Kurt Cobain asks William Burroughs to appear in a Nirvana video
04.14.2014
09:37 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
William Burroughs
Kurt Cobain

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In August 1993, Kurt Cobain wrote William Burroughs to ask if he would appear alongside his band Nirvana in the first video release from their album In Utero. Though Cobain had been in touch with Burroughs before, the pair had not yet met. Cobain had previously supplied music for Burroughs’ spoken word disc The “Priest They Called Him.

Interviewer: How did you get on with William Burroughs when you recorded together recently?

Cobain: That was a long distance recording session. [Laughs] We didn’t actually meet.

Interviewer: Did he show a genuine awareness of your music?

Cobain: No, we’ve written to one another and we were supposed to talk the other day on the phone, but I fell asleep — they couldn’t wake me up. I don’t know if he respects my music or anything; maybe he’s been through my lyrics and seen some kind of influence from him or something, I don’t know. I hope he likes my lyrics, but I can’t expect someone from a completely different generation to like rock’n’roll — I don’t think he’s ever claimed to be a rock’n’roll lover, y’know. But he’s taught me a lot of things through his books and interviews that I’m really grateful for. I remember him saying in an interview, “These new rock’n’roll kids should just throw away their guitars and listen to something with real soul, like Leadbelly.” I’d never heard about Leadbelly before so I bought a couple of records, and now he turns out to be my absolute favorite of all time in music. I absolutely love it more than any rock’n’roll I ever heard.

Burroughs was one of Cobain’s idols, and he hoped he could convince the writer to appear in the video for the song “Heart-Shaped Box” as an old man on a cross who is pecked by crows. In his journal, Cobain explained that birds are “reincarnated old men with tourrets syndrome.”

“. . . their true mission. To scream at the top of their lungs in horrified hellish rage every morning at daybreak to warn us all of the truth . . . screaming bloody murder all over the world in our ears but sadly we don’t speak bird.”

Burroughs knocked back the offer to appear with Cobain in the promo, though he would later make his final appearance in a piece of shit video by U2.

August 2, 1993

Mr. William Burroughs
WILLIAM BURROUGHS COMMUNICATIONS

Dear William:

It’s a bit odd writing someone whom I’ve never met but with whom I’ve already recorded a record.  I really enjoyed the opportunity to do the record—it’s a great honor to be pictured alongside you on the back cover.  I am writing you now regarding the possibility of your appearing alongside my band (Nirvana) in the first video from our new album, “In Utero.”

While I know Michael Meisel from Gold Mountain Entertainment (my management company) has been speaking to James Grauerholz, I wanted the opportunity to personally let you know why I wanted you to appear in the video.

Most importantly, I wanted you to know that this request is not based on a desire to exploit you in any way.  I realize that stories in the press regarding my drug use may make you think that this request comes from a desire to parallel our lives.  Let me assure you that this is not the case.  As a fan and student of your work, I would cherish the opportunity to work directly with you.  To the extent that you may want to avoid any direct use of your image (thus avoiding the aforementioned link for the press to devour), I would be happy to have my director look into make-up techniques that could conceal your identity.  While I would be proud to have William Burroughs appear as himself in my video, I am more concerned with getting the opportunity to work with you than I am with letting the public know (should that be your wish).

Having said that, let me reiterate how much I would like to make this happen.  While I am comfortable letting Michael and James discuss this further.  I am available to discuss this with you at your convenience.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Best regards,

Kurt Cobain

 
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While on tour with Nirvana in October 1993, Cobain visited Burroughs at his home in Lawrence, Kansas. In Nirvana: The Day-By-Day Chronicle, Burroughs recalled the meeting:

“I waited and Kurt got out with another man. Cobain was very shy, very polite, and obviously enjoyed the fact that I wasn’t awestruck at meeting him. There was something about him, fragile and engagingly lost. He smoked cigarettes but didn’t drink. There were no drugs. I never showed him my gun collection.”

Along with his family and his child, Cobain counted meeting William Burroughs as one of the high points of his life.
 
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Below, Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box” video. Imagine how extra amazing this video would have been with WSB hanging from that cross!
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
When Kurt Cobain met William Burroughs
 
Via FuckYeahBeatniks!

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
‘Stupid Club’: Thousands gather to grieve for Kurt Cobain in Seattle park, 1994
04.03.2014
12:24 pm

Topics:
History
Music
Pop Culture
R.I.P.

Tags:
Kurt Cobain


 
As we near the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death—the Nirvana leader killed himself on April 5, 1994—this morning the Seattle Police Department released two new crime scene photographs that give gruesome glimpses at his final moments.  His body was found on the morning of April 8, 1994 by an electrician named Gary Smith who had been hired to do some maintenance work at Cobain’s Lake Washington home. One photo shows Cobain’s wrist with a hospital ID bracelet, while the other shows his lifeless Converse-clad foot beside a box of bullets:
 

 

 
If you are of a certain age, it’s likely you’ll recall where you were when you heard the news. Thousands of grieving young fans in Seattle felt the need to be together to try to make sense of what had occurred. In “Stupid Club,” this fascinating short documentary from 1994, we meet several of them and it’s pretty interesting stuff, historically, sociologically speaking, whatever. Some of it’s sad, some of it is just goofy.

Worth noting is that the title “Stupid Club” refers to something that Cobain’s mother said in the wake of his suicide:

“Now he’s gone and joined that stupid club, I told him not to join that stupid club.”

Conspiracy theorists at the time—well, at least the ones not claiming that he had been murdered by Courtney Love—speculated that the “stupid club” his mother Wendy was alluding to is the “27 Club” of dead rock stars who never made it to to the age of 28 (Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Canned Heat’s Alan Wilson) but she was most likely referring to two of Kurt’s uncles, and a great uncle, who had killed themselves.
 

 
Thank you kindly, Reginald Harkema!

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Rock stars with their cats and dogs

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Cool pictures of musicians with their pet dogs and cats, which show how even the most self-obsessed, narcissistic Rock god has a smidgen of humanity to care about someone other than themselves. Though admittedly, Iggy Pop looks like he’s about to eat his pet dog.
 
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Patti Smith and stylist.
 
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This is not a doggy bag, Iggy.
 
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There’s a cat in there somewhere with Joey Ramone.
 
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Tupac Shakur and a future internet meme.
 
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Bjork and a kissing cousin.
 
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O Superdog: Laurie Anderson and friend.
 
More cats and dogs and musicians, after the jump…
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Nirvana nightmare: Apparently Kurt Cobain is alive and well selling beer in the Netherlands
03.25.2014
08:04 am

Topics:
Advertising
Food
Television

Tags:
Kurt Cobain
Nirvana
Beer


 
Here’s a commercial for Bavaria Radler beer where it shows the likes of Kurt Cobain, Tupac Shakur, John Lennon, Bruce Lee, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis chilling on a tropical island drinking some cold brewskies.

I’m sure Mr. Cobain—who famously feared being a sell-out—would have just loved this concept. Doubtful that it’ll cause Yoko Ono to yuck it up much either. I smell a lawsuit!

Written by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Yearbook photos of Rock and Heavy Metal icons

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The high school portrait is more for the benefit of the parents than the sitter. It presents an image of the little darlings as bright-eyed and winsome—beacons of success to parental concern. They rarely reveal much about who these young people are, or how they might end-up. The photos mislead, in the same way that manners and politeness are often misread as a sign of weakness, when in fact the opposite is true.

Take a look at these yearbook portraits of Rock and Heavy Metal icons, there’s hardly a hint of rock ‘n’ roll rebellion, or future excess, just the appearance of wannabe Wal-Mart employees of the month.

Top row: Chester Bennington (Linkin Park), Tom Morello (RATM), Tom Araya (Slayer), Alice Cooper, Axl Rose (Guns ‘n’ Roses), Corey Taylor (Slipknot).

Middle row: Daron Malakian (SOAD), Dimebag Darrell (Pantera), Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen), Gene Simmons (Kiss), James Hetfield (Metallica), Jonathan Davis (Korn).

Bottom row: Kirk Hammett (Metallica), Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), Marilyn Manson, Slash (Guns ‘n’ Roses), Steve Tyler (Aerosmith), Zakk Wylde (BLS).
 
H/T Jonny Geller, via History in Pictures
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Kurt Cobain on high school: ‘I always felt so different and so crazy’
10.22.2013
01:41 pm

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Kurt Cobain
Nirvana


A young Kurt Cobain.

“I always felt that they would vote me most likely to kill everyone at a high school dance.”

I know there’s been way too much Nirvana and Kurt Cobain overload going on the Internets lately due to the recent In Utero reissue. But I’m going to post this interview anyway because, well, it’s… special

Jon Savage interviewed Kurt Cobain back in 1993 and a lot of the discussion focused on Cobain’s childhood and teenage years. It’s actually quite a revealing and totally honest interview. Cobain talks about his parents’ divorce, having a homophobic mother, dealing with painful scoliosis, discovering punk rock, why he only had female friends in high school, anger and being a loner. 
 

 
With thanks to David Gerlach!

Written by Tara McGinley | Discussion
‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’: Kathleen Hanna tells the story behind the song
08.29.2013
08:56 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Kurt Cobain
Nirvana
Kathleen Hanna

Smells Like Teen Spirit
 
This one doesn’t need a whole lot of setup. See, there was this band in the 1990s called Nirvana, and they had this song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” that everybody liked and….

Oh, for Chrissake, just watch this thing, it’s great.
 


Shot at Joe’s Pub, New York, December 15, 2010

Written by Martin Schneider | Discussion
Hello Kitty is a punk rocker: Kurt Cobain’s (other) favorite band, Shonen Knife

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Kurt Cobain was loud and proud expressing his admiration for The Raincoats when asked about his favorite music. Another all-girl band he championed was Shonen Knife. [Honestly, the guy seemed to have a lot of favorite bands]

Shonen Knife is a much-loved Japanese punk-pop trio that formed in Osaka in 1981. The original lineup was guitarist and vocalist Naoko Yamano, drummer Atsuko Yamano, and bassist Michie Nakatani. There have been several line-up changes over thirty-two years and Naoko is the only remaining original member.

Singing in English and Japanese, they write songs influenced by The Ramones and other early punk bands, surf music and garage bands, with catchy, sometimes silly, frivolous lyrics. They’ve written about cats, catnip, brown mushrooms, candy, sushi bars, mango juice, bison, banana chips and Barbie dolls. Their song “One Day of the Factory” appeared on a Sub Pop compilation in 1986. Early fans included Thurston Moore, legendary English DJ John Peel, and Redd Kross. Twenty alt-rock bands recorded a Shonen Knife tribute album (Every Band Has A Shonen Knife Who Loves Them) in 1989, but their American fame grew exponentially two years later.

Kurt Cobain saw Shonen Knife play in L.A. in 1991 and immediately became an enthusiastic fan. He told Melody Maker in September of that year:

We saw Shonen Knife and they were so cool. I turned into a nine-year old girl at a Beatles concert. I was crying and jumping up and down and tearing my hair out - it was amazing. I’ve never been so thrilled in my whole life. They play pop music - pop, pop, pop music.

He asked them to open for Nirvana on their nine-date 1991 UK tour shortly before the release of Nevermind. Not many people had heard of Nirvana at that point, but Shonen Knife agreed. Naoko Yamano described Cobain as being very quiet but friendly.

Naoko told Metroactive:

We toured with him twice in U.K. and U.S. One day when we were touring, he asked to me how to play the guitar chords of our song ‘Twist Barbie.’ So I told the chords to him. Then I heard that he played the song at Nirvana’s secret gig. I’m very proud of it, because he is a great rock artist.

Grohl endeared himself to Naoko’s sister Atsuko by acting as unofficial drum roadie and helping them to set up each night. While in the UK they recorded their first John Peel Session on BBC Radio

Shonen Knife signed to Capitol Records in 1992 and released Let’s Knife, their sixth album. They played the Reading Festival with Mudhoney and Nirvana that year. In December 1992 they joined Nirvana on their midwestern American tour.

In early 1993 Dave Grohl and Cobain enthused about Shonen Knife on MTV:

Dave Grohl: They went into their first song and everyone seemed sort of baffled…They won over the audience by the end of the night. Every show, people were like almost in tears.

Kurt Cobain: I was an emotional sap the whole time. I cried every night.

Dave Grohl: You couldn’t help it!


Shonen Knife performed on the Lollapalooza side stage in 1994, the year Nirvana had been scheduled to headline.

The original Shonen Knife line-up onstage in 1992:

Written by Kimberly J. Bright | Discussion
No One’s Little Girls: The Raincoats were Kurt Cobain’s favorite band
07.12.2013
01:11 pm

Topics:
Feminism
Music

Tags:
Kurt Cobain
Kim Gordon
The Raincoats


 
Although I grew up in the punk era, it was really the post-punk stuff that turned my crank, and still does. During that time there were countless odd ephemeral little bands (including one I was in for 15 minutes) that not only stood no chance of widespread popularity, it never even occurred to them that they could be popular or that they should try to make some real money out of their music. It was almost more about doing something that other creative people in bands would take notice of. Why things were like that for a brief and shining moment I really can’t say, though part of it was the way economics worked then: If you didn’t need a lot of stuff, you could sorta get by with very little bread and spend a lot of your time hangin’ out and, occasionally, working out your musical ideas. Those days, of course, were forcibly crash-landed by Reagan & Thatcher, but for a narrow window of time there was some really incredible musical creativity made by folks who wanted to do something interesting.

One of the obscure little bands I was into was called The Raincoats, and I never saw a review of any of their albums, never saw a video and never saw a photo of them (all the albums I or anyone I knew had only had paintings on the covers). Although they seemed to be a mostly female band, I don’t think that thought really explicitly occurred to me back then: They just made this jangly, repetitive-but-catchy music with weird, often miserable lyrics sung for the most part “unprofessionally” (and as a punk that “unprofessional” bit really made it sound authentic to me). But something about it rung true to my ears and to my small circle of friends as well. We’d sit in dark rooms smoking hashish, listening to The Raincoats and just…abide, though not Cali-style: This was New York City style, complete with cold crummy weather and/or pouring rain.

Little did I know, then, that others were also huddled in dark places around the country, and around the world, listening to The Raincoats as if their music was a tiny little fire with which we’d warm our hands. Never having been a Nirvana fan (though I do appreciate their unique sound), I didn’t know that Kurt Cobain had helped to get their albums reissued on CD and had written this about them:

“..I don’t really know anything about The Raincoats except that they recorded some music that has affected me so much that, whenever I hear it I’m reminded of a particular time in my life when I was (shall we say) extremely unhappy, lonely, and bored. If it weren’t for the luxury of putting that scratchy copy of The Raincoats’ first record, I would have had very few moments of peace. I suppose I could have researched a bit of history about the band but I feel it’s more important to delineated the way I feel and how they sound. When I listen to The Raincoats I feel as if I’m a stowaway in an attic, violating and in the dark. Rather than listening to them I feel like I’m listening in on them. We’re together in the same old house and I have to be completely still or they will hear me spying from above and, if I get caught - everything will be ruined because it’s their thing.”

Meanwhile, Kim Gordon had this to say about The Raincoats:

It was The Raincoats I related to most. They seemed like ordinary people playing extraordinary music. Music that was natural that made room for cohesion of personalities. They had enough confidence to be vulnerable and to be themselves without having to take on the mantle of male rock/punk rock aggression…or the typical female as sex symbol avec irony or sensationalism.

Listening to The Raincoats I didn’t get the sense that I was listening in to a message from women to other women. They were just singing bluntly and honestly about their lives (which had patches of light but plenty of patches of rain too), and we listeners scattered in our dark places related to that. Though probably their best-known song is “Shouting Out Loud,” my favorite tune of theirs was always “I Saw a Hill” from Moving. Listen through to the finale and tell me this doesn’t kick your ass and point straight and unwaveringly at that hidden woman that you keep (be ye male or female) deep down inside and that until this moment you were absolutely sure no one could possibly identify:
 

 
The Raincoats’ stellar cover of “Lola” by The Kinks:
 

 
Below, seldom-seen footage of The Raincoats performing “Go Away” and “No Side to Fall In” in 1982.
 

Written by Em | Discussion
‘Punk As Fuck’: A film on the powerful & iconic photography of Steve Gullick

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‘A good photograph,’ says Steve Gullick, ‘is one that looks great, one that captures an interesting moment in time, one that tells a story, or in the case of a portrait, offers an insight into the subject.’

This is could be a description of Gullick’s own photographs—his beautiful, inky black portraits that are amongst the most recognizable and iconic images of the past twenty years.

Gullick was influenced ‘Mainly by the dark imagery of Don McCullin and Bill Brandt. I tried to infuse my photos with a similar drama—I spent all of my spare time in the darkroom working on getting good.

‘It was more difficult with color but when I started printing my own color stuff in the late 1990’s I was able to match the intensity of my black & white work.

These photographs have captured succeeding generations of artists and musicians from Kurt Cobain, Nirvana, Nick Cave, Patti Smith, Depeche Mode, Foo Fighters, Bjork, The Prodigy, through to Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Richard Hawley

‘Photography is magic. The ability to capture something forever that looks interesting to you is magnificent.’

Now an exhibition of his work Punk as Fuck: Steve Gullick 90-93 is currently running at Indo, 133 Whitechapel Road, London, until 31st March, and is essential viewing for anyone with a serious interest in photography, music and art

To coincide with the exhibition, film-maker Joe Watson documented some of Steve’s preparation for the show, and interviewed him about the stories behind his photographs.

For more information about Punk as Fuck and a selection of Gullick’s brilliant work check his website.
 

 
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Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Kurt Cobain’s handwritten list of 50 of his most favorite albums
11.15.2012
12:09 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Kurt Cobain


 
I haven’t thought about Beat Happening or Rites of Spring in ages. Mr. Cobain had very good taste indeed.

Click here to see larger image.

Via Laughing Squid

Written by Tara McGinley | Discussion
When Kurt Cobain met William Burroughs
10.26.2012
10:43 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
William Burroughs
Kurt Cobain

image
 
Although “The “Priest” They Called Him” might be the most obscure thing in Kurt Cobain’s discography, it’s probably the best selling musical collaboration of William S, Burroughs’s recording career. Basically, in 1992, Cobain contacted his hero, Burroughs about doing something together. Burroughs sent him a tape of a reading he’d done of a short story originally published in his Exterminator collection in 1973 and Cobain added some guitar backing based on “Silent Night” and “To Anacreon in Heaven.”

It was originally released as a limited edition 10-inch EP picture disc on Tim/Kerr Records in 1993, it was subsequently re-released on CD and 10-inch vinyl.

At the time of the collaboration, however, the two had not met. In a carefully prepared “dossier” on the subject found on the web’s premiere Burroughs website, The Reality Studio, their eventual meeting is described thusly, via several sources:

In October 1993 Cobain met in Burroughs in Lawrence, KS.

During this first week of the tour, Alex MacLeod drove Kurt to Lawrence, Kansas, to meet William S. Burroughs. The previous year Kurt had produced a single with Burroughs titled The “Priest” They Called Him, on T/K Records, but they’d accomplished the recording by sending tapes back and forth. “Meeting William was a real big deal for him,” MacLeod remembered. “It was something he never thought would happen.” They chatted for several hours, but Burroughs later claimed the subject of drugs didn’t come up. As Kurt drove away, Burroughs remarked to his assistant. “There’s something wrong with that boy; he frowns for no good reason.”

—Charles R. Cross, Heavier than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain

Burroughs describes the meeting… “I waited and Kurt got out with another man. Cobain was very shy, very polite, and obviously enjoyed the fact that I wasn’t awestruck at meeting him. There was something about him, fragile and engagingly lost. He smoked cigarettes but didn’t drink. There were no drugs. I never showed him my gun collection.” The two exchanged presents — Burroughs gave him a painting, while Cobain gave him a Leadbelly biography that he had signed. Kurt and music video director Kevin Kerslake originally wanted Burroughs to appear in the video for “In Bloom.”

—Carrie Borzillo, Nirvana: The Day-By-Day Chronicle:

“I’ve been relieved of so much pressure in the last year and a half,” Cobain says with a discernible relief in his voice. “I’m still kind of mesmerized by it.” He ticks off the reasons for his content: “Pulling this record off. My family. My child. Meeting William Burroughs and doing a record with him.

– Rolling Stone interview, 25 October 1993

Cobain killed himself on 5 April 1994.

In Lawrence, meanwhile, William Burroughs sat poring over the lyric sheet of In Utero. There was surely poignancy in the sight of the eighty-year-old author, himself no stranger to tragedy, scouring Cobain’s songs for clues to his suicide. In the event he found only the “general despair” he had already noted during their one meeting. “The thing I remember about him is the deathly grey complexion of his cheeks. It wasn’t an act of will for Kurt to kill himself. As far as I was concerned, he was dead already.” Burroughs is one of those who feel Cobain “let down his family” and “demoralized the fans” by committing suicide.

– Christopher Sandford, Kurt Cobain

Read more at The Reality Studio

Below, detail from a mixed media collage that Burroughs sent Kurt Cobain for this 27th birthday.
 
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Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Duglas T. Stewart: The incredible pop life of a BMX Bandit

Duglas_T_Stewart
 
We seek to write the perfect sentence. The one that opens the paragraph, like a key in a door, to places undiscovered. It was how to begin this story on Duglas T Stewart, the lead singer and mainstay of BMX Bandits, whether with a fact or a quote, or oblique reference that would set the scene to unfurl his tale.

Duglas has written his fair share of perfect sentences - in dozens of songs over his twenty-five-year career with BMX Bandits. From the first singles in 1986, the debut album C86 in 1989, through to Bee Stings in 2007, Duglas has been at the center of an incredible family of talented musicians who have together created some of the most beautiful, toe-tapping and joyous music of the past 3 decades.

In the early 1990s, when Nirvana was top of the tree, Kurt Cobain said:

’If I could be in any other band, it would be BMX Bandits.’

It was a tip of the hat to a man who is responsible for singing, writing and producing songs of the kind of beauty and fragility Cobain aspired to.

Not just Cobain, but Brian Wilson and Kim Fowley are also fans, with Fowley explaining his own definition of what it means to be a BMX Bandit:

’It means a nuclear submarine floating through chocolate syrup skies of spinach, raining raisins on a Chihuahua covered infinity of plaid waistcoats, with sunglasses and slow motion. It sort of means, pathos equals suburban integrity of loneliness punctuated by really nice melodies.’

But let’s not take Kim’s word for it, we decided to ask Duglas to tell Dangerous Minds his own version of his life and love as a BMX Bandit.

DM: What was your motivation to become a musician?

Duglas T. Stewart: ‘Initially it was two things. I heard Jonathan Richman in 1977 and it sounded so human and full of warmth and humor and beauty. It also seemed to fly in the face in the punk ethos of DESTROY. It really made a connection with me and I thought I’d like to try to do something that hopefully might make others feel like I did listening to Jonathan. Listening to his music gave me a sense of belonging. I felt less alone.

‘The other thing was I met Frances McKee, later of The Vaselines, and I thought she was incredible. I loved everything about her from her mischievous sense of humor to her slightly overlapping front teeth. She said to me one day she thought it would be fun being in a group, and so I thought I would start a group and she could be in it and that way I could spend more time with her and have a vehicle for expressing how she made me feel.

‘Also I had a lot of self belief so I knew if I started a group it would be way better and more interesting than any other local groups at that time.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

The fabulous BMX Bandits: Interview and performance of ‘(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)


 
More from Duglas on music, art & books, and from BMX Bandits, after the jump…
 
With thanks to Duglas T Stewart
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Tonight, A DJ Will Save Your Life: An interview with Performer Extraordinaire The Niallist

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‘...I’m from an old school that believed that music and musicians could change things - maybe not radically and maybe not quickly, but that the seeds for change could definitely be sown with songs and videos and shows and interviews.’

Niall O’Conghaile aka The Niallist is talking about the music that inspired him to become a musician, a producer, a DJ, a one-man-disco-industry, and a Performer Extraordinaire.

Niall makes music that moves you “physically, mentally and emotionally. Dance music, for want of a better term!” But it’s always been about more than that.

Let’s turn to the history book…

When Brian Eno was working with David Bowie in Germany, he heard Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” in a record shop. Eno bought the single and ran, holding it aloft, back to Bowie in the studio, where he announced, like a pop John-the-Baptist, ‘I have heard the future.’

Niall is part of that future and his musical output is quite phenomenal and brilliant.

But it’s not just music that Niall has made his own, you’ll know him as a star blogger on Dangerous Minds, and perhaps through his work on the blogs Shallow Rave, Weaponizer, Menergy and his site, Niallism.

Niall also DJs / organizes club nights with Menergy and Tranarchy, and is the keyboard player with Joyce D’Ivision. All of which, for my money, makes The Niallist one of the most exciting, talented and outrageous DJ/producers currently working in the UK. Not bad for a boy who started out spinning discs on one turntable at school.

Now, it’s strange how you can spend much of your working day with someone and yet never really know that much about them. Wanting to know more about the extraordinary Niallist, I decided to interview him for (who else?) Dangerous Minds, and this is what he said.
 
DM: Tell me about how you started in music? Was this something to moved towards in childhood?

The Niallist: ‘Yeah, music is something I remember affecting me deeply as a kid. My sister, who is older than me, was a huge Prince fan and naturally that teenage, female, pop-music enthusiasm rubbed off on me. I would read all her old copies of Smash Hits and create my own scrap books from the magazines, even though the bands were, by then, either non-existent or pretty naff.

‘My brother was into more serious, “boy” music, which I didn’t like as a child, but which I really appreciated when I hit puberty. He had a big box of tapes that was crucial to me, even though he didn’t like me borrow them, but he had pretty much all Led Zep’s albums in there, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Bowie, The Stone Roses, and I particularly remember him getting a copy of Nevermind when it had just come out, which was a key discovery. That box smelt of Dettol and musty cassettes, and to this day the smell of Dettol still takes me back!’

What were your early tastes in music? What were those key moments when a song a record made you realise this was what you wanted to do?

The Niallist: ‘Well, Nevermind was definitely one. I think that record started a lot of people on a musical journey. But also, I really identified with Kurt Cobain, as he was an outsider in the pop music landscape who spoke up for gay and women’s rights, which really struck a chord with me. He was a man, but he also wasn’t scared of being seen as feminine. He was a pop star, he looked scruffy and spoke with intelligence and passion. He was different. As someone else who was different, and a natural outsider, I guess I saw music as maybe a place where I could fit in and still fully express myself.

‘Call me hopelessly naive if you will, but I’m from an old school that believed that music and musicians could change things - maybe not radically and maybe not quickly, but that the seeds for change could definitely be sown with songs and videos and shows and interviews. Looking back on the early 90s now, it seems like an incredibly politically-charged time for music and pop culture. Public Enemy, NWA, Ice Cube, Huggy Bear, Bikini Kill, The Prodigy with “Fuck ‘Em And Their Law”, Pearl Jam telling Ticketmaster to fuck off, Spiral Tribe, massive illegal raves, Back To The Planet, Senser, Rage Against The Machine, the fact that RuPaul was a pop star, even Madonna’s Sex book and Erotica album for God’s sake! If you weren’t politically active or at least aware back then, you were terribly uncool. That spirit seems to have disappeared from music altogether now, which is sad.’
 

 

 
More from Niall, including his Top 5 picks, after the jump…
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Justin Bieber superfan’s awesome Tweet
06.15.2012
12:51 pm

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Kurt Cobain
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Oh dear… Soon the Beliebers will be old enough vote!

Via Dlisted

Written by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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