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‘Pig Pile’: Big Black live on their final tour, with members of Wire, 1987
07.23.2014
09:23 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Big Black
Wire
Steve Albini


 
In 1992, five years after their breakup in the wake of their amazing LP Songs About Fucking, the influential and scathing post-hardcore pioneers Big Black released a boxed set called Pig Pile, which featured a shirt, a poster, a VHS tape, a vinyl LP, and a clear-vinyl 5” single. The LP and VHS were documents of the band’s July 1987 concert at London’s Hammersmith Clarendon, and the 5” was a totally incongruous cover of the Mary Jane Girls’ “In My House.”
 

In My House by Big Black on Grooveshark

 
Yyyyyyyep.

Talking to NME about the show, the band’s singer/guitarist Steve Albini had this to offer:

We made a splash immediately before we broke up; now a band starts shopping its demos to majors after its third rehearsal. By the end, I think we improved; on the live record and video we were probably as good as we were ever gonna be. That gig was exciting—there was this giant belch and everyone involved in this giant belch felt immensely relieved afterwards.

 

 
It was indeed a hell of a belch. The band at its height was known for a relentlessly concussive and scarifying musical blitz—Albini’s guitar tone alone could practically sever limbs—paired with true-story lyrics that unflinchingly detailed the most reprehensible of human behaviors, often to genuinely chilling effect. The videotape and album show the band slaying an excoriating best-of set, and for their encore, a cover of Wire’s “Heartbeat,” they were joined onstage by Wire’s Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis in what must have been a fan-fantasy score of a lifetime. The LP was rereleased as a CD in short order, and inevitably came out on vinyl again in the ‘oughts, but the video has never been reissued in any format. Per the band’s label, Touch and Go records,

In 1992, Touch and Go released a Big Black live album and video, titled Pig Pile, that were recorded (mostly) in 1987 during Big Black’s final tour. Someday, we might release the video on DVD. Until then, please don’t ask us about it.

As of this writing, used copies of the complete set are being offered on discogs.com for between $60 USD (box condition fair, shirt worn) and well over $200. But if you’re really that hot to watch it, and you don’t mind tiny and fuzzy, here it is.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
‘Shellac Pistols’: Shellac and David Yow do the Sex Pistols, 1998
Awkward, hilarious interview with Steve Albini
Absolute Nirvana: new Steve Albini mixes push in utero anniversary set into essential territory

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Change Becomes Them: Post-punk legends Wire return to the concert stage, 1985
01.13.2014
12:06 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Wire


 
Art rock gods Wire were inactive between 1981 and 1985 due to solo outings and other projects. When they reformed, the sound of Wire 2.0 moved away from their earlier harder-edged material towards more electronic instrumentation and experimentation.

The band had moved on and announced that they would play none of the older songs live, hilariously opting instead to hire a Wire tribute band called The Ex-Lion Tamers—their name taken from one of Pink Flag‘s song titles—to open their American tour playing tunes from their first few albums.

You have to love that. What other band save for Wire would do such a thing?

Wire live at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London on Sunday July 21, 1985. This is, I’m pretty sure, the first gig of their return.

Set list: “Drill,” “Serious Of Snakes,” “Ambulance Chasers,” “Harry,” “Madman’s Honey,” “Come Back In Two Halves,” “Kidney Bingos,” “Up To The Sun,” “Drill.”
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Wire’s Colin Newman advised My Bloody Valentine to cut down on the white noise stuff!
11.13.2013
07:56 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
My Bloody Valentine
Wire


 
Two nights ago I saw My Bloody Valentine in New York. I had not seen them before, and they more than lived up to expectations. Way back in 1992 I was living in Austria, I was feeling out of touch with music so I asked a friend to send me three discs—my choice of material was almost arbitrary, and yet I was inexplicably certain that all three albums would be at worst really solid. The CDs were Doolittle, Loveless, and Slanted & Enchanted. Yeah. And MBV has been a constant, beloved companion of mine ever since.

Some of the reviews of the MBV shows from earlier this year were surprisingly tepid, but I can assure you that they worked out whatever was holding them back. The unremitting volume of the gig was a constant theme, including the free earplugs distributed at the venue. The show ended with a tibia-rattling rendition of “You Made Me Realise” that for quite a while sounded approximately like Apollo 11 taking off for orbit.

I didn’t time the white noise section, but according to reports it lasted six minutes—BrooklynVegan referred to it as a “Holocaust.” In an intriguing comment in that same BV thread (most of the time BV threads are entertainingly moronic), reader “ME” wrote, “MBV faced a lot of criticism after the previous tour, when the white noise ... lasted for about 20 minutes. Even Colin Newman, who knows a thing or two about making noise from when MBV were still infants, confronted Kevin, telling him it was irresponsible to inflict such a damage on their fans. Maybe that is why they cut it short now?”

Curiosity piqued, I decided to hit the Google machine. There does indeed seem to have been such an incident. In a 2008 interview with exclaim.ca, Newman tells the following story:
 

Last night, before we went home, my wife and I were at the after party and I had to use the loo. And Kevin [Shields] was in there. There were three stalls and I was on one side and Kevin was on the far side and there was another guy, who was at the after party, but he looked like he was just a fan. Kevin said to me, “What do you think?” and I just said that it just “hurt my ears” and that the last song “went on too long.” He said, “Yeah, we’re going to have to do some work on that, it was something that we were just kicking around.” And the guy in the middle said, “I can’t believe you just said that! It was such a religious experience for me!” But to me it was just my friend being too loud.

 
It all reminded me of MBV’s cover of the Wire classic “Map Ref. 41°N 93°W,” which appeared on the 1996 album Whore: Tribute to Wire. By the way, did you know that 41°N 93°W correlates to a town called Centerville, Iowa? I didn’t even know it was about America. Here’s a gratuitous picture of Centerville:
 
Centerville, Iowa
 
My Bloody Valentine, “Map Ref. 41°N 93°W”:

 
Below, the little-known orginal music video for “You Made Me Realise” from 1989:

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Seven Commandments of art punk: Wire’s rules of negative self-definition, 1977
02.18.2013
08:15 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Wire
Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Post-punk art rock gods Wire, live in 1979
01.04.2013
02:03 pm

Topics:
Art
Music
Punk

Tags:
Wire


 
I spent a fair amount of the holidays rediscovering the timeless genius of Wire’s late 70’s punk/post punk/art rock triptych of Pink Flag, Chairs Missing, and 154 and I’d have to say, those three albums will never get old for me.

This 1979 set for the German TV series RockPalast, taped between Chairs Missing
and 154, is the only professionally shot record of Wire during their (first) glory days and it kicks ass so hard. If you’re a fan of the band and you’ve never seen this before, prepare to be blown the fuck away.

1 Intro + Another The letter
2 The 15th
3 Practice Makes Perfect
4 Two People In A Room
5 I Feel Mysterious Today
6 Being Sucked In Again
7 Once Is Enough
8 Blessed State
9 A Question of Degree
10 Single KO
11 Mercy
12 Forty Versions
13 Former Airline
14 French Film Blurred
15 Men 2nd
16 Map Ref. 41°N 93°W
17 Heartbeat
18 Pink Flag (encore)

From the looks of things, the audience of long-haired German stoners had no idea what had just hit them!
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Chuck Berry reviews Sex Pistols, Talking Heads, Clash and many more, 1980


Chuck Berry & Debbie Harry.
 
Chuck Berry interviewed by punk zine Jet Lag in 1980. Berry shares his thoughts about “what the kids are listening to these days.”
 

The Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen”:

What’s this guy so angry about anyway? Guitar work and progression is like mine. Good backbeat. Can’t understand most of the vocals. If you’re going to be mad at least let the people know what you’re mad about.

 

The Clash’s “Complete Control”:

Sounds like the first one. The rhythm and chording work well together. Did this guy have a sore throat when he sang the vocals?

 

The Ramones’ “Sheena is a Punk Rocker”:

A good little jump number. These guys remind me of myself when I first started, I only knew three chords too.

 

The Romantics’ “What I Like About You”:

Finally something you can dance to. Sounds a lot like the sixties with some of my riffs thrown in for good measure. You say this is new? I’ve heard this stuff plenty of times. I can’t understand the big fuss.

 

Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer”:

A funky little number, that’s for sure. I like the bass a lot. Good mixture and a real good flow. The singer sounds like he has a bad case of stage fright.


Wire’s “I Am the Fly” and Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures:

So this is the so-called new stuff. It’s nothing I ain’t heard before. It sounds like an old blues jam that BB and Muddy would carry on backstage at the old amphitheatre in Chicago. The instruments may be different but the experiment’s the same.


Click here to see larger image.
 

Click here to see larger image.
 
H/T WFMU and Music Ruined My Life

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Truly Post-Punk: Suzanne Somers meets Wire on ‘The Late Show,’ 1987
11.26.2012
10:21 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
Wire
Suzanne Somers
Drill


 
Here’s a clip of Suzanne Somers guest hosting The Late Show (subbing for Joan Rivers after she was fired) in 1987.

The musical guests that night? Wire.

Suzanne Somers: “You’re sorta a far-out kinda group, you know?”

Bruce Gilbert: “Ummm, I doubt it.”

 

 
With thanks to Todd Phillips!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Gary War: Highspeed Drift
01.21.2010
01:00 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Wire
Gary War


Check out this Illuminoid sunspot blitzkreig courtesy of Gary War, from the “Horribles Parade” LP (Sacred Bones Records 2009). #23 in The WIRE’s Top 50 of 2009.

(Gary War: Horribles Parade)

Via Swen’s Blog

Gary War’s MySpace

Posted by Jason Louv | Leave a comment