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William S. Burroughs’ answer to the Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save the Queen’
06.02.2017
09:30 am
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The author at home
 
It’s the 40th anniversary of the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen,” and you know what that means: it’s the 40th anniversary of the letter of support William S. Burroughs sent the band, along with his own all-purpose slogan and answer song, “Bugger the Queen.”

Victor Bockris writes that Burroughs’ piece predated the Sex Pistols’ single by three years, but even so, “God Save the Queen” was the occasion for its debut. As far as I can tell, Burroughs never mentioned “Bugger the Queen” without reference to the Sex Pistols. In October ‘77, writing from Naropa, Burroughs sent Brion Gysin a Rolling Stone feature on the Sex Pistols (presumably Charles M. Young’s contemporary cover story) along with the words to “Bugger the Queen,” which he referred to as a new song he might record with Patti Smith. Though the published letters haven’t yet caught up to the punk rock period, Ken Lopez Bookseller has made the typescript of this one available. Punctuation and spelling are WSB’s:

Dear Brion:

Enclose article from the Rolling Stone on the Sex Pistols and punk rock, in case you didnt see it. This explains the action in Paris. I guess we are classified with Mick Jaeger. I am writing some songs and may do a record with Patti Smith. Here’s one
My husband and I
The old school tie
Hyphonated names
Tired old games
It belongs in the bog
With the restofthe sog
Pull the chain onBuckingham
The drain calls you MAM.
BUGGER THE QUEEN
Whole skit goes withit illustratting everything I dont like about England.

“Bugger the Queen” was still on Burroughs’ mind one year later when he told a writer for the San Francisco punk zine Search & Destroy about his letter to the Sex Pistols (as quoted by Victor Bockris):

I am not a punk and I don’t know why anybody would consider me the Godfather of Punk. How do you define punk? The only definition of the word is that it might refer to a young person who is simply called a punk because he is young, or some kind of petty criminal. In this sense some of my characters may be considered punks, but the word simply did not exist in the fifties. I suppose you could say James Dean epitomized it in Rebel Without a Cause, but still, what is it? I think the so-called punk movement is indeed a media creation. I did however send a letter of support to the Sex Pistols when they released “God Save the Queen” in England because I’ve always said that the country doesn’t stand a chance until you have 20,000 people saying BUGGER THE QUEEN! And I support the Sex Pistols because this is constructive, necessary criticism of a country which is bankrupt.

 

The cover (cropped) of ‘Little Caesar’ #9, the first publication of ‘Bugger the Queen’ (via dennis-cooper.net)
 
The “skit” Burroughs mentions in the letter to Gysin, or a later version of it, is one of the entries in the essay collection The Adding Machine. Burroughs read it toward the end of 1978 at the Nova Convention celebrating his work. It was first published in the ninth issue of Dennis Cooper’s zine Little Caesar, whose previous number featured an interview with Johnny Rotten; International Times ran it too. The gist: chants of “Bugger the Queen” lead to a spontaneous uprising that forces Her Maj to abdicate. From the opening, a few words of inspiration, and the annotated lyrics:

I guess you read about the trouble the Sex Pistols had in England over their song “God Save the Queen (It’s a Fascist Regime).” Johnny Rotten got hit with an iron bar wielded by HER Loyal Subjects. It’s almost treason in England to say anything against what they call “OUR Queen.” I don’t think of Reagan as OUR President, do you? He’s just the one we happen to be stuck with at the moment. So in memory of the years I spent in England—and in this connection I am reminded of a silly old Dwight Fisk song: “Thank you a lot, Mrs. Lousberry Goodberry, for an infinite weekend with you . . . (five years that weekend lasted) . . . For your cocktails that were hot and your baths that were not . . .”—so in fond memory of those five years I have composed this lyric which I hope someday someone will sing in England. It’s entitled: Bugger the Queen.

My husband and I (The Queen always starts her spiel that way)
The old school tie
Hyphenated names
Tired old games
It belongs in the bog
(Bog is punk for W.C.)
With the rest of the sog
Pull the chain on Buckingham
The drain calls you, MA’AM
(Have to call the Queen “Ma’am” you know)
BUGGER THE QUEEN!

The audience takes up the refrain as they surge into the streets screaming “BUGGER THE QUEEN!”

Suddenly a retired major sticks his head out a window, showing his great yellow horse-teeth as he clips out: “Buggah the Queen!”

A vast dam has broken.

Alas, no one has stepped up to record “Bugger the Queen” during the intervening decades. I hold out hope Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye will set it to music. Below, for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in June 1977, the Pistols make themselves heard from a boat on the River Thames in what must surely be Sex Pistols Number 2.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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06.02.2017
09:30 am
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Who said it: Glenn Danzig or a Fox News pundit?
05.30.2017
01:17 pm
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When I saw Danzig play the Ritz in 1989 (with White Zombie opening), it didn’t cross my mind that I’d be writing about Glenn Danzig’s political beliefs nearly 30 years later.

I definitely didn’t think that anyone would be seeking his take on President Donald Trump.

But here we are.

Danzig was in Los Angeles over the holiday weekend for the Blackest of the Black Festival, which was held at Orange County’s Oak Canyon Park. He granted a reporter named Mikael Wood of the Los Angeles Times an interview, in which he spoke out in favor of Donald Trump’s so-called travel ban, which would have the effect of restricting hundreds of thousands of travelers from entering the United States without any evidence of wrongdoing. Here’s what he said:
 

It’s really not a travel ban. When you walk into the country, we want to see who you are and what you’re doing. Well, when I go to every country right now, they look at me and they see whether I can come in or not. And I’ve been turned away from Canada and other places before. Where’s my protest? Where’s my parade?

 
Leave aside the unspoken premise that the United States is not already scrutinizing all visitors to the country (absurd). What makes this comment all the more baffling is that one of the crooner’s most famous songs is based on criminal misbehavior in a foreign land. Danzig hails from Lodi, New Jersey, and the Misfits song “London Dungeon” was based on an incident in 1979 when the band was on its first U.K. tour. In This Music Leaves Stains: The Complete Story of the Misfits, James Greene, Jr. writes:

On December 2, Glenn and Bobby [Steele] tried to alleviate their hotel-based boredom by attending a Jam concert at London’s famed venue the Rainbow. Outside the concert hall, a group of skinheads began harassing the duo. Things quickly escalated. Somehow Bobby slipped away in an attempt to find some authorities; Glenn stayed behind, arming himself with a broken bottle. When police eventually did arrive they arrested Glenn and Bobby for disturbing the peace. The Misfits spent two nights in Brixton jail, an experience that birthed one of the group’s most solemn and memorable dirges.

“I just turned to Glenn [in the cell],” recalled Steele in 1993, “[and] said, ‘We should make a song about this called “London Dungeon.”’ We were like sitting in this cell, it was like ten feet perfectly square, you know, solid painted walls, it was real echoey in the room ... and we were just like slapping the beat out on our legs and humming ... it sounded so cool ... [and] Glenn took it from there.”

 
Danzig might dispute that he didn’t really do anything wrong on that occasion, and was unjustly incarcerated. Which might give him a little pause on the propriety of prejudging people who almost certainly haven’t done anything wrong or possess any ill intent towards the U.S.A.

In an attempt to show his supposedly liberal bona fides, Danzig made a problematic comment about Planned Parenthood as well:
 

I might be conservative on some issues, and some issues I’m really liberal. I’m pro-abortion and I’m pro-Planned Parenthood. But I don’t think Planned Parenthood should be selling baby parts like a chop shop in Brooklyn, OK?

 
This claim has been debunked so often it’s gotten tedious.

Hey, I’m so old I can remember when punk rock dudes would be ashamed  to spout right-wing talking points…......

Here’s “London Dungeon,” in which Danzig’s songwriting talent (and not his politics) is enough brighten anyone’s day:
 

 
via Stereogum
 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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05.30.2017
01:17 pm
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Swedish TV accidentally puts children’s subtitles over political debate, and it’s f*cking hilarious!
05.22.2017
01:54 pm
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Civic-minded Swedes who tuned in to a political debate early last year didn’t expect to witness an interplanetary underwater battle involving dinosaurs, but thanks to an innocent mixup at the SVT2 TV station, that’s what they got.

It was probably more entertaining, not to say true-to-life, than what was actually happening in the debate, which involved Environmental Minister Åsa Romson, Liberal People’s Party leader Jan Björklund, Education Minister Gustav Fridolin, and Urban Ahlin, Speaker of the Riksdag, the national legislature of Sweden.
 

 
The subtitles depicted dialogue from the PBS children’s TV show Dinosaur Train

The head of the channel’s subtitle department, Anna Zetterson, smells a rat (or is it a dinosaur?), it seems. It turns out that on some older television models you can swap out the “teletext” page from another channel while keeping the current image. On Facebook she wrote in Swedish, “On some older TVs can still choose the old teletext page for the different channels’ subtitles, while checking on a different channel. So SVT, or any operator, didn’t send these out. But it is something you can amuse yourself with on an older television set.”

We don’t care. Maybe nobody made a mixup and it was all a plot to tickle our brains. All we can say is, mission accomplished!
 

 

 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
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05.22.2017
01:54 pm
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Explicitly perverse and provocative illustrations of Russian criminal underworld tattoos
05.22.2017
10:07 am
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“Satan and the Devil’s agent in Russia.” This illustration by Danzig Baldaev was copied from the chest of a criminal named “White” in 1991 who had recently completed a 32-year bid in prison.
 
During his time as a prison guard in Russia, and then later as the warden of the notorious Kresty Prison in Leningrad, Danzig Baldaev would become the curator and historian of tattoos worn by the convicts he watched over for nearly 40 years.

Baldaev’s illustrations, 3,000 or so in all, have been compiled into a popular series of books—the first of which was published in 2004 under the title Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia Volume I. Had it not been at the urging of his father—who was no friend of the infamous NKVD (the politically repressive Stalin-era “secret” police group, The People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs)—the stories behind the tattoos might never have been publicly chronicled. According to Baldaev, after he showed his father photographs of prisoners held in solitary confinement he advised him to start “collecting” images of the prisoner’s tattoos, for if he did not, the stories behind them would “all go to the grave with them.” The tattoos themselves served multiple purposes such as distinguishing a captive’s alignment within the prison population, what kind of crime they had committed or perhaps their affiliation with a specific Russian gang.

In 2009 the duo behind publishing house FUEL, Damon Murray, and Stephen Sorell purchased 750 illustrations done by Baldaev from his widow, which were then compiled in editions of the Russian Criminal Tattoo volumes. Here’s an example of the grim stories that would have gone undocumented by way of one heavily tattooed prisoner (who you can see here), who was photographed by Baldaev collaborator and fellow prison warden Sergei Vasiliev during a visit to the Strict Regime Forest Camp Vachel Settlement in the Penza Oblast Region of Russia.

This prisoner’s tattoos display his anger and bitterness towards Communist power; the tattoos on the face signify that he never expects to go free. He works as a stoker. Text under the eyes reads “Full / of Love;” on the chin “Danger of Death;” around the neck “To each his own;” above each head of the double-headed snake “Wife’ and ‘Mother-in-law;” on the chest “It is not for you whores, to dig in my soul;” on his arm “Communists, suck my dick for my ruined youth.”

Below is a selection of Baldaev’s illustrations, most of which, as you might have already figured out, are absolutely NSFW.
 

Top text reads “The Scary Dicks of the Land of Fools.” The text printed on the penises reads “Everything for the People!”
 

 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Cherrybomb
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05.22.2017
10:07 am
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‘Do the Oz,’ John and Yoko’s benefit single (and hopeful dance craze) for OZ magazine
05.18.2017
07:50 am
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John and Yoko march for OZ, August 1971 (via Meet the Beatles for Real)
 
“I think that everyone should own everything equally and that the people should own part of the factories and they should have some say in who is boss and who does what,” John Lennon announced to Hit Parader during his militant period. When he and Yoko Ono joined a march in London in August ‘71, holding up the latest issue of the Marxist newspaper Red Mole, they were demonstrating in support of both the IRA and the underground magazine OZ, whose editors had just been sent up the river on an obscenity beef.

John and Yoko took up the cause of the “OZ Three.” For their now-famous “school kids issue,” number 28, OZ had solicited and printed contributions from teenage readers, and was alleged thereby to have struck a mighty blow against the morality of English youth. During the ensuing obscenity trial, the defense actually called an expert witness to testify that just seeing the cover illustration was not enough to turn a healthy young person into a lesbian.
 

Note the “OZ Obscenity Trial” souvenir T-shirt, featuring R. Crumb’s character Honeybunch Kaminski
 
In the end, the editors got fifteen months in prison, and the hip community rallied to their defense, Jon Wiener reports in Come Together: John Lennon in His Time:

The OZ defense committee announced it would appeal, and John and Yoko joined the fundraising effort. They wrote the songs “God Save Us” and “Do the Oz,” released as a single by Apple in July 1971. John played on both and sang lead on “Do the Oz,” calling the group “the Elastic Oz Band.” Full-age ads appeared in all the British underground and radical newspapers: “Every major country has a screw in its side, in England it’s OZ. OZ is on trial for its life. John and Yoko have written and helped produce this record—the proceeds of which are going to OZ to help pay their legal fees. The entire British underground is in trouble, it needs our help. Please listen—‘God Save Oz.’”

Bill Elliot (later of the Dark Horse band Splinter) sings the A-side of the Elastic Oz Band single, which Lennon originally called “God Save Oz” but retitled “God Save Us.” Both sound the same in a Liverpool accent, I think Lennon is telling Sounds here:

First of all we wrote it as God Save Oz, you know, ‘God save Oz from it all,’ but then we decided they wouldn’t really know what we were talking about in America so we changed it back to ‘us’.

But the B-side, “Do the Oz,” is the keeper. Mutilating the lick from “Smokestack Lightning” on guitar, John hollers the steps of his modified hokey pokey while Yoko sings the terrifying, beguiling hum of modernity. Backing them are the Plastic Ono Band and, on acoustic guitars, two contributors to the “school kids issue,” future NME contributor Charles Shaar Murray and “Michelle.”

More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
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05.18.2017
07:50 am
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Hear a full confession from Tricky Dick on the novelty single ‘The Altered Nixon Speech,’ 1973
05.12.2017
09:36 am
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(via Syntonic Research Irv Teibel Archive)

The immediate ancestor of the “Rappin’ Ronnie” record was The Altered Nixon Speech, a one-minute tape collage made from Nixon’s August 15, 1973 speech about the Watergate break-in. I’m no lawyer, but gosh, it sounds kind of incriminating:

I had prior knowledge of the Watergate break-in. I authorized subordinates to engage in illegal campaign tactics. I accept full responsibility for the break-in and bugging of the Democratic National Headquarters and other campaign abuses. Let me explain to you what I did about Watergate after the break-in occurred. I took part in the subsequent cover-up activities. My effort throughout has been burglary and bugging of party headquarters, obstructing justice, harassing individuals, and compromising those agencies of government that should be above politics. We of course must be extremely careful in the way we go about this. I shall continue to subvert the institutions of government by unlawful means. How to carry out this duty is often a delicate question. That is the simple truth.

The novelty single was the work of Irv Teibel, the field recordist behind the Environments albums. (Environments’ marketing slogan, “THE MUSIC OF THE FUTURE ISN’T MUSIC,” still points the way to a better world. Stop the madness! Let us pump nature sounds, not dance beats, into our pharmacies and “off-price” department stores.) What Teibel achieves with 140 tape splices is more than a gimmick: in the alchemical retort of the Syntonic Research laboratory, he transforms the Trick’s tissue of horseshit into a series of truthful statements. The B-side, which reproduces Teibel’s source material, is the homely “before” picture to the A-side’s handsome “after.”

Teibel knew that when you are standing on the president’s testicles, it is wise to tread lightly…

More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
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05.12.2017
09:36 am
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There’s a Donald Trump pencil holder that can also be turned into a Trump ‘human centipede’
05.08.2017
10:26 am
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A few years ago I blogged about the Donald Trump buttplug that was selling for $27.99 here. Now I’m blogging about the Donald Trump pencil holder because it’s something that exists on this planet and you may want one so you can shove a sharp stick up Trump’s rump. Or not. I have no idea what your consumer or psychosexual motivations might be—and I don’t want to know—but here it is. Your coworkers will either love it or hate it, depending on where you work.

If you have no use for a pencil holder, you can buy three of these puppies and turn ‘em into a “Trumpcentipede.” How delightful. How disgusting. How perfect!

They’re made by Etsy shop Amznfx and each pencil holder sells for $27.99.
 

 

 

Posted by Tara McGinley
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05.08.2017
10:26 am
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‘Watchmen’ remix tackles the godawful 2016 presidential campaign
05.01.2017
02:02 pm
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Whether you consumed it at the time or some years later, one of the cultural rites of our era is spending a couple days devouring all of Watchmen, the genre-bending, formally rigorous 12-issue superhero tale by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons and John Higgins that was published at DC in 1986 and 1987.

Watchmen managed to point up the silly pretensions of costumed crimefighters even as it offered no fewer than three examples of truly exceptional men doing truly exceptional things in Ozymandias, Dr. Manhattan, and Rorschach, all told in a savvy counterfactual timeline featuring a fictitious third term for President Richard Nixon.

I don’t know if it’s that (shudder) third term or the golden trappings of the successful businessman Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias that reminded Aaron Edwards and Arlen Schumer of our current predicament with a distinctly un-super businessman occupying the Oval Office. In any case they have decided to replay the entire election as a Watchmen remix, with Trump in the Ozymandias seat and Hillary Clinton as….. wait for it… Dr. Manhattan. I suspect this interpretation will not go over in all of the precincts of our great nation. By the end of Watchmen, Dr. Manhattan is all-powerful but essentially removes himself from the narrative as his increasingly “universal” mindset makes him insensible to mere human concerns.

On January 20, 2017, Edwards and Schumer unveiled the first installment of “Who Watches the Men?” called “Trump Rises,” on The Outline, and today, May 1, comes the second one, with the title “Hillary’s Escape.” I’m looking forward to more of these.

Weirdly, in the role of Rorschach we have none other than .... Anthony Weiner! (Perhaps Nite Owl will be ....  James Comey?)

If you’re not into Watchmen, It’s worth noting that the entire story is told in a long series of nine-panel pages with each cell being the exact same size (there is one exception to this rule), and Edwards and Schumer have done a wonderful job of sticking to that premise.

Here are some of the panels from the strip, but I recommend you read it all at The Outline.
 

 

 
More after the jump…......

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
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05.01.2017
02:02 pm
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‘The Underside of Power’: New video from Algiers
04.27.2017
09:41 am
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Algiers have had a hell of a couple of years. In 2015, they dropped a fiercely original debut album that found an uncharted sweet spot between industrial rhythm and noise, post-punk guitar skreeeee, and the smoldering intensity of Southern black gospel. Wide acclaim, a few videos, and heavy touring followed, and the band’s core trio of singer/guitarist Franklin Fisher, bassist/synthesist Ryan Mahan, and guitarist Lee Tesche was augmented by touring (and now permanent) drummer Matt Tong, formerly of Bloc Party. In between all their rock labors, they wrote a second album, The Underside of Power, and WOW.

The Underside of Power, despite being written and recorded under duress of time, shows remarkable growth. The band’s disparate influences remain, but the album is characterized by a weird irony: the debut was written via file-swapping, when the band’s members lived in three different cities, but it feels like a rock band’s record. The second album, though it’s the product of a seasoned touring unit with a full-time drummer, feels more like the work of an electronic composer. That’s due to a combination of the band’s build-it-up-high-and-rip-it-all-down working method and Mahan’s stepping to the fore as the band’s primary tunesmith.

What haven’t changed are Fisher’s lyrical themes—his righteous and soulful declamations against injustice and abuse of power make Algiers one of this era’s most convincing purveyors of protest music. As a multi-racial band from Atlanta, GA, they engage head-on with race as well, a topic they handle powerfully on the song “Cleveland.” This one’s close to my heart—I’m born and bred in that fabled grey city, and the song deals in part with the extrajudicial execution of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by Cleveland’s police. I know the neighborhood where Rice was killed quite well, and I pass that rec center often. It is still impossible to be anywhere near that block and not think about the senseless murder, the police’s wagon-circling around the shockingly incompetent officer who drive-by shot the poor kid, and the local media’s complicity in selling the cops’ ever-changing stories of how the shooting happened. That horrific event was a massive trauma in the black community, and more specifically still Rice’s family, but it was also, more broadly, Cleveland’s trauma (and it remains our shame), and hearing outsiders confront that event artistically is moving and illuminating.

Fisher and Tesche were kind enough to spend a good chunk of an afternoon chatting with me about the new album, how touring has changed them and their work, and “Cleveland.” A goofy phone connection rendered a couple of Fisher’s comments unintelligible. Any errors are my own interpolations. I did my best to faithfully preserve his meaning and tone, scout’s honor.

Dangerous Minds: The new album was made in a somewhat and unfortunately different world than the first one, and I was wondering to what degree the primaries and their attendant escalation of American racism and violence had an impact on the new music? And since, broadly speaking, you’ve been dealing with themes of injustice anyway, would it have been so different an album had last year gone differently?

Fisher: Yes, I think all of it except maybe “Cleveland” was written last year between June and the end of the year, but that being said, American racism and violence are always there.

“Death March” was about Brexit, the inspiration for it came from Brexit—the recording sessions started when we were in the North Country, and there was this cloud hanging over everybody. But at the same time, we were in this very expensive, very nice setup with these two professional producers, and we were kind of being forced to create, and I hit a wall, so I just went through the newspapers and responded, and everybody around us was devastated by it in ways we’d find out about on our own terms when Trump won the election a few months later.

Tesche:  From my perspective, when I was a teenager I was really into DC Hardcore, and I was feeding off of the Riot Grrrl movement and all that stuff, so everything that I’ve always been a part of has had some sort of greater political context or message, and I feel like we’re kind of all the same that way, so I don’t really know if the new record would have been that much different thematically, but throughout the whole process, one event after another changed our moods. When Brexit happened we were in England, and the U.S. election happened towards the end of tracking and mixing, and those things definitely influenced the very final shape and character of these songs.

DM: The Underside of Power feels more like an electronic album than the debut does—the guitars seem less prominent. Also Underside seems like it features more uptempo stuff compared to all of the first album’s slow-burners. Has your writing process changed much between the albums?

Tesche:  Not really. The way things got shaped in the mixing process, there were lots of guitars and lots of crazy sounds, and stuff was piled on, and as we made our way through the mix we pulled things back and peeled things off. It’s a result of that process more than the writing, just later on deciding what we wanted to push to the front. We were touring together for a year and a half, and when we recorded the second album we were coming from more of a live band perspective, and I think we were all kind of pulling things in different directions. This one may be more of a “soul” record than the first in a certain sense, but it’s hard to quantify those things, and we didn’t really have that kind of intent when we went in. We all set up to write sketches individually and we each had our own motivations, and so we all ended up with our own frustrations, and that’s what keeps you working towards the next one. Maybe the songs surprised us in how they turned out, but that’s how they exist, and maybe when we go out and play live, they’ll change and morph.

Fisher:The first record, we wrote it almost exclusively through online file swapping when we lived in three different cities. This record more was written when we were all together. I don’t think there’s any prescription or specific method for our writing. We did go away after the first couple months of touring and everybody kind of worked on compositions to bring back to the group, to see what we had, and what we could work on. The majority of the compositions on this record are Ryan’s, he’s gotten really hands-on with electronic programming.

Tesche:  There are a lot of different forces at play. On one hand, when I work on guitar stuff I try to approach it from an abstract perspective, to challenge myself to find a role for guitar that’s not just riffing, and Frank’s guitar playing was a response to that too. Not that we avoided normal guitar stuff altogether, but with Ryan writing the majority of it, and coming from this more synthetic place, guitar-wise you have to approach that somewhat delicately, because if you just come in and try and do a bunch of punk rock stuff on top of that, you can end up in a really awful place. It’s more about understanding what the songs are becoming, and what they’re supposed to be. The next record could be full of Iron Maiden leads, who knows?

Fisher:I’m still learning my role as a singer more than a guitarist. I’ve always been the guitarist in the bands I’ve played with since I was a kid, and there’s not really a need for me to do that so much with this band. Our process is such that we’ll tend to use a maximalist approach, in that we’ll just pile things on and pile things on, and then we stand back and look at it and then start stripping things away. I’m sure it’s pure coincidence that usually any guitar part that I’ve written is one of the things that winds up getting stripped away [laughs] so this record was the beginning of me coming to terms with my designation as a singer, exploring that instead of trying to force my guitar into songs. Like Lee said, you have to be careful, otherwise it turns into a really strange nasty brew of guitar music and electronics that can go sideways.

Tesche:  I think by design, part of the sound we’re crafting works well without much guitar in there, which of course is interesting for us as guitar players, becoming more choosy about when to play. With the last record, they took their final shape in the studio, and when we started performing the songs they became something else. I think these songs are going to go the same way, it’ll turn into something else. It’ll be after a few months touring that we’ll start to fully understand what this music is and what it should do.

DM: Franklin, earlier you mentioned that the song “Cleveland” came before the rest of the album. You guys probably guessed I’d have something to say about that one—was that a response to the Tamir Rice execution?

Tesche:  Frank can go into more specifics on that because that one was largely written by him, and there are a number of different levels to it, but yes. It does reference that, and the choir sample is the Reverend James Cleveland. It’s a multi-faceted reference in that sense. And I also recall the coincidence that when we recorded that song we were working with Adrian Utley from Portishead, and they early on started out in this little town called Clevedon.

Fisher: There’s a recurring pattern of people mysteriously dying in police custody, people who’d seemingly been lynched but the local police had swept it under the rug, time and again, going back years. I wanted to kind of do something to try to confront the fact that this is happening, happening all the time, it’s an ongoing symptom. The song’s title was meant to invoke Tamir Rice without actually mentioning him, because he’s a symptom of something that’s as old as this country, being lynched by police, no matter how old you are, and if you’re a person of color, it’s something you’re always afraid of, either consciously or in the back of your mind. If you read some of these cases, it’s beyond absurd, and it becomes sickening how there’s never justice or closure for these families. Like Keith Warren—I think this was in like ’89, in Maryland. Good student, intelligent kid. He was found hanging in the middle of the forest, from a tree that was bent over from his weight. And they cut the tree down and embalmed him before any evidence could be taken, before the crime scene was surveyed. Before any real work could be done on the case they basically called it off and deemed it a suicide. On what would have been his 25th birthday, a box of photographs of the crime scene showed up on his mom’s doorstep. His mom realized that the clothes he was wearing weren’t his, and there were so many other things that made no sense, and there’s still no closure for his family. His mom thought his friends sent her the pictures because they knew something but were afraid to talk, and shortly after, one of his friends died in a suspicious bicycle accident.
 

 
Though the new album isn’t due until June 23rd, the band released the first video from The Underside of Power this morning—and it’s the album’s title track. It features the band plotting antifa resistance in an underground bunker/undisclosed location, and it’s sprinkled liberally with vintage clips from the Civil Rights movement era so nobody can miss the point. Fisher is pretty awesome in it, and he had this to say about the song (this is quoted from press materials, it’s not from our interview):

I heard someone say once that you don’t know what real power is until you’re on the wrong side of it. That was the inspiration for ‘The Underside of Power’ To be someone who has known first-hand, the full brunt of institutional force, the feeling of being completely vulnerable to it and powerless against it, is a bitter reality for the vast majority of people. The image of an insect being squashed by a boot comes to mind. But with that image comes a slightly hopeful paradox: just as all systems have inherent flaws, so does the proverbial boot, which leaves the slight possibility for the insect to creep through and bite back.

 
Watch the new video from Algiers, after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Ron Kretsch
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04.27.2017
09:41 am
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The Smiths trash Trump with Record Store Day gag
04.24.2017
07:07 am
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The Smiths’ 2017 Record Store Day 7-inch release came with a not-so-secret message to the U.S. inscribed on the record’s A-side: “Trump Will Kill America.” While I can’t say enough great things about this awesome stunt, it is a rather depressing reminder that this becomes truer every goddamned day. The 7-inch itself is a mix of two previously unreleased demos for “The Boy With the Thorn In His Side” and the flipside features “Rubber Ring” recorded at Drone Studios in Chorlton where the band recorded a bunch of demos back in the 80s. Actor Albert Finney, seen in the “Angry Young Man” phase of his long career, is pictured on the cover.

The news was widely spread across social media by Record Store Day shoppers who discovered the etching on the run-out groove on the A-side and deservingly dragged Donnie on his favorite communication vehicle, Twitter. In case you missed all of that, I’ve included a few posts from Smiths’ fans showing off their records at the expense of our current “president.”
 

The etching on The Smiths’ 2017 Record Store Day 7-inch release.
 

 

 
HT: Slicing Up Eyeballs

Posted by Cherrybomb
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04.24.2017
07:07 am
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