we used to look at
it when we were in gainesville. there was
the top band, and the next top band, and
you gotta do better than this band. We
were always glad to be one of the bands.
thats all you can do.
there were times when it was really
touch-and-go; like, Is this band together
or not? he admitted and there would
be another fragmentation of the band
before the 80s ended. I wanted us to stay
together, for the reason that its so rare to
hear music now that has much personality
especially in the instruments. thats
what I like about Fleetwood Mac its all
EBEt RoBERtS/REDFERNS

those people and it makes that sound. this


album we made makes this sound. Were
The Traveling just tryin to hone it down whatever it is
Wilburys: (l-r) that we are. Its not a glitzy thing. Like Phil
Bob Dylan, Jeff
lynne, Petty, Everly says about this job: At least theres
Roy orbison, no heavy lifting. BUD SCOPPA
george Harrison

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 85


Be My
Baby How a visionary producer built his Wall Of Sound in an antiquated
studio with one special asset and created a landmark pop record
by The Ronettes

I
was still living at home, and element was the lead vocals of Ronnie key players a brilliant, brilliant kid, says Tempo.
Phil spector came over for Bennett, later Ronnie spector. He had a sensitivity in those days for
a spaghetti dinner, recalls One day Phil calls, she recalls. what would be a hit song. You could play
Fremantlemedia ltd/reX/ShutterStock; tara Ziemba/Filmmagic;

Nino Tempo. we went into He says, You have to be in California 10 songs for him, and they might all be
the piano room after dinner tomorrow. You have to sing the lead and very good, but hed always go to the one
and he said, This is a song Im gonna then I can send for the other two [Ronettes] that had the best chance of being a hit. He
chriStopher logan/charleS norFleet photography

record. He played and sang it, and he later. He met me at the airport, and the first had a sense of it.
looked up and said, I know it doesnt place he took me was to Jack Nitzsches Released in august 1963, Be My Baby
sound very good, but it will I said, It house, because Jack Nitzsche arranged hit No 2 in the Us and No 4 in the UK,
Ronnie Spector
sounds terrible with you doing it, but OK! all of his songs. Once Jack heard my voice entrancing the likes of The Beatles and
lead vocals
The song the producer had played was he said, Oh my God I left and he started The Beach Boys with its pioneering, rich
Be My Baby, freshly penned by Jeff arranging Be My Baby, and a day or two production, indelible melody and Ronnie
Barry, Ellie Greenwich and spector, and after that I went in and recorded it. spectors coquettish vocals. The Beatles
destined to be recorded in summer 1963 as The other two Ronettes, Estelle Bennett loved Be My Baby and John Lennon loved
the Philles label debut by spanish Harlem and Nedra Talley, would never get the call, my voice, recalls spector. I remember
group The Ronettes. The wrecking Crew however. Instead, Phil spector mastered we went to a nightclub one night and he
cut the music, while backing vocals were his wall Of sound production for the said, Ronnie, just sing me a little bit of
provided by The Blossoms (featuring track, utilising the echo chamber and Be My Baby in my ear and I did, and I
Darlene Love
Darlene Love), Nino Tempo, Cher and tape echo at santa Monica Boulevards backing vocals looked over and he had pretend-fainted! It
sonny Bono; but perhaps the most crucial Gold star, his favourite studio. He was was just so much fun, and so much energy
then. It was pure rocknroll and pure
everything. tom pinnock

RONNIE SPECTOR: The Peppermint


Lounge was where we got discovered. we
were standing in line with all the other
people in Manhattan waiting to get in,
Nino Tempo
backing vocals and the manager comes out and cos we
dressed alike on purpose he said, Get
in here, girls, youre late, youre late! My
sister starts to say, Oh no no no, we were
just standing in line with everyone else
I said, shut up! Lets just go, and we ran
into the Peppermint Lounge and they put
us right up on stage as dancers. we had
done bar mitzvahs and sock hops, but
thats all. Thats how it all started.
NINO TEMPO: I met Phil spector in
Ronnie Spector (then
Veronica Bennett, New York on July 5, 1960 we both had
left) with sister appointments with Leiber and stoller.
Estelle Bennett
and Nedra Talley From that point on, Phil and I became very
on thank Your Lucky close friends. shortly after, I was back in
Stars, 1964 California and I was driving on wilshire

86 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


Boulevard and somebody blows a horn at it sweetening back in the day, to make it
me. Lo and behold, its Phil spector. we sound bigger, and with Phil it was bigger
pulled over and he said, Im going to Gold
star to record tonight, why dont you come
Phil Spector was probably than ever.
TEMPO: we were in the studio, and Be My
down? I could use an extra pair of ears. the first to use overdubs. Baby is up. as theyre running it down, I
That night I went down and he said, Nino, didnt like what I was hearing. I cant lie, I
why dont you go out and play piano? I We called it sweetening cant hide my emotions, so Phil looked at
said, I dont play that well, Phil. He said, me and said, You dont like this what
You dont have to play the bottom end, DARLENE LOVE dont you like? I said, I think the drum
al De Lory will play the upper end. we part is boring, the drummers just playing
had four guys on two pianos! Thats the That was the secret of the wall Of sound, straight four. and Phil said, what would
way he began to get the wall Of sound. the echo chamber and the amount of echo. you have him do? I said, I would have
DARLENE LOVE: By the early 60s, The Phil would think of these string lines and him do this kick kick kick snare, kick
Blossoms would do the background for Jack Nitzsche would write them out. It was kick kick snare snare snare until we get to
everybody, for all the Christmas stuff mostly Phil, he really was phenomenal the chorus, then go straight four. He said,
Phil spector did, The Righteous Brothers in those days. To be honest, though, I Tell Hal [Blaine] over the microphone.
we were the background singers of dont think the songwriting was a straight so I did, and it worked fabulously! It still
Hollywood at the time. collaboration I think Jeff and Ellie does. I was very delighted. Hal was a very
RONNIE SPECTOR: The Ronettes were would write 100 per cent of the song, and talented guy, and it just sailed.
living in New York at the time, we always Phil would come in and change a word, LOVE: The Blossoms were the well-known
lived in New York! But we had to go all the change a little something here and there, background singers, but a lot of times
way to California to do these records. which might or might not really improve there were other singers with us, too.
TEMPO: Gold star was the only place the song. sometimes, they would even throw sonny
Phil would record. as a studio Id give it LOVE: The Blossoms learned our own Bono in, which we hated. why? Because
a seven out of 10, but they had an echo parts away from the musicians. we he couldnt sing! and we used to tease him
chamber there, and they had an inability had our own harmony, and wed sung all the time in a lot of the playbacks you
to do much. They were working with harmony all our lives. It was all cut would hear me saying, Hell, if you get
antiquated equipment. I dont know what live, then Phil would bring in another sonny out of here we could finish this. He
the hell it was, but youd sometimes get a drummer, more percussion, maybe horns wasnt a back-up singer! But Phil didnt
take that you couldnt get anywhere else. and things like that. at that time we only care, that was his whole thing.
and why, you didnt know but they had had two tracks to work with it wasnt like TEMPO: I had been dating Cher, and I was
an incredible echo chamber, which was it is today when you have over 100 tracks introducing her to the recording industry.
a room built below a garage, and thats you can use. Phil spector was probably she met Phil and sonny and all the rest
where the echo came from. It was the best. one of the first to use overdubs. we called of the people at that session. Phil said,

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 87


track or that track. Youd bury the horns
and make the drums louder. He also
controlled it by having tape echo, which
was very important to Phil tape echo
plus the echo chamber. One time we were
in the studio running it down and it went
from sounding great to terrible. What
happened? I said. And [engineer] Larry
Levine said, Oh, we ran out of tape on the
[echo] tape machine, Ill roll it back and
start the tape again, and the minute that
sounded, it became good again.
LOVE: How was Phil then? Well, it was a
whole lot normal in the studio for those
sessions, because The Blossoms would
not have stood for it. By the time Phil
got really crazy, we werent recording or
having anything to do with him. He went
to Europe after all the success and thats
when he became nuts. I could never
The Ronettes with Phil testify that I saw him with a gun. I went
Spector recording at
Gold Star Studios, to sessions and they said he had a gun,
Los Angeles, 1963 so Id get in my car and go back home
I was there to record and sing, not to see
get the same Wrecking Crew on a record no fool with no gun.
where the song was a flop, and the same TEMPO: Id always been a gun collector,
Brian Wilson played Be My Wrecking Crew couldnt make it a hit. Its
all about the song song first, production
but sometimes youd get tired of it and see
another gun you liked more. So you sold
Baby a hundred times every second, singer third. Phil would record it that one to somebody and bought another

single day hes told me that in stereo, but he would at the same time
record it with all the echo in monaural,
one. Over the years, I wound up selling
several to Phil, so I would say Im probably
and invariably he would use the monaural the source that most of his guns came
RONNiE SPECTOR recording, because that was what was from. Im not happy about that, but how
best, certainly in those days. Hed bring could I know that he was going to use
Hey, can you sing? Why dont you sing fact file the singer in at another time, cos then he them in the wrong way? Was Phil more
with the group? I was already out there could just concentrate on them. eccentric later on? Yes, but he was always
Written by:
singing the Be my baby background SPECTOR: I remember so much about pretty eccentric.
Jeff Barry,
part. But Phil was smart, he liked voices Ellie Greenwich, Be My Baby, especially when Hal Blaine SPECTOR: If youre a girl like I was, who
which sounded non-professional. It just Phil Spector went boom boom boom bow and I came grew up with very humble beginnings,
worked beautifully. Performers in: [sings] The night we met We did one to have a hit record and to get in your
LOVE: People try to make me remember include: Ronnie song a day you can do two or three or car or go to a radio store and hear your
that Cher was there for Be My Baby, Spector (lead four now, but back then you didnt have record, it was like, What?! Youre in
and I dont. vocals), Darlene the equipment to do all that. It took a long shock. It was the greatest time to have a hit
TEMPO: Me, Sonny Bono, Cher and The Love, Fanita time to do Be My Baby. record. Wherever I went, whoever I saw,
Blossoms there might have been one James, Gracia TEMPO: Ronnie was pretty consistent everybody talked about Be My Baby.
Nitzsche, Nino
other person, like the janitor. Anybody I think sometimes Phil went a little TEMPO: At the end of the record, where
Tempo, Cher,
who walked by, Phil would ask them to Sonny Bono overboard with the vocals, because it broke down to the drumbeat and then
come in and sing also didnt have to pay (backing vocals), usually after three or four or five attempts, boom the band hit, I said, That is
them that way. Hal Blaine (drums), they had it. fantastic! I knew it was gonna be a
LOVE: Back in those days we had one mic Carol Kaye (bass), SPECTOR: All of the musicians said, smash. Of course, it still sounds great
between us. If you couldnt blend, you Al De Lory, Don Now, wow, thats a voice, you know, that today its a great song and Im glad to
couldnt work. I remember times working Randi, Leon Russell can go with our stuff! And it just worked have been a part of it.
with Cher, and Phil had to tell her she was (keyboards), Ray Id learn my songs in the hotel, cos they SPECTOR: It was just the greatest fun time
too loud, he would push her back further Pohlman (bass), had a piano there, and then Id go over to I wish that I could bring back those days,
Bill Pitman,
from the other singers. Gold Star, and they went nuts. the early 60s where everybody was just so
Tommy Tedesco
SPECTOR: The Wrecking Crew were very (guitar) TEMPO: We always worked in the evening, excited to have a hit record, they were so
important. I never really met all of them, Produced by: and we often wouldnt finish until early excited to be onstage. Brian Wilson played
but they did every record that I was on. Phil Spector in the morning, thats the way it was. Phil Be My Baby a hundred times every
They were great guys! At various points Recorded at: and I would often go to a deli or Pinks hot single day hes told me that. Brian wrote
we had Harry Nilsson, Glen Campbell, Gold Star Studios, dog stand at three or four in the morning. Dont Worry Baby for me. I thought
Earl Palmer Sometimes we had two Los Angeles When Phil would mix, the sound would that was the greatest follow-up to Be
drummers on my songs, so it was quite Released: sometimes begin ringing back, there was My Baby, but of course I couldnt record
exciting times. August 1963 so much echo, and thats the point where it, because other people wanted to write
Highest chart
TEMPO: They liked recording for Phil. most of the hits came from. You couldnt all my songs so I didnt get to do that.
positions: UK 4; US
They respected him greatly, and the hits separate anything, but you could control But I sing it in my show now.
then came mostly from Phil you could it by how much echo youd put on this AdditionAl interview by MichAel bonner
RAY AvERY/GETTY IMAGES

time line
1957 Ronnie Spector eaRlY 1963 Having had Phil Spector, the group JUlY 1963 Ronnie Spector aUGUSt 1963 Be My
forms an early version little success with Colpix audition for him at NYCs and the Wrecking Crew Baby is released, rising
of The Ronettes in Records, Ronnies sister Mira Sound Studios, then record the song at Gold high up the charts in the
Washington Heights, NYC Estelle Bennett contacts sign to his Philles label Star Studios, Los Angeles UK and the US

88 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


ULTIMATE MUSIC GUIDES
ESSENTIAL GUIDES TO THE MOST INSPIRATIONAL ARTISTS OF OUR TIME

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ordownloaddigitallyatwww.uncut.co.uk/digital-edition
Bootsy
Collins
Funks flamboyant bottom end from
the JBs to cosmic chaos and solo sobriety

I
M on it! yells Bootsy Collins down the line from
Cincinnati. He always has been. Starting out in
late-60s teen band The Pacemakers, Collins and
his bass have, as he puts it, been setting the controls
for the heart of the funk for almost half a century.
Following a military-style apprenticeship with
James Brown, he spent a decade alongside George
Clinton in Parliament-Funkadelic, a period that proved hugely productive
and influential despite many a chemical diversion along the way.
There was a lot going down, says Collins. We were either on the road
or in the studio and we were up all night, partying. I look back and think,
How in the world did we do all this? I cant tell you, I have no idea!
Since the 80s, Collins has released several solo albums. At the age of 65,
his latest, World Wide Funk, features everyone from Chuck D to Iggy Pop.
His view on his many achievements is disarmingly simple. When I look
back, it was a lot of work, but we didnt think of it as work, he says. It was Bootsy on bass with the
just what we did. Music was everything. Still is. JBs, between James
Brown (left) and Bobby
GraeMe THoMSon Byrd, in East Ham,
London, March 1971

JAMES BROWN with the band was already mixed. didnt know who they were they intergalactic opus concerning
& THE JBS He was a hard man, but I felt were playing colleges and we were pimps in space. Their first gold
SEX MACHINE privileged to be in his presence. on the Chitlin Circuit but once Id album, and a landmark in proto-
UNIVERSE, 1970 He had a soft spot for me, because met George, it was funk at first bite! rap, jazz and funk.
Collins and his brother Catfish join I was a young fool. The band would I knew this was where the band We were in
the JBs in 1970. The same year, put me up to stuff Id ask for him needed to be. George had rented a the Bermuda
they unleash a double set for a raise, or extra rooms and hed big house on a lake in Canada. We Triangle when
recorded half in the studio, let me get away with it. Other people stayed there for a month or two. We the Mothership
half live including the legendary felt he was a dictator and he could rehearsed, went fishing, and did all landed. We
11-minute title track. be, I think he got off on that stuff the crazy stuff a band would do, and were fishing
James Brown but me and my brother Catfish just we also worked on the album. That and getting
had had a laughed at the whole thing. I was was my first experience in the studio high, and the whole concept came.
falling out with just glad to be on the same stage as with George and the rest of the George would kick an idea, I would
his original the Godfather Of Soul. Funkadelics. It was pretty amazing. kick an idea, Id get my guitar. Boom!
band at a gig With James, it was army-related, It was just an amazing time. The
in Columbus, FUNKADELIC that discipline. With George, space concept was definitely George
Georgia, and AMERICA EATS ITS everyone anyone who walked in though I was definitely spaced out!
Bobby Byrd called us. Man, youre YOUNG was invited to the party. That spirit Concepts were Georges department.
talking mindblowing. It was crazy! WESTBOUND, 1972 fuelled everything. With George, the He was so into books: [Erich Von
Sex Machine started life right after Having parted from Brown and music ran from A to whatever comes Dnikens cosmic 60s text] Chariots
a show. James didnt usually ride the formed the House Guests, Collins after Z! Whatever you could bring to Of The Gods?, we were reading that
bus it was a plane or limo but he and Catfish join George Clintons the table, bring it. It was from one stuff back in the 70s. Wed go fishing
got on the bus and said, Ive got rainbow-coloured funk collective. extreme to the other, and a real and talk about these books, and how
this song, lemme sing it to you. He His first album with them is a learning process. Wed just jam and to align that to what we were doing.
started messing with, Get up-ah, double, recorded in Toronto and see what chemistry worked. George Tripping opened me up to a whole lot
get on up and all that. He wanted featuring Collins songwriting was analysing all that stuff; we were of stuff I wouldnt normally have
to write it down. Someone had a debut, Philmore. just having a good time playing. It got. I would hate to push that,
paper sandwich bag, and so thats After James was much more fun than James but it helped open up my mind.
how that song started. Once we got Brown, we were Brown. Everything about George at I was really all about the music,
to the studio it was pretty much fed up being a that time was just fun. everything else I shut out, but when
what it sounds like [on the record]. backing band. George started talking about these
Someone said, It sounds great, Mr We wanted to PARLIAMENT concepts, and I started reading
david redfern/redferns

Brown. When are you going to mix do something MOTHERSHIP about them myself, it all started to
it? He said, Mix it? Its already wild and crazy CONNECTION relate. The more I understood, the
mixed, son! He was teaching us up front. It was the tail end of the CASABLANCA, 1975 more he talked to me about it, and
how to be dynamic, with the ups, hippie thing and everywhere we The arrival of Maceo Parker and the more trips we would take, and all
the breakdowns, the hard and soft went, people said, You look and Fred Wesley from the JBs horn this stuff just started coming out. I
parts. He felt that everything he did sound just like Funkadelic! We section adds a soulful kick to an learned so much, as far as how to put

90 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


When I put them on,
I become Bootzilla:
Bootsy gets into
character, 1978

what youre doing into something Stretchin Out. At that point, into far-off alien galaxies from the saying. Thats what captivated
bigger than yourself. Whats the everything was coming through my bizarre cover to the much-sampled people for the long haul: what in the
difference between the two groups? head: a bassline, a guitar part, a Do That Stuff and the wise maxim hell are they talking about? Thats
Parliament were the original melody. I was young and a receptor. that funk is its own reward. what got them hooked. You didnt
singers that George had. It was more I was receiving all this stuff and I Thats when have the internet then, you had to
JBs structured, on the grooves I had no way of putting it down. George really really research and start digging.
brought the one. Funkadelic was Luckily, George allowed me a way locked in to People got into that. They got into
always more about the whole band: of actually recording it. I remember what he was what was being said and how you
Eddie Hazel, Bernie [Worrell], Billy Georges talkback mic in the studio doing. He really could become a bigger and better
[Nelson] They started it off. was so loud it became annoying. locked in. I had funkateer. It was kind of like the
Hed be singing and hollering, he never seen him Grateful Dead had the Deadheads.
BOOTSYS RUBBER didnt care how loud it was. He was that focused. Once Mothership Well, the ones who were exposed
BAND having the time of his life, and I was was out and he saw that people to our music wanted to become
STRETCHIN OUT having the time of my life. I guess we gravitated towards that whole Funkateers. It was more than
IN BOOTSYS didnt know how good they were. We concept, he took it another step. dancing and having a good time.
RUBBER BAND just went with it, we were having a He was still getting loaded, but he Those were just perks!
WARNER BROTHERS, 1976 blast. The title track wasnt recorded became all about the stuff he was
Collins first solo vehicle is an until after we had turned the album reading. There wasnt nobody BOOTSYS RUBBER
offshoot of the P-Funk family. in. We figured there was something talking about that stuff at the time! I BAND
Produced by Clinton, who co-writes that wasnt on the album that was reading the books and keeping BOOTSY? PLAYER
all but one of the seven tracks, it needed to be. We took the album up on where he was going and what OF THE YEAR
features a familiar cast of sounds back so we could get it on there. he was looking for. I knew what was WARNER BROTHERS, 1978

and players. on his mind, so the ideas came Collins mints a new alter ego,
I said to George, PARLIAMENT easily. It was a pure fit. People were Bootzilla, heralded on the sleeve
I need to do THE CLONES OF listening to the message, but the by a jazzy pair of star-shaped
this new song, DR FUNKENSTEIN music and sounds were so fresh, sunglasses. Features all the usual
I feel like Im CASABLANCA, 1976 obviously that was the first thing suspects, and co-writes with
stretching out. Largely co-written by Collins and that grabbed them. Then it was the Clinton and Bernie Worrell.
He said, Yeah, Clinton, a further cosmic venture vocals, and what the vocals were Again,
Michael ochs archive/getty iMages

like a rubber everything was


band! Thats the way things came. recorded at the
We were recording everything at same time as
the same time, it just came out in With George Clinton, everyone everything else.
different places at different times
and theres a lot of stuff that never
anyone who walked in was invited I was searching
for a new look,
ever got released. While I was doing to the party. That spirit fuelled and I was looking for new glasses. I
Chocolate City [the 1975 Funkadelic
album] I was also recording
everything told George, I want the title song to
be like a monster. George said,

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 91


to people, to drink with a wino Canton, Michigan. I was trying to get
or sit down with the president. away from the getting high thing,
Whatever you said might wind and being surrounded by that. Not
up in a song. Id let him hear a that I didnt like it, but I needed to
riff I was playing, and he would get away from it to get back to being
throw in something hed heard focused on music. It wasnt about
and make a song out of it. It having fun for me at that point, it
was genius, it really was. One was about getting serious with what
night in DC, some guy starts I was doing. That album helped me.
shouting, One nation! One It helped me a lot.
nation! One nation under a
groove! When youve got fresh BOOTSY COLLINS
musicians around you, you can WORLD WIDE FUNK
take that hookline and really MASCOT RECORDS, 2017
make something. Georges Collins first since 2012 features
thing was: It dont matter how a host of collaborators, from
many hooks you put in. Dont relative unknowns to Doug E Fresh,
matter! Put them all in there. Chuck D and Iggy Pop who opens
So, on that song, youve got the album with a remarkable
one nation under a groove spoken-word intro. Contains a
feet dont fail me now, all that. tribute to P-Funk keys-man Bernie
I think the longevity of Worrell, who died last year.
funk is being able to do Losing Bernie,
that, to make something I cant put into
Bootsy and George out of nothing. Thats what words. It was
Clinton (back, third
and fifth left) with we did with all those such a loss
Funkadelic in 1975 records, and I think One like losing
Nation is probably the three strings
best of them all, as far as on the bass.
Yeah, like Bootzilla. Thats Funkadelic of that era goes. But I wanted this record to be more
how things would come, I upbeat, more energetic. We always
would have one side of it and he BOOTSY COLLINS had the funk down at a certain
would have the other. I didnt WHATS BOOTSY tempo. We never thought about it, its
care about radio play, or selling DOIN? just that the funk felt that way.
records all I cared about was COLUMBIA, 1988 I thought that this album needed to
making a monster, creating Following a six-year hiatus, not only be funky, but it had to have
this character. George knew largely induced by Collins the energy of dance: upbeat, happy,
that, and he didnt get in my spiralling drug problems, a feelgood record. I wanted it to be
way. The glasses on the album he returns, clean and clear, more uplifting, maybe because of
sleeve are the Bootzilla with a strong new album the times were at. I gathered around
glasses. When I put them on I produced by Bill Laswell. people who were young and
became Bootzilla; with the regular joined up and brought a fresh new Music is the energetic, and then went back and
ones, I was just Bootsy. I didnt vibe with him. I think that sparked most important got some of those guys who were
explain it, but people seemed to get everybody. Around that time, the thing to me. It influential in hip-hop, and who
it at the time. So, the question mark walls had started shaking, and had got me so would fit into what I was trying to do.
in the title was on purpose we were people started looking around and far, and then it I wanted to include famous people
kind of trying to mess with peoples making sure the walls didnt fall on felt like I had and musicians that most people
heads. I was branding before I knew them. People were approaching a been dropped might not know about, and
what branding was! Theyve got lot of the artists offering solo deals. off a cliff. Id had a motorcycle demonstrate that it could all work
names for that stuff now, but we The drug thing had started shaking. accident. I fell off my bike, and they together. With Iggy Pop oh man!
were doing it just because. There Things were getting a little hectic. told me I wouldnt be able to use my Bill Laswell was producing his last
was a whole lot of concepts going on The music is one thing. Everybody right arm to play bass. I was laid up record, and he wanted me to play
within the mothership. loves the music, but this business is in the hospital thinking about a lot bass on a version of Purple Haze.
so crazy, and everybody just kind of of stuff. Thats when I stopped doing Then I started thinking, maybe
FUNKADELIC went berserk and started blaming the cocaine. All of that Iggyll do something for me, and he
UNCUT ONE NATION George for everything. There was a affected the record. I was said, sure. I didnt tell him what to
CLASSIC UNDER cycle of craziness. I had to live with pretty much on my own do, and he sent this spoken thing
A GROOVE all the musicians, and I was very recording, and I wanted back to me and said, What do
WARNER BROTHERS, 1978 close to George, so I heard to be on my own. People you think? I figured out I should
Widely hailed as the greatest everything. I couldnt take no sides, started asking George, open the LP with it. My grandkids
Michael ochs archive/getty iMages; david carlo

funk album of all time, the and I felt everybody was right in Hey, whats Bootsy crack up whenever they hear it!
concept is as cosmically outr their own way. Everyone else was doing? So, I said, Thats I feel really good about the
as ever, parodying the recently feeling gloom and doom, but Junie the name of the album! album. It feels different,
released Star Wars. In the Great came in and he just wanted to play. It I pulled a George on but
buut at the same time its
Funk Wars 1984 BC, funk has was all fresh, and immediately him. He didnt know I sstill in the pocket
been outlawed by Barft Vada, and things start happening. was working on a new with what Ive done
dastardly disco reigns supreme. George would hear stuff that album, but I got him in the past, and what
Only the P-Funk crew can save us people would say in the audience, involved in a couple of the possibilities are in
We got some fresh energy in, which or in the band, take it and make a songs. I started getting the
h ffuture.
u
really helped pull that album over song out of it. He was so open to new breathing room to
the top. Junie Morrison came in from the universe, he connected with create. I was working in World
ld Wide Funk is
the Ohio Players, he was an old everybody. No matter how big he another studio, a little bit released
a via Mascot
friend from back in the day. He got, he was always able to connect outside of Detroit, in Records on October 27
Re

92 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


new! from the makers of

with
sPeciaL
mirror-
BoarD
cover!

Photo mick rock 1972, 2017

DaviD Bowie: a Life in Pictures


a Lavish triBute to PoPs greatest chameLeon,
PackeD with rare anD reveLatory images.
on saLe now
BON IVER
Is anybody here on
some serious LSD?:
(lr) Justin Vernon,
Mikaela Davis and
Sean Carey
Playhouse, Edinburgh,
September 27, 2017
What might have been lost...
Justin Vernon finally brings his complex
private dramas to the British stage

M
IDWay through The recorded version of 29 #Stafford
the first of apts seems embarrassed by its own
Bon Ivers two beauty, but tonight its played straight,
Edinburgh shows, an intoxicating country shuffle, all click-
Justin Vernon clacking drums and glissando guitar

finally speaks. lines. 666 , meanwhile, becomes
He recounts a trip vast, the circling guitar riff foregrounded
the previous day to John Lewis to procure as Vernon beats out the rhythm on his
socks and undies, during which he chest. an elongated 21 Mn Water
met a fan who professed astonishment builds on its blippy beats to an immense,
that Vernon performs such mundane shuddering climax, reminiscent of aphex
tasks for himself. Its a funny story, Twins brutalism.
but a moral is left hanging in the air Placed unostentatiously stage right,
something to do, you suspect, with the Vernon flits from guitar to keyboard to
way success fatally warps even the most piano, crouching to fiddle with pedals,
humdrum human interaction. triggering samples, messing with his
Postponed from February, the brevity vocal pitch and texture in real time. The
of Bon Ivers idiosyncratic UK tour one technical trickery rarely obscures the
night in Blackpool; two in Edinburgh emotion and craft at the heart of the music,
seems to underline the reticence that for which much credit goes to his two
Vernon has expressed regarding his accompanists, long-time Bon Iver cohort
measure of fame. The disorientating Sean Carey (drums, keyboards, vocals)
textures of his latest album the lovely, and Michael Lewis (bass, saxophone,
intriguing, determinedly bloody-minded vocals, keyboards). They surf the genre
22, A Million also seemed designed to sea-changes with low-key versatility. On
alienate the casually curious, or at least the slow, unearthly wash of 8 (circle), the
short-circuit easy accessibility. pair contribute to three-part harmonies,
The suspicion that Vernon might be half Beach Boys, half Swingle Singers.
making us all suffer for his art is hardly There are moments of arresting theatre.
dispelled by his arrival tonight. a tall, The distorted, galactic soul of 715
bearded, somewhat ungainly figure Crks is sung by Vernon from within
dressed in shocking shirt and sensible a harsh triangle of light, as though hes
trousers think hipster Bill Bryson he
wanders on in near-total darkness, clamps
preparing to ascend to an alien spacecraft.
____45____ a brief diversion on
SETLIST
on a pair of chunky headphones, and the album becomes a full-blooded 1 22 (Over Sn)
begins stabbing at his keyboard console, exorcism, Vernon lost in rapture, his 2 10 d e a t h b r e a
st
sending distressed electronic beats and falsetto hard and pure against Lewis sax 3 715 - Crks
twisted vocal samples into the air. It as he relives the Northern night on fire. 4 33 God
suddenly feels like it might be a long night. a useful comparison is Van Morrison at 5 29 #Stafford
as soon as he starts singing the glitchy his performing peak, where a concert Apts
22 (Over Sn), however, all defences becomes not just a series of songs but an 6 666 from revealing his shopping habits, theres
crumble. His voice is extraordinary; the immersive journey, each piece a staging 7 21 Mn Water a recurring verbal riff about psychedelic
music both pleasingly confrontational post on the road towards transcendence. 8 8 (circle) drugs. Is anybody here on some serious
9 ____45____
and breath-haltingly beautiful; the sound Having turned 22, A Million on its LSD? Vernon asks, laughing. LSD can
10 Babys
mix exceptional. Behind his headphones, head, Vernon works backwards through 11 Perth
help Know what I mean? Later, he
Vernon is locked in, but somehow, we are previous incarnations of Bon Iver. It feels 12 Minnesota, WI takes a moment to mention Tom Waits.
not shut out. like a shedding of skins. He sits at the 13 Take It With Me The Playhouse was the site of Waits most
The first half of the show showcases piano for Babys, from the Blood Bank 14 Flume recent UK performance, in 2008. We
22, A Million, performed in sequence and EP, which builds and flows around Lewis 15 Creature Fear heard this is the only room in the world
omitting only the final track, 00000 saxophone improvisations. Minnesota, ENCORE he likes to play, says Vernon, before
Million. In theory, the album seems WI is pattering electro-funk, sharp 16 Woods performing Take It With Me, a ballad
ill-designed for the stage, with its abrupt and cold, while Perth rides a military 17 The Wolves (Act from Mule Variations. Its a stunning
I & II)
sonic cut-ups, bastardised vocal samples, rhythm, overlaid with crunching guitar. SECOND ENCORE
moment, his voice for once pitched low
synthetic textures and runic abstraction. For all its nuance, this trio can kick up a 18 Skinny Love and hesitant, backed by rudimentary
In practice, under the lights, it gains both fuss when the occasion demands it. piano and bass. Its got to be more than
drama and a powerful immediacy. audience interaction is minimal. aside flesh and bone, he sings. All that youve

94 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


L i VE

Mikaela Davis drags her harp centre stage, all painted Sinatra blue, the room turns
and they perform Flume as a stately the appropriate colour, before the hushed,

Perth rides a military duet. Creature Fear is heavy, slow and


spare, peppered with Southern soul licks,
circling coda What might have been
lost spirals into a primal roar.

rhythm, overlaid with like a backwoods Purple Rain. Before


long Vernon is down among the pedals,
coaxing waves of sheer noise. It sounds
Its a fitting end. The house lights go up.
No-one leaves. Eventually Vernon returns
alone with his acoustic guitar for Skinny
crunching guitar like some hulking piece of machinery
coming to life or crashing.
Love. His voice is ragged, cracking in
parts. He has next to nothing left to give,
CALUM BUCHAN PHOTOGRAPHY

They leave to a standing ovation. Vernon but seems determined to give it anyway.
loved is all you own. Waits simple comes back alone to sing Woods, built When he leaves to another ovation,
sentiment seems to make concrete all the entirely from a dizzying stack of layered smiling and clutching his heart, he
abstract spiritual longing Vernon strives to voices and ending in a sustained howl. looks both spent and transported. Fame
articulate throughout the evening. Lewis and Carey return to perform The might be a hollow reward, but tonight Bon
Things take a more organic turn. He Wolves, which has a rough-hewn, bluesy Ivers music travelled about as deep as
straps on an acoustic guitar, support act power. When Vernon sings your eyes are its possible to go. GRAEME THOMSON

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 95


Her understated
songs continue
to endure
decades later

SUzaNNE VEga SETLIST 99.9F, the album Vega released to much


less fuss 25 years ago. Issued not long after
1 toms diner English duo DNA remixed Toms Diner
(a cappella)
as a trip-hop anthem, the record seemed to
The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, 2 Luka
3 ironbound /
plug into the same desire for reinvention.
September 30, 2017 fancy Poultry
4 in the eye
Vegas transition from beatnik-ish
songwriter to industrial-folk composer
Solitude still standing. A quiet revolutionary 5 night Vision
6 solitude
is fascinating from this distance. Blood
Makes Noise is a dauntless piece of avant-
revisits the songs that made her

T
standing rock in which Leonard finally gets to play
7 Calypso
loose and dangerous. Intriguingly, it also
8 Language
hIRTy years ago, Solitude Standing by playing the entire hints at what might have been, had Vega
9 Gypsy
Suzanne Vega found thing in sequence, beginning with 10 Wooden opted to pursue this more experimental
herself at pops head the a cappella version of Toms Diner Horse (Caspar new direction in earnest.
table, largely due to the and ending with the enthralling Hausers song) Other numbers tentatively follow a
unexpected success of Wooden horse (Caspar hausers Song), 11 Rock in this similar path, most notably Rock In
Pocket (song
Luka, a song about which rushes to a close on an emphatic This Pocket (Song Of David) and the
of david)
child abuse that became a drum rhythm. 12 blood Makes textural triumph that is Song Of Sand.
monster global hit. Parent album Solitude With her is the albums original bassist, noise Lyrically too, 99.9F is darker and more
Standing did platinum-selling business, Mike Visceglia, along with drummer 13 in Liverpool disconsolate than Solitude Standing. Vega
too, positing her as the commercial face of Doug yowell and, on guitar, the estimable 14 99.9f tells how she hired a private detective to
neo-folk, the likes of Shawn Colvin, Edie Gerry Leonard, best known for his work 15 blood sings find her biological father, who left home
Brickell and Nanci Griffith in her wake. with David Bowie from Heathen onwards. 16 fat Man And before she was two, as an introduction to
dancing Girl
Vega was a somewhat unlikely Vega herself is in fine voice, her purity Blood Sings, which was inspired by the
17 As A Child
candidate for stardom. Pale, unshowy and and range unsullied by the years. The title 18 bad Wisdom short, tragic life of her uncle.
bookish, Vega seemed to be the antithesis track is a particularly glorious moment, 19 When Heroes There are even some direct parallels
of 80s flounce, a diarist of the vulnerable her delicate acoustic guitar notes rising Go down between the thematic concerns of each
and the damaged, loading her outsider and fading as Leonard picks out a rolling 20 As Girls Go record. Bad Wisdom, a sensitive acoustic
songs with poetic detail and a detached electric motif. And while one or two 21 song of sand ballad about unspoken childhood terrors,
wistfulness. A gift for observing life tunes stray towards the formless Night EncorE feels like a companion to Luka. And,
22 toms diner
through panes of glass was most famously, Vision and Language she can still on a slightly lighter note, In Liverpool
(full band)
and literally, illustrated by Toms Diner, spin a pretty good yarn. She prefaces 23 Left of Centre is a sequel to Gypsy, written in the
written while seated in a Broadway eaterie. Gypsy, for instance, with a story about 24 Marlene on hometown of her counsellor beau in a
Its a testament to the understated falling for a fellow counsellor at summer the Wall hotel room one miserable Sunday,
Robin LittLe/RedfeRns

quality of Vegas songs that they continue camp aged 18, the pair bonding over Vegas memories chilled by time. No
to endure decades later. Over-familiarity Leonard Cohens back catalogue. When reason to even remember you now, she
may have dulled the appeal of both the its time to leave, she offers him the songs sings, over atonal acoustic guitar. Not for
aforementioned hits, but the lesser- lyrics, he gives her a bandana. the first time tonight, its a song that lingers
celebrated gems shine brighter. Tonight Since were marking occasions, the long after its chords have subsided.
shes toasting the Pearl anniversary of second half of the show is given over to rob hughes

96 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


S.J.M. CONCERTS PRESENTS

THE ARCHITECT TOUR 2018


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MARCH 2018

22 LIVERPOOL OLYMPIA
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carGo collecTiVe

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presents classic debut album on heavy-weight for wrong notes that explode, a quiet muttering ears. clash calls it absorbing, insightful, material in 5 years. moJo compares them to
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sunnY & The sunliners The culTs The weaTher sTaTion hiss Golden messenGer
mr. Brown eYed soul offerinG The weaTher sTaTion halleluJah anYhow
BiG crown lp / cd sinderlYn lp / cd paradise of Bachelors lp / cd merGe records lp / cd
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omni Behind the shadow drops The GraniTe shore Various arTisTs
mulTi-Task harmonic suspended second deeplY Vale fesTiVal
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Television live at CBGBs,
NYC, 1975: (l-r) Richard
Hell, Tom Verlaine,
Richard Lloyd, Billy Ficca

I
suppose I wanted to REVIEwED pharmaceutical cocaine and a willing at the core of her book, though her 82 years
be God, writes Richard THIS MONTH quack-doctor, whose uptown waiting have hardly been short of further incident.
Lloyd in Everything Is room at one point also contains Mick part of a large family raised by left-
Combustible, the Television Taylor and Felix pappalardi. leaning musicians Charlie and Dio,
guitarists eccentric, By Televisions second Lp, Adventure, seegers background is one of relaxed,
episodic memoir, which feels at times Lloyd has tired of Verlaines silly little liberal privilege. At their Maryland
like stumbling into an unmapped and songs and dictatorial attitude. Now homestead, the arts prevail: Jackson
somewhat inhospitable foreign land. a full blown junkie, in London hes pollock and Alan Lomax are liable to pop
Lloyds life has been scarred by mental delivered to hospital DoA by peter perrett, over; by her teens, her folk-guru older
illness, drug abuse, alcoholism and whod administered a dose of super- brother pete is already a star.
prostitution. I have a huge tolerance for strength heroin. electric shock treatment she is wilful, clever, curious. seeger
pain, he writes, not unreasonably, having saves his life. Following his first solo arrives in england at Lomaxs behest in
been hospitalised several times since his EVERYTHING IS album, Alchemy A pop classic hes March 1956. Banjo in hand, I tottered in
teens, in places that made One Flew Over COMBUSTIBLE: dropped by elektra and descends into on high heels to meet my next 33 years.
The Cuckoos Nest look like kindergarten. TELEVISION, the Great Depression of 1980-84. Later, What she actually meets is MacColl, who
CBGBS AND
As a child, he takes refuge in sacred FIVE DECADES OF come periods of sobriety and relapse, sternly declares his love the following
silences and magical thinking, ROCK AND ROLL happy spells playing alongside Matthew day, overcome with sudden amorous
bending reality to fit his will. It seems to RICHARD LLOYD sweet, and far too much detail about his urges. seeger reciprocates, though she
work. During an unanchored adolescence BEECH HILL PUBLISHING torrential sexual appetites. (Im lucky doesnt always seem sure why. she writes
7/10
he talks space dribble with Hendrix, enough to have once had sex with a girl about his vociferous and hypocritical
gets a guitar lesson from John Lee Hooker, who was a sword swallower. she loved to purisms, his selfishness and cruelty, as
and projectile vomits in Buddy Guys swallow my sword) well as his power. His death in 1989 comes
dressing room. He plays drums, until his Lloyds writing is like his soloing: utterly shortly after the beginning of seegers
drums start speaking to him: You need to individual, adventurous, tonally uneven: unexpected love affair with a woman,
play a melodic instrument, they say. He at times disjointed; at others thrilling. Irene, who remains her life partner today.
sells drugs to raise $200 for a stratocaster, Recent events are covered in haste. In she confronts the pain, guilt, wonder and
and were away. 2007 he leaves the reformed Television, duplicity of this domestic rupture with
In scuzzy 70s NYC he enters the orbit still cursing Verlaine. He never lost his disarming honesty.
of Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell, and free-floating contempt for anything or Her writing is a treat. MacColls
forms Television. Verlaine is a stern, anybody that wasnt him He was an mother, Betsy, is the size of tuppence,
abstemious musical director, Hell an FIRST TIME EVER: absolute embarrassment to be around. all tongue and temper, short on
untutored agitator. Billy Ficca also A MEMOIR More happily, he writes of profound tenderness. A young Albert Grossman
PEGGY SEEGER
arrives, a stubborn drummer with a carrot FABER & FABER encounters with the work of Gurdjieff is ripe with entitled self-confidence
addiction so fierce it turns his skin orange. 8/10 and Cynthia plastercaster, the mixture of an unappetising man, fish mouth, little
Lloyd tries to find his place, as Television the sacred and profane summing up the pebble glasses, little pebble eyes. Music
make their debut at CBGBs in 1974, where governing forces of a chaotic life. flows through it all, natural and unforced.
they help build the stage and the scene. peggy seegers poetic, unflinching Amid the personal detail, seeger tracks
RichaRd E. aaRon/REdfERns

There are soft words for The Ramones autobiography, First Time Ever, takes the changing tides of the folk tradition
and Blondie, harder ones for patti smith. its title from The First Time ever I saw from the 50s to the present day. she
Already a raging alcoholic, Lloyd gets Your Face, the song ewan MacColl wrote regards herself as a link in the chain of
into heroin with Hell, who is gone long for her in the mid-50s at the start of their oral tradition. Like my physical children,
before the majestic Marquee Moon lands love affair. Her 30-year relationship with [songs] form my core unlike my physical
in 1977. He is befriended by Keith Richards MacColl 20 years her senior, and already children, they have grown towards me
and Anita pallenberg, bonding over a husband and father when they meet is rather than away. Graeme Thomson

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 107


Robert Pattinson is a
lost soul; Clooney helps
the Coens; Grace Jones

G
hula hoops in a corset...
ood time It is certainly
a good time to be Robert
Pattinson. Its hard to
think of another young
actor who has moved
so far and at such
velocity away from the
long shadow cast by a breakthrough role. By
now, Pattinson is a long way from Twilights
Edward Cullen. There have been two fruitful
collaborations with David Cronenberg
Cosmopolis and Maps To The Stars and
more recently he was good in enterprising
supporting roles for Brady Corbet (The
Childhood Of A Leader) and James Gray
(The Lost City Of Z, where he was almost
unrecognisable beneath a Garth Hudson-
style beard). There is also High Life, for Claire
Denis, to come. For Good Time, Pattinson
has hooked up with Josh and Bennie Safdie,
brothers who have spent a decade making
scrappy, low-budget movies on the streets of
New York freewheeling, urban stories, in Shooting Denis Villeneuves vision of tomorrow balances with the more sorrowful Tess. But
other words, that hark back to an earlier era star: Robert is visually staggering, strafed by neon, the film belongs to 86-year-old Smith, borne
Pattinson in
of filmmaking. A good primer to the Safdies Good Time Marjorie Prime is a less hyperbolic affair back ceaselessly into the past on a wave of
work is 2009s Daddy Longlegs, a semi- with not even so much as a hovercar in sight. faded, unreliable memories. It is a smart film,
autobiographical piece about a manic father This is a sci-fi chamber piece, set in the near and one that bears close scrutiny: there are
and his relationship with his two children. future, where a service allows people to subtle shifts in the characterisations, and
In Good Time, Pattinson plays Constantine generate a hologram of a deceased person rather like the Replicants hunted in Blade
Connie Nikas, a bright, resourceful petty a Prime. This is how we meet Marjorie (Lois Runner, we are required to ask: what makes
crook who falls into a night-long churn of Smith), who has chosen to resurrect, in a us human? The misty score by Mica Levi,
violence and exploitation, redeemed only by 3D facsimile, her late husband Walter (Jon who worked on Under The Skin, is full of
the unshakeable love he holds for his brother, Hamm). It might seem a ghoulish business low-key, electronic pulses.
Nick (Benny Safdie). The Safdies shoot in to Marjories daughter Tess (Geena Davis),
tight close-ups or restless tracking shots that but it brings Marjorie some joy in her ailing, the meYerowitZ stories (new And
weave round or occasionally lurch towards final years. Meanwhile, Tess husband Jon seLeCted) Noah Baumbachs latest takes
their protagonists. A heist goes wrong, (Tim Robbins) feeds Walter memories and place in a faded corner of Greenwich Village.
a breakout is spectacularly botched and observations to help build his character. But There, we meet the Meyerowitz, a once-
Connie finds himself hunting round a theme how reliable is he? Did Walter propose to storied intellectual family in decline. On
park in the dead of night for a valuable bottle Marjorie after they saw Casablanca? Or was it paper, at least, Noah Baumbachs latest
of liquid LSD in the company of Ray (Buddy My Best Friends Wedding? Who really knows project available now on Netflix recalls
Duress), another nocturnal chancer. Jennifer for sure? Game appearances in Black Mirror the filmmakers breakthrough film, 2005s
Jason Leigh co-stars, drawing the film back or Toast Of London aside, Hamm has long The Squid And The Whale. Instead of Jeff
to Last Exit To Brooklyn or Rush; other films struggled to find a shape to his career post- Daniels pompous novelist, we have Dustin
about lost souls out on the fringes. Mad Men the tiresome Baby Driver, earlier Hoffman as a prickly sculptor. While
this year, was certainly a step backwards. Baumbachs earlier film focused on a callow
mArJorie Prime Themes of identity and He is excellent here, though, as the curious, 16-year-old and his precocious younger
artificial memory are hot currency right now empathic hologram. Robbins and Davis brother, this new film is filtered through the
thanks to Blade Runner 2049. But if director are terrific Jon has a hangdog charm that experiences of older siblings: the likeable,

reviewed this month


Good time mArJorie the sUBUrBiCon GrACe
directed by: Prime meYerowitZ directed by: Jones:
Josh and directed by: stories George BLoodLiGht
Benny Safdie michael (new And Clooney And BAmi
starring: almereyda seLeCted) starring: directed by:
robert starring: directed by: matt damon, Sophie Fiennes
Pattinson, lois Smith, noah Julianne starring:
Buddy duress Jon Hamm Baumbach moore Grace Jones,
opens: opens: starring: opens: Jean-Paul
november 3 november 3 adam Sandler, november 24 Goude
Cert: 15 Cert: 12a Ben Stiller Cert: 15 opens:
8/10 8/10 opened: oct 13 7/10 october 27
Cert: 15 Cert: 15
8/10 7/10

108 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


from the late 80s, it has languished on the
shelf until 2005, when it was first rumoured ALso oUt...
that George Clooney would star and direct.
Clooney retains his director chair, but his FerrAri: rACe to immortALitY
wingman, Matt Damon, now takes the lead, OPENS NOvEMBER 3
toplining an impressive cast that includes doc about the early years of the Ferrari
Julianne Moore (in two roles) and Oscar racing team during the first decade of
Isaac. The story takes place in the late 50s the Formula one World Championship.
amid the picket fences and manicured lawns
of Suburbicon, a perfect post-war town with mUrder on the orient
its own choir and hospital. The friendly, eXPress OPENS NOvEMBER 3
good-natured residents show an altogether Kenneth Branaghs Hercule Poirot
uglier side when Mr and Mrs Meyers and the investigates murder most foul
young son, Andy, move in: they are black, thesps include Jacobi, dench,
and unwelcome here. Clooney evidently Pfeiffer, depp, etc.
sees parallels between the 50s and the
present day, offering up a commentary about the KiLLinG oF A sACred deer
racism and hypocrisy in middle-class white OPENS NOvEMBER 3
America. Its unclear, incidentally, how much a strong year for nicole Kidman

Pattinson is work Clooney and his regular screenwriting


partner Grant Heslov have done to the Coens
continues with yorgos lanthimos
idiosyncratic dark comedy. Co-

now a long original story; some elements have been


incorporated from another project Clooney
was involved with, about a true-life crime
starring Colin Farrell.

sorCerer OPENS NOvEMBER 3


way from in Pennsylvania. Indeed, in parallel with Friedkins thriller back on the big

Twilights
the storyline about racial victimisation runs screen, with roy Scheider transporting
another, involving Damons police chief, nitroglycerin across South america.
Gardner Lodge. In Coen-esque fashion, there
Edward Cullen is murder, conspiracy and insurance scams
remember, this was written just after Blood
Simple and the darker Lodges storyline
becomes, the funnier it gets.
underachieving musician Danny (Adam
Sandler) and the unlikeable, overachieving GrACe Jones: BLoodLiGht And BAmi
accountant Matthew (Ben Stiller). This time, Over the opening credits, director Sophie
there is a sister, Jean (Elizabeth Marvel), Fiennes films Grace Jones performing Slave Arnold
whose own traumas are not revealed until To The Rhythm in concert. We see Jones Schwarzenegger
in Predator
late in the game. Regular followers of first in a billowing purple robes with her
Baumbachs film will also spot assorted face obscured by a golden skull mask. Next,
themes that recur throughout his crisp body shes hula hooping in a corset. The sequence PredAtor OPENS NOvEMBER 9
of work, from quarrelling siblings (The Squid becomes a tribute to Jones remarkable thirtieth-anniversary reissue. arnie
And The Whale, Margot At The Wedding) to physicality Mick Jagger aside, its hard takes on an extraterrestrial warrior in
high-end literary chat (Mistress America). to think of another artist who palpably the Central american jungles. Whats
There are broader comparisons, too to JD concentrates on their performance quite not to love?
Salingers Glass stories, Jonathan Franzens this hard. Indeed, when one thinks of Jones
The Corrections (Baumbach worked on an colourful artistic turns musician, fashion KALeidosCoPe
HBO pilot) and Wes Andersons The Royal muse, actress, socialite it is possible OPENS NOvEMBER 10
Tenenbaums. For all its familiar strokes, to view her entire career as an ongoing reviewed last issue. Psychological
The Meyerowitz Stories (New And Selected) performance-art statement, with a sideline in drama with toby Jones unraveling
is one of Baumbachs best, partly because fancy hats. Filmed over five years in suitably on a council estate.
the acting is so good. Stiller on his third glamorous locations ranging from Jamaica
film with Baumbach finds ways to subtly and Moscow to Tokyo and NYC, Fiennes doc PAddinGton 2
endear us to Matthew. Sandler, meanwhile, does much to upholster Jones well-heeled OPENS NOvEMBER 10
is superb as both fretful son and doting myth. There are champagne breakfasts, this time its personal. the bear is back:
father, delivering a performance of comic strops at hapless TV producers, and dramas marmalade sandwiches all round!
precision thats arguably his best work since over unpaid hotel bills. But the other side
Punch Drunk Love. Hoffman, meanwhile, is is Jones, the sixtysomething grandmother, FiLm stArs dont die in
as terrific as youd expect as the rambling, who Fiennes only ever tantalisingly exposes. LiverPooL OPENS NOvEMBER 17
cantankerous pater familias. There is strong A family get-together in Jamaica goes some annette Bening falls for Jamie Bell in
work from Marvel and in an amazing piece way to illuminating Jones backstory. In this true-life tale of Hollywood glamour
of casting Emma Thompson as Harolds conversation with her former partner, Jean- on the mersey.
florid current wife. Cameos abound Adam Paul Goude, she discusses loneliness and her
SunSet Boulevard/CorBiS via Getty imaGeS

Driver, Candice Bergen, Rebecca Miller and fathers death but Jones, wise to Fiennes JUstiCe LeAGUe
Judd Hirsch though it is the three male camera, switches topics before getting too OPENS NOvEMBER 17
leads who dominate, particularly Sandler. deep. Its colourful stuff, and Fiennes does dCs superhero ensemble: hoping
a staunch job, but this is all very much on this is more Wonder Woman and less
sUBUrBiCon When the history of the Coen Jones terms. The performer out there Batman Vs Superman.
Brothers is finally written it is unlikely there takes the risk, she says, expounding on her
will be much room for Crimewave, Gambit or methodology. If the lights should go out, BrAKes OPENS NOvEMBER 24
Unbroken: projects the Coens have scripted if the roof, the electricity, the sound fails, micro-budget Brit comedy with noel
but not brought their distinctive directorial I can still perform and hold the audience Fielding and Julian Barratt united for
touch to. Suburbicon is another entry in in the dark without any trimmings. Its a the first time since The Mighty Boosh.
this shadow history of the Coens. Dating fascinating, lonely place. MICHAEL BONNER Paul mcGann and Julia davis co-star.

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 109


last show well ever do
shenanigans. The best sections
here are those that take you
inside the circus of 72-74, and
articulate more fully the films
central assertion. Tour manager
Tony Zanetta is brilliantly
candid on the insanity of
Bowies first steps Stateside.
Pianist Mike Garson whose
plangent, jazzist keys brought
a new palette to the Bowie
sound offers the musicians
perspective, and privileges
Ronsons contribution over
Bowies. Who was the guy
with the headphones, giving
me the chord charts and telling
me Thats a B-Minor? That
was Ronno. In a nice touch,
Garson performs an improvised
solo tribute to Ronson, which
soundtracks the film credits.
Visconti, too, is a great
inclusion: 40 years on, hes
still almost incredulous at
Ronsons musicality, workrate
and technical capabilities.
It was Visconti who taught
the guitarist the rudiments

BEsiDE BowiE: ThE


of scoring and orchestration, and within
weeks Ronson was creating the sweeping,
multi-tonal opulence that would characterise

MiCk RoNsoN sToRy


MVD
Moonage Daydream et al. Wakeman takes
you inside the chord arrangements of Life
On Mars, and Lou Reed, in the studio, pulls
down the faders so Ronsons baroque string
8/10 arrangements can be heard in isolation. Boy,
Ronson is good, he remarks, in some awe.
Giving a rocknroll alchemist his due. By Mark Bentley Money or lack of it is a recurring theme
here. With Bowie in thrall to hardball
Does Mick Ronson need starmen: Angie Bowie, Ian Hunter, Rick Wakeman, manager Tony Defries (not interviewed here,
critical rehabilitation? Bowie and Earl Slick, Micks wife Suzi and sister Maggi, unsurprisingly) and his MainMan machine,
Ronson on
The contention of this Granada Dana Gillespie, Def Leppards Joe Elliott and we are told how Mick and his fellow Spiders
slick, single-issue TVs Lift Off more. Its blue chip, certainly: theres an were essentially accused of treason for
With Ayshea
documentary is in 1972 eerie, oddly stilted voiceover from Bowie, asking for more cash and this despite the
that down-to-earth, interviews with Lou Reed, and archive chats fact that Garson and other touring musicians
unassuming Ronno with Ronno himself. were on a significantly better weekly wage.
never received his Told in an uncomplicated chronological Recognising Ronsons huge value, Defries
due, and that his contribution to Bowies arc, the film traces Micks first encounters tried to set him up as a solo artist. But Mick
rise and rise has languished in the words with Bowie, via mutual acquaintance, was the lieutenant, not the general, and by
of the films PR messaging virtually Rats/Hype drummer John Cambridge. this time, were an hour and 10 minutes in.
uncelebrated. Sure, he was a genius Theres insiderist analysis into their John Slaughter On 10th Avenue and Micks other
guitarist, but thats underselling matters. Peel session, with less than two hours solo output and his on-off work with Mott
Mick Ronson should instead be viewed rehearsal, when Bowie hires a clearly The Hoople is dealt with in perfunctory
as Bowies multi-skilled creative director, nonplussed Mick live on air. There are haste. Money colours this section too.
the man who designed and built Ziggys sweet moments, too, from future wife Suzi His post-Bowie income was erratic,
architecture, transformed Lou Reeds Ronson who cut Davids mums hair in a unpredictable and often negligible; the cash
Transformer, and alchemised his boss Beckenham salon and crashing out at the from Ronsons producer role on Morrisseys
impossible vision into rocknroll gold. And crumbling Bowie HQ, Haddon Hall. Ronsons Your Arsenal in 1992 was spent first on the
all for 50 a week. uncomplicated Hullishness is highlighted heating bill. The film is bookended by his
The case is presented skilfully by music throughout. Id never seen rooms that contribution to the Freddie Mercury Tribute
industry insider/film director Jon Brewer, big before, recalls Ronson, in an archive Concert, Ronno back onstage with Bowie, a
who worked with the Bowie camp in the 70s spot. We hear about the night Mick partied last hurrah before his death from liver cancer
(alongside 10 Years After, Gene Clark, Yes at Andy Warhols apartment, enjoying a in 1993, aged just 46.
and Gerry Rafferty) and is the man behind surprisingly traditional spread of wine, Beside Bowie is intriguing rather than
reX/shutterstOck

multiple rock docs, including the Classic cheese and crackers. We step aboard the revelatory, thought-provoking rather than
Artists Series, and an acclaimed life of BB frighteningly fast Bowie fame train, from endlessly fascinating. It keeps its electric eye
King. His little black book has been thumbed the world premire of Hunky Dory at Friars, unwaveringly on that central message and
extensively for this 102-minute essay, which in Aylesbury (entrance: 50p), to Top Of The somehow without making Bowie out to be
features new interviews with Tony Visconti, Pops, a chaotic US tour and Hammersmiths the bad guy.

110 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


ThE BEATLEs New york hitmakers:
(l-r) Neil Diamond,
how ThE BEATLEs ChANGED Ellie Greenwich,
ThE woRLD Bert Berns and Jeff
Vision FilMs Barry, circa 1966

8/10
A much-told tale refreshed with rare
archive footage
Drawing on footage from
the archives of ITN much
of it in black-and-white,
and seldom seen since its
original transmission in
the 1960s this visually
stimulating film tells a
familiar story with a smart
twist, by vividly setting
the musical narrative in the cultural, social
and political context of the time. The archive
material is complemented by an erudite
commentary and incisive observations
BANG! ThE BERT
from a team of well-chosen talking heads,
including former close Beatles associates
Barry Miles and John Dunbar.
BERNs sToRy
RAVin FilMs
Extras: None.
NIGEL WILLIAMSON
JEFF LyNNEs ELo
8/10
DUDEs wEMBLEy oR BUsT Colourful take on the short life of the
sHoUT FACToRY sonY/ColUMBiA classic songwriter and BANG! Records
6/10 8/10 supremo. By Graeme Thomson
Penelope Spheeris turns punks Mega blowout from this summers Alone
into cowboys In The Universe tour Bert Berns was a triple threat: writer, producer
Dudes was one of In the commentary and, according to Exciters singer Brenda
three indie features to this weighty Reid, white soul brother. A swaggering,
Spheeris made in live set, Jeff Lynne charismatic Bronx boy who wrote dozens of
between the first two calls the Wembley classics Piece Of My Heart, Under The
parts of The Decline Of Stadium gig the Boardwalk, Here Comes The Night and
Western Civilization. most ambitious Twist And Shout among them Berns
It is a genre mash-up thing Ive ever was one of the greatest songwriters of all
that was too odd for done. Paul bloody time, according to Keith Richards,
its time: an action- Dugdales film one of several stellar interviewees in a film narrated, with full
western-comedy featuring John Cryer and basically follows the same format as 2015s Noo Yawk brio, by Stevie Van Zandt. Its a colourful tale, mostly
Daniel Roebuck as New York punks who spectacular Live In Hyde Park, ELO rolling pieced together by wiseacre Brill Building types talking out of
tangle with desperados in the American out the hits with sparkle and panache. This the sides of their mouths. Mobsters pepper the narrative and tall
west. Unsurprisingly, several musician pals time, however, backstage interviews with tales abound. When 35-year-old Berns marries Ilena, a 22-year-
serve as actors here, including Flea as a bandmembers lift the lid on Lynnes working old Jewish go-go dancer, his mother warns him her youthful
fellow punk and Fear frontman Lee Ving as methods, revealing a humble genius with a beauty will prove fatal to a heart weakened by a childhood bout
the villain. John Densmore appears briefly as perfectionists ear. of rheumatic fever. Aware that his time on earth was likely to be
an unlucky deputy. Extras: 7/10. Accompanying 2CD set, limited, Berns lived life to the full, but an underlying sadness
Extras: 8/10. Featurettes and new interviews climaxing with Mr Blue Sky and Roll played out in his songs. They were complex and neurotic
with Spheeris, cast members and other Over Beethoven. pieces, says his biographer, masquerading as teenage records.
collaborators. JASON ANDERSON ROb HUGHES His love of Cuba he claimed to have run guns and drugs
for the revolution can be heard in his early hits for Atlantic,
EVERy PiCTURE TELLs A LiFE is swEET including Solomon Burkes Cry To Me and The Exciters Tell
sToRy ThE ART FiLMs oF BFi Him, which introduced Afro-Cuban rhythms to rocknroll and
JAMEs sCoTT 8/10 R&B. After The Beatles covered Twist And Shout and The
BFi Rolling Stones recorded Everybody Needs Somebody To Love,
Mike Leighs Enfield MasterChef Berns travelled to London to scout talent, working briefly with
7/10
Theres a grotesque Them. Van Morrison pops up in Ray-Bans and Barbour jacket,
The art of experimental art exposed fascination to Timothy in unusually gracious form. The guy was a genius, he says.
The title film is Scotts Spalls turn as Aubrey, A brilliant songwriter with a lot of soul.
fond, narrative 1984 the restaurateur whose Later, Berns formed BANG! Records and made Brown Eyed
documentary about his meltdown is framed Girl with Morrison, as well as launching the career of Neil
artist father Williams within an apparently Diamond. By now, he has money coming out the yin-yang
childhood. While amiable suburban and is bosom buddies with Tommy Eboli, head of the Genovese
sensitively realised, its of comedy, but the films crime family, a knee-buster and leg-breaker of the first order.
less interest than Scotts desperation is masked by When things go awry, Diamond is threatened and his manager
Michael Ochs archives/Getty iMaGes

collaborative art shorts. nuanced comic turns from Alison Steadman, mugged. Morrison goes through similar torture. A spectacular
Claus Oldenburg gets the Jim Broadbent and Jane Horrocks (who feud with Jerry Wexler, Berns mentor and business partner,
kaleidoscope treatment with a two-parter, explains Leighs process in the extras). ends with Goodfellas levels of intimidation. His desk is loaded
designed to be viewed simultaneously Extras: 7/10. Leighs 36-minute short, A with pill bottles and a revolver, and he seemed stressed all the
through dual projectors, but the David Running Jump, made for the 2012 Cultural time which coming from Van Morrison is saying something.
Hockney film is more instructive. RB Kitaj Olympiad. The sporting theme is loosely Berns fragile heart finally failed on December 30, 1967,
reveals a nagging social conscience, applied. Theres a bit of yoga, and Eddie aged 38. I dont know where hes buried, but if I did Id piss
Richard Hamilton dismisses art films, and an Marsans dodgy car salesman runs around a on his grave, was Wexlers eulogy. This vibrant film while
unrepentant Jamie Reid glories in the rip-off. lot. Its beautifully observed, if inconclusive. acknowledging the dark stuff offers a more generous
Extras: 7/10. BFI introduction/Q&A, Plus: interviews, audio commentary. assessment of a man who, says Paul McCartney, deserves
interview, essays. ALASTAIR McKAY ALASTAIR MCKAY to be elevated to his rightful place.

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 111


the song. As Schmidt once marvelled:
holger was able to create in the most
improvisational way, to edit forms which
didnt exist before.
This approach fed directly into Cans
anything-goes philosophy, as they twisted
jazz, rock and avant-garde elements into
innovative new forms. The musics steady
pulse, meanwhile, was provided by
Czukays bubbling basslines and Liebezeits
uncanny rhythmic precision. Relocating
to the village of Weilerswist in 1971, Can
converted an old movie theatre into their
own Inner Space studio, which Czukay
saw as a temple, like a church It was the
beginning of sampling, you can say.
Following the departure of original
frontman Malcolm Mooney, Czukay was
also instrumental in finding a replacement.
he and Liebezeit were sitting outside a caf
in Munich when they spied Japanese busker
Damo Suzuki, chanting his way across
the street. Czukay turned to his bandmate
and said, This is our new singer, before
introducing himself and inviting Suzuki to
join them onstage that night.
Can shifted towards more ambient music
after Suzuki quit in 1973. Two years later they
signed to Richard Bransons Virgin label,
gaining access to state-of-the-art multi-track
mixers. But Czukay became disillusioned
with Cans smoother, less organic strategies,
calling it the beginning of the end. Feeling
himself increasingly sidelined by new
technology, along with the arrival of bassist
Rosko Gee and percussionist Rebop Kwaku
Baah (both formerly of Traffic), he left the
band after 1977s Saw Delight.
his solo career began with 1979s Movies,
a brilliantly idiosyncratic work that found
him goofing around on Cool In The Pool
and continuing his collage experiments with
epics like hollywood Symphony. Czukays
ongoing pursuit of sampling, integrating
audio clips and using

HOLGER shortwave radio as a live


instrument, led him to

CZUKAY He saw Cans Inner describe his working


method as radio
Co-founder of Can
(1938-2017)
Space studio as a painting. Aside from his
solo albums, the last of

T
he turning point in holger temple, like a church which was 2015s Eleven
Years Innerspace, Czukay
worked with a number
Czukays creative life came in
1968, while he was employed as of free-thinkers over the
a music teacher in Switzerland. he co-founded Can, initially called Inner decades, from Brian eno, Jah Wobble and
One of his students, 19-year-old Space, with Karoli, drummer Jaki Liebezeit, David Sylvian, to his wife Ursula Kloss, better
flautist David C Johnson and another ex- known as U-She. Kloss, who passed away in
Michael Karoli, started playing I Am The
Stockhausen pupil, Irmin Schmidt. Czukay July, had begun rebuilding Czukays beloved
Walrus on guitar. Primarily a jazz fan and
quickly established himself as the bands Inner Space studio for him in 2004. It was
a former pupil of minimalist composer
sound engineer, augmenting his duties as there, less than six weeks after her death, that
Karlheinz Stockhausen, Czukay suddenly
bass player by experimenting with drum his body was found. At the time of writing,
saw new possibilities. It was really machines, shortwave radios and sine-wave the cause of his death was unknown.
something, he recalled to this writer in 2011. generators in their rehearsal space outside My wife made this studio so
The Beatles had taken what Stockhausen
BrIan rasIc/Getty IMaGes

Cologne. hed then splice together the best extraordinary, Czukay said of Inner Space
had done in a serious way and made it much bits from hours of improvised recordings, a in 2011. I dont think theres anywhere in
more playful in a pop music way. I thought it process he likened to filmmaking. When the world that can compete with it. A friend
Czukay:
was fantastic, so unusual. bubbling the day was over, I took my tape recorder of mine came here and said, I dont want to
This discovery, in turn, ignited his interest basslines home and edited those first-generation leave. Its like entering the palace of the King
and brilliant
in the non-linear works of Frank Zappa and musical tapes, he explained. Then Id bring them Of Morocco. he couldnt believe it. Its always
The Velvet Underground. A short time later collages in the next day and say, Thats it. Thats been a very magical place. ROB HUGHES

112 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


JACK GOOD Cliff Richard, Billy Fury and Marty their way up
TV pop show producer Wilde, with the latter going on to through the
(1931-2017) present another Good vehicle, Boy tough local bar
Meets Girls. After 1960s short-lived scene. hlubek
Attending a screening of Rock Wham!, Good felt rocknroll had run co-wrote much
Around The Clock gave producer Jack its course, the producer resurfacing of their material,
Virgil Howe
Good the idea for Six-Five Special. four years later on American TV with including with Little
Struck by the sight of cinema-goers the successful pop show Shindig!. 1979s signature Barrie, 2012
dancing in the aisles, Good devised song, Flirtin
a live rocknroll show that allowed DAve HlubeK With Disaster, before his growing latest tour. hed joined the trio in
the teenage audience to mingle Molly Hatchet founder dependency on cocaine led to him 2008, having previously
freely with the performers. It was a (1951-2017) quitting Molly hatchet in 1987. he been a member of The Dirty Feel

andrew Maccoll/reX/shutterstock
loose format, first aired on the BBC in rejoined the group in 2005. and The Killer Meters, while his
February 1957, that swiftly became As lead guitarist and founder numerous collaborations with
a template for teen TV. Despite member of Molly hatchet, Dave virGil HOwe father Steve howe, guitarist for
viewing figures of 12 million, his hlubek helped bridge the gap Musician son of Steve Howe Yes, included keyboard duties on
paymasters refused to give him a between Southern rock and heavy (1975-2017) 1993s The Grand Scheme Of Things
raise, upon which Good left for ITV metal. he formed the band in 1971 and Spectrum (2005). Virgil also
and unveiled the equally popular in Jacksonville, Florida, where, The sudden and unexpected death produced Yes Remixes in 2003 and
Oh Boy! in the summer of 58. The alongside neighbours Lynyrd of drummer Virgil howe came just recorded a joint album with Steve,
programme helped make stars of Skynyrd, they steadily worked before embarking on Little Barries Nexus, due in November.

GRANT HART Hart:


barefoot
drummer
his creative energies continued into
1985s New Day Rising, featuring The
Girl Who Lives On heaven hill and the
to counter that only one of three drug-
abusing people was crucified about it.
Post-hsker D, he formed short-lived
Hsker D drummer who brought
a melodic
and co-songwriter infectious Books About UFOs, and on combo The Swallows, before founding
edge to
Hsker D through the more pop-friendly Flip Your another noise-trio, Nova Mob, this time
(1961-2017)

S
Wig (Green eyes, Flexible Flyer, Keep playing guitar. The group lasted until 1994,
PeAKING to Uncut three years hanging On). Both singles from Warner upon which he embarked on a solo career
ago, Bob Mould acknowledged Bros debut Candy Apple Grey were hart that yielded four studio albums, the last
the power struggle at the creative compositions: Dont Want To Know If You being 2013s The Argument, based around
centre of hsker D, the band he Are Lonely and Sorry Somehow. Miltons Paradise Lost. That same year, US
formed with Grant hart and By 1987s Warehouse: Songs And Stories, filmmaker Gorman Bechard released a
Greg Norton in 1979. Co-pilots are great, his relationship with Mould, who hed first documentary, Every Everything: The Music,
and we swapped chairs for eight years, met nine years earlier, at a record store Life & Times Of Grant Hart.

Martyn Goodacre/Getty IMaGes


he said of his working relationship with in harts native St Paul, Minnesota, had On hearing of harts death from liver
fellow songwriter hart. But I like flying the deteriorated to the point of collapse. The cancer, Mould paid tribute on Facebook,
plane and I think he does too. It was a win- tipping point came on the eve of a tour calling him a frighteningly talented
win when it ended. to promote the album, when manager musician and addressing their time in
hart himself felt that this tension David Savoy committed suicide. harts hsker D. When we fought about the
served as a catalyst, spurring both men substance addiction was also cited by details, it was because we both cared,
on to greater heights. You hear some live certain members of the press as a factor in he wrote. The band was our life.
bootlegs, he told The AV Club in 2000, hsker Ds demise, though he was quick ROB HUGHES
and Bob and I are working so hard to
outshine each other that it just lifts the
whole thing off the ground
On a songwriting level, it seemed an
ideal pairing Mould the scowling cynic,
ripping through songs with brusque
urgency; hart the beaming romantic, all
psychedelic flash and bolder melodies.
Mould played pasty-faced punk to harts
long-haired hippie, drumming barefoot
and flailing like a dervish over his kit.
And while he ceded the lions share of
the songwriting on 1983 debut Everything
Falls Apart, hart emerged as a vital force
on the following years post-hardcore
classic, Zen Arcade. Standing By The Sea,
Turn On The News and the exquisite
Pink Turns To Blue were prime examples
of his quickening talent, though the
latter tracks bleak subject matter drug
addiction was something that hart would
experience first-hand as he became hooked
on heroin.

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 113


Just play yourself:
Harry Dean Stanton
outside his LA home,
February 23, 2015

HARRY DEAN in the navy during World War II, where he fought
in the battle of Okinawa. In high school he played
I was in Albuquerque, I think, with Sam
Shepard, he told Uncut. We were drinking and

STANTON Arthur Doolittle with a cockney accent, and in


1949 he quit college and enrolled at the Pasadena
Playhouse. He picked up regular TV work during
listening to a Mexican band. I said Id like to get
a part with some sensitivity and intelligence to it.
I wasnt asking for a part or anything. I was just
American actor and musician
the 1950s and 60s on westerns like Gunsmoke, free-associating, talking, right? I got back to LA
(1926-2017)

I
The Rifleman, Laramie and Bonanza. He moved and Sam called me and said, Do you want to do a
N one of his later screen roles, Harry Dean into film as the 1960s wore on, his credits lead in my next film, Paris, Texas? Wim Wenders
Stanton played a security guard in Marvels including Monte Hellmans Ride The Whirlwind, thought I was too old. He came to see me and
superhero ensemble, The Avengers. Hes written by Jack Nicholson. Jack said, Harry, I finally he agreed to it after a couple of meetings.
there when Mark Ruffalos Hulk crashes into want you to do this part, but I dont want you to I just played myself.
a building from space. Are you an alien? do anything. Let the wardrobe do the character, The 90s opened with Wild At Heart although
he asks, admirably nonplussed as he passes the just play yourself. That was the beginning of David Lynch had originally offered Stanton the
superhero a fresh pair of trousers. Well then, son. my whole approach to acting. Stanton was role of Frank Booth in Blue Velvet. Because I
Youve got a condition. especially close to Nicholson: I was best man play myself as much as I can, I didnt want to
Stantons cameo was a warm, analogue at his first wedding and at his divorce, he told go there emotionally, I guess, he explained.
presence in a robustly digital-age product; no Uncut. We lived together for about two-and-a- Killing people and stuff. I told him to get Dennis
amount of CGI could ever replicate those craggy, half years, during that time he did Easy Rider. We [Hopper]. Wild At Heart initiated a fruitful
gaunt features. It was a typically idiosyncratic had our differences, always have relationship with
twist in a career spanning over 50 years and had, but thats the way it is with Lynch, which included
Stanton didnt stop there. Two years after his all relationships, right? Were still roles in Twin Peaks:
appearance in The Avengers, aged 87, he released
his debut album.
close. Hes been a loyal friend to
me for many years
Everything Fire Walk With Me, The
Straight Story and Inland
I sang when I was a kid, he told Uncut in 2014.
When people would leave the house, I would get
Stanton fell in with the
emerging New Hollywood crowd,
just happens, Empire. There was little
in Lynchs canon of
up on a stool and sing a song by Woody Guthrie,
or before him, The Singing Brakeman, Jimmie
appearing in Hellmans Two Lane
Blacktop and Cockfighter, Sam
nobodys in unsettling eccentricities,
it seemed, to faze the
Rodgers. When not making films, Stanton ran
a parallel career as a musician, playing pick-up
Peckinpahs Pat Garrett And Billy
The Kid, John Milius Dillinger
charge inscrutable Stanton. In
one of Stantons final
gigs in LA venues like his favourite bar-restaurant, and alongside his friends Marlon roles, he recapped his
Dan Tanas. He confided to Uncut that he once Brando and Nicholson in Missouri Breaks. role as a trailer park owner for Lynchs new Twin
recorded a Mexican song with Bob Dylan. We During the 80s, Stanton worked with a new Peaks TV series. His final film, Lucky, screens as
Giles clarke/Getty iMaGes

made a tape together. He asked me, did I want generation of filmmakers: Alex Cox (Repo Man), part of this years London Film Festival.
a copy? I said no. What an idiot! Among his Ridley Scott (Alien), Wim Wenders (Paris, Texas), Everything just evolves, the philosopher poet of
many musical friends, Stanton described Tom John Carpenter (Escape From New York) and character acting told us, as he sought to categorise
Waits as gnarly, a fine poet. James Taylors song John Hughes (Pretty In Pink). Theyre all superb his long, meandering career. Ultimately, theres
Hey Mister, Thats Me Up On The Jukebox? He performances but its the weatherbeaten, no answer. Everything just happens. Nobodys
borrowed my guitar to compose that song. near-mute Travis in Wenders film that gave in charge. Its just an inexplicable unfolding
Stanton was born in Kentucky in 1926. He served Stanton his most famous role. of events. MICHAEL BONNER

114 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


CHARLES
BRADLEY
Late-blooming soul singer
(1948-2017)

C
HARLES BRADLEY drew from
a lifetime of experience for his
full recording debut in 2011.
Then aged 62, the self-styled
Screaming Eagle Of Soul
had survived abandonment, poverty
and homelessness in a journey that had
taken him back and forth across the US
and Canada. When Daptone Records boss
Gabriel Roth eventually got to know him,
having discovered Bradley performing as
a James Brown tribute act in Brooklyn, he
observed one of the meekest and strongest Soon after, Bradley left the penury of It was only in 1996, when he returned to
people Ive ever known. His pain was a cry home, spending the next two years on the Brooklyn to care for his ailing mother, whod
for universal love and humanity. streets and sleeping on subways. He finally left him to be raised by his grandmother
Despite suffering from stage fright in found vocational work through Jobs Corps, at eight months old, that Bradley started
his earlier years, Bradley grew into a becoming a chef in Bar Harbour, Maine. I working as a James Brown impersonator
spectacular showman, loading his gigs with was very shocked when a guy there told me under the alias Black Velvet. His encounter
the same kind of feverish passion that Brown I looked like James Brown, Bradley told with Roth led him to Daptone producer Tom
had trademarked in the 60s, often leaving the Chicago Tribune. He asked me if I could Brenneck, who enlisted the Menahan Street
the stage to embrace people in the audience. sing and I told him no. I was ashamed. I was Band to back him on a series of powerful
He was ideally suited to the festival circuit, scared to sing. He reluctantly agreed to front funk-soul recordings that became 2011s No
following up his breakout gig at SXSW with an R&B group for a handful of local dates, but Time For Dreaming. One of its most affecting
appearances at Glastonbury and Coachella. his budding music career was curtailed when songs was Heartaches And Pain, written
He was also able to realise an ambition by his bandmates were drafted to Vietnam. for Bradleys murdered brother, Joe.
headlining Harlems Apollo Theatre, the Bradley
Bradley spent 10 years as a cook, As Bradleys star rose, two more albums

Gary Miller/WireiMaGe
scene of an epiphanal moment as a young performing latterly serving food at a New York mental followed in quick succession Victim Of
teenager in 1962, when Bradleys sister took at the institution, before hitchhiking through Love (2013) and last years Changes, by which
Bonnaroo
him to see Brown up close. He had those Music & Arts Washington, Canada, Alaska and time hed been diagnosed with cancer. It
strobe lights and effects lights on him, he Festival in California, where he remained for two took 62 years for somebody to find me, but I
Manchester,
recalled to NPR in 2011. And I said, Oh my Tennessee, decades. He supplemented his income as a thank God, he said, without any bitterness.
God, I want to be like that! June 9, 2012 handyman by securing small club shows. Some people never get found. ROB HUGHES

DON WILLIAMS Gentle Giants: The Songs Of Don music business when hed joined To Eternity (1984) to 2001s No More
Country singer-songwriter Williams, was released this year. The Four Jays in the late 50s. Having Shall We Part.
morphed into The Fourmost, they
(1939-2017)
BILLy HAttON regularly toured as support to The JOHNNy SANDLIN
The easygoing baritone of Don Merseybeat bassist/singer Beatles. John Lennon wrote their first Allmans producer
Williams, allied to his physical (1941-2017) two hits Hello Little Girl and Im (1945-2017)
stature, earned him the nickname In Love, both in the latter half of 63
The Gentle Giant in Nashville The Fourmost joined Brian Epsteins before Russ Alquist provided them Among the in-house players at
music circles. His impressive run of growing stable of Liverpool-rooted with another major success, A Little Muscle Shoals FAME studios in
consecutive country hits lasted from artists in June 1963, after which they Loving, a year later. the 60s was multi-instrumentalist
1974s I Wouldnt Want To Live If You auditioned for George Martin and Johnny Sandlin. Teaming up with
Didnt Love Me to Lord Have Mercy signed to Parlophone. The quartets tONy COHeN fellow sessioneer Eddie Hinton,
Hulton-DeutscH collection/corBis/corBis via Getty iMaGes

On A Country Boy in 1991, with bassist/singer Billy Hatton had Nick Cave producer he formed The Five Men-Its,
only three singles failing to make the followed his best friend Ronnie (1957-2017) before linking up with Duane
Top 10. He also enjoyed UK success Wycherley (aka Billy Fury) into the and Gregg Allman in Hour Glass.
during the 70s with Youre My Australian engineer-producer After drumming on the bands
Best Friend and I Recall A Gypsy Tony Cohen worked with The Go- two unsuccessful studio albums,
Woman. Much of this popular Betweens, Dave Graney and The Sandlin was hired by the Georgia-
appeal lay in his simple approach, Blackeyed Susans. But hes best based Capricorn label in 1969.
the smooth certitude of his voice known for his association with Nick The post enabled him to continue
backed by guitar and tasteful Cave, beginning with The Boys Next his working relationship with the
arrangements. Williams started out Doors 1979 debut, Door, Door, and Allmans, producing 1973s huge-
in 1964 as a member of folk trio The following their transition into The selling Eat A Peach and its follow-up,
Pozo-Seco Singers, who issued three Birthday Party. His love of studio Win, Lose Or Draw. He also worked
LPs on Columbia, before he decided Don experimentation was key to his with the likes of Elvin Bishop, Bonnie
Williams
to go solo in 1971. He retired in 2016, with Eric involvement with Nick Cave And Bramlett, Widespread Panic and
although an all-star tribute album, Clapton The Bad Seeds, spanning From Her Delbert McClinton. ROB HUGHES

DECEMBER 2017 UNCUT 115


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110 Southwark Street, london SE1 0SU. Or tweet us at twitter.com/uncutmagazine

FROM OUR
HEARTBROKEN Rickenbacker glory;
Tom petty & The
CORRESpONDENTS Heartbreakers play
I saw Tom Petty play live with either the Verizon Wireless
Amphitheater in
The Heartbreakers or Mudcrutch in Kansas, July 10, 2005
the neighbourhood of 50 times.
Best live performer Ive seen a
true musician. Of all the memorable
shows, the 2005 Indianapolis one
will always stand out. During
Refugee, lightning struck near
the stage and knocked the power
out. Everything went dead. The
audience kept singing the song
and, after around 10 to 15 seconds,
the power kicked back in. Tom and
the band jumped right back in to
where the audience was singing
truly amazing. The following
summer, in 2006, he returned to
Indy to play again. He commented
during the show that hed spent the
past year telling people that story
and what a cool moment it was.
Indeed. He was the best.
Elliot Bloom, West Lafayette,
Indiana

As my glory days at university


ended in 1999, my best mate and I
were lucky enough to see Tom Petty
And The Heartbreakers at the
Shepherds Bush Empire around
the time the much-underrated Echo
album was released, and he was
terrific. It was a two-and-a-half-
hour epic where the unshowy
master musicians solely focused on
great songs via a cross-section of
their own career and some well- another bedrock of American Jeff Hyatt was right to be irritated. Angeles music scene that brought
chosen covers detailing their music, Tom Petty, just months after Your average Uncut interviewee us X, The Blasters, Los Lobos, The
inspiration (Chuck Berry, JJ Cale, Chuck Berry. If you can find a better can definitely carry a tune, but Minutemen and The Gun Club.
Them). We got told off for dancing symbol of the free fallin of the their views are about as politically Ive written and asked before, so if
on the balcony. Quite right, too. American spirit in 2017, I dare you sophisticated as a sixth-form I sound like Im pimping, I am. Not
Fast-forward to Hyde Park this to name it. student in a Che Guevara T-shirt. only will I put Xs first four albums
summer, where the same great Stephen Conn, Las Cruces, Oh yeah, and if all these protest up against any other band except
mate and I found ourselves almost New Mexico singers are as bothered by racist, the you-know-whos, but also their
double the age we were the last misogynist, antisemitic, first live album that was recorded
time we saw him but the only THE MANS A homophobic, transphobic idiots at the Whisky A Go Go when it still
thing about Tom that seemed to COMplETE ASSHAT, as Liz Tray seems to be, can we meant something to play there.
have changed was hed grown a BUT expect a concept album about the And in case you all forgot
beard. Still absolutely at the top of I read with great amusement the evils of Islamic fundamentalism (because Im sure Dwight Yoakam
his game, and I fulfilled the dream snide, condescending letter from anytime soon? I wouldnt hold never has), it was Dave Alvin who
of seeing him not only duet with a Liz Tray of London [Uncut, my breath. wrote Yoakams huge hit, Long
Stevie Nicks, but also go on to November 2017]. She does know Marlon Aransibia, Essex White Cadillac. Come on, fellas.
perform five songs from the that plenty of Jews, LGBT people Get with it. Remind me and the
impeccable Wildflowers. The and people of colour voted for ANOTHER BlAST rest of your readers why Uncut is
soundtrack to good times, great Trump, right? We can all agree the FROM THE pAST the best of its genre.
friendship and just someone whose mans a complete asshat, but some The letter in your last issue [Uncut, David Dale, Sonoma Valley, CA
Jason squires/Wireimage

musical quality you knew you of the things hes being accused November 2017] about what a drag
could rely on. We got lucky. of are ridiculous. Yes, shes right Neil Young and his ilk (Roger GWENT HART
Ollie Carlisle, via email artists generally move in liberal Waters etc, etc) have become, while REMEMBERED
worlds, but living in that bubble is the likes of Dave Alvin remain In Springsteens autobiography
A fascist, racist president, record- why so many of them arrogantly marginalised, reminded me that it he writes that people attend rock
setting hurricanes and shooting dismiss all Trump supporters as was once again time to plead for shows chasing a gut experience
massacre, and now the death of sexist, racist, blah blah blah. Uncut to do an article on the Los where one and one make three.

116 UNCUT DECEMBER 2017


CROSSWORD
Win one of two copies of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Soul Of A Woman on CD

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Many people in Newport during
the 80s were chasing that strange TAKE 247 | DECEMBER 2017
equation, and Hsker D provided Time Inc. (UK) Ltd, 161 Marsh Wall,
9 London E14 9AP
that gut reaction. I was so sorry to
Tel: 020 3148 6982 www.uncut.co.uk
hear of Grant Harts death. He was
a lovely man. Editor John Mulvey
Associate Editor (Features) Michael Bonner
Travelling around to all their 10 11 12 Associate Editor (One-shots) John Robinson
Reviews Editor Tom Pinnock
shows, some mates and I Art Editor Marc Jones
transformed into The Three Senior Designer Michael Chapman
production Editor Mick Meikleham
Welshmen for guestlist purposes. 13 14 15 16 Senior Sub Editor Mike Johnson
I treasure happy memories of Mars picture Editor Phil King
Editor At large Allan Jones
Bar wrappers subsidising bus
travel, something Grant found 17 18 19 20
Contributors Jason Anderson, Mark Bentley,
David Cavanagh, Tom Charity, Jon Dale, Stephen
hysterical and never forgot, Dalton, Stephen Deusner, Andy Gill, Michael Hann,
reminiscing at a Cardiff show he Nick Hasted, Mick Houghton, Rob Hughes, Trevor
Hungerford, John Lewis, Alastair McKay, Geoffrey
did a couple of years ago. Mr Hart Macnab, Gavin Martin, Piers Martin, Rob Mitchum,
21 22 23 24 Andrew Mueller, Sharon OConnell, Louis Pattison,
furnished hotel floors for us when
Sam Richards, Jonathan Romney, Bud Scoppa,
we had nowhere else to sleep and 25 26 Neil Spencer, Terry Staunton, Fiona Sturges,
Glastonbury guestlists where we Graeme Thomson, Luke Torn, Stephen Trouss,
Jaan Uhelszki, Wyndham Wallace, Peter Watts,
were in and out of the despised 27 28 29 30 31 Richard Williams, Nigel Williamson, Tyler Wilcox,
Jim Wirth, Damon Wise, Rob Young
sprawl in three hours, having seen
the D. In Paris, Sonic Youth Cover photograph: Mads Perch
photographers: Frank Stefanko, Ellie Connor-
looked on appalled as a mate threw 32 33 34 Phillips, Jesse Dittmar, Jacob Blickenstaff, Sam Rayner,
up in the Hskers backstage Lisa Haun, Michael Putland, Anton Corbijn, Virginia
Turbett, David Corio, Terence Spencer, Dick Barnatt,
shower room while Grant laughed David Redfern, Richard E Aaron
like a drain. HOW TO ENTER
DISplAy ADVERTISING
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remember you and miss you. Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Steet, London SE1 0SU. The first correct entry picked at Digital Business Directors Andrew Sanders,
Pete French. Newport, Gwent random will win a prize. Closing date: Wednesday, November 15, 2017. Chris Dicker 020 3148 6709
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020 3148 3704
GIVE THE DRUMMERS ClUES ACROSS ClUES DOWN CREATIVE MEDIA
SOME 1 The final clue across has almost got the 1 Oh baby, just you shut your mouth,
Head of Market, Music Titles
Andrew Minnis 020 3148 4252
That is spoons-virtuoso, Brand Manager
answer here, but theres more substance 1983 (5-4)
percussionist and occasional of value to The Foo Fighters (8-3-4) 2 Dont want you back, wed only cry
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drummer Noel Crombie pictured 9 A personal preference to not see Etta again, say goodbye again, 1968 (2-7) Steven Woollett 020 3148 2670
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Not Phil Judd. Great article on the money in our