Archive for the ‘The Birthday Party’ Category

Captain Beefheart

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Listen: Click Clack / Captain Beefheart CaptainBeefheartClickClack.mp3

I’m not generally a fan of songs about sitting by train tracks waiting for the such and such to roll by. As a lyrical theme, once was too much. So I tended to pay little attention to ‘Click Clack’.

Just so happens my Captain Beefheart singles don’t get much attention, on a high top shelf and pretty close to The Beatles, a section I rarely browse. But I admittedly found myself wanting to hear ‘Click Clack’, Joey’s brother having just sent a rough mix of a railroad song my way. I recall when Joe had written it, and played it down the phone one afternoon. Finally, a railroad song that captured my interest.

What the hell, I pulled out his 7′s (always a fun browse) and had forgotten how authentic Captain Beefheart’s rendition of the theme worked. Just enough blues juxtaposed against an unlikely bass and drum rhythm. Almost as if the two sections of players weren’t even listening to each other.

Possibly Captain Beefheart’s most commercial 7″ since his initial ‘Diddy Wah Diddy’, I’m not sure why The Magic Band (as they were now known – as opposed to His Magic Band) were excluded from the label copy despite having played on the single.

One morning, around ’85, I got into my office at Elektra around 9:30, and just cranked The Birthday Party’s ‘Release The Bats’ single, then their latest release. Before it was over, Bob Krasnow was standing in my doorway, huge grin on his face. “What the fuck is this, sounds like Beefheart, I love it”. He would know, having produced much of his Buddah releases and ultimately signing him to Reprise. Not long afterwards, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds became Elektra recording artists.

Hey Bob, where are my points?

The Psychedelic Furs

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Heaven / Psychedelic Furs

Heaven / Psychedelic Furs

Heaven / Psychedelic Furs

Listen: Heaven / Psychedelic Furs PsyFursHeaven.mp3

It was the Christmas break, 1979. Corinne and I went to stay with Howard in London for what turned out to be a Christmas to remember. He really did it up right, as always had countless things planned, on the go go go, especially hitting all the record shops. Went to see The Birthday Party at The Venue. Fuck they were, um, great. I did not appreciate it fully at the time, but in hindsight – yes, pretty great. And then there were the traditional English holiday parties. Not industry parties mind you, but family ones, like John Anthony’s Mom’s. That spread was fierce and her homemade trifle…..well we still talk about it to this day. The nights we didn’t eat our way through a party or see a band were just happily spent playing records in HT’s front room. The floor was literally covered with 45’s, row after row leaning against the moldings. An endless trove to flip through and pick from. Hours would just fly by, never a dull moment. And he had everything, all the latest releases – and there were many. Don’t forget, loads of great records were still coming out weekly. It was the tail end of punk turning into whatever the next thing was called…I really can’t remember actually. And often Richard and Tim Butler would be by. Howard had just signed them to CBS, and they were beaming about their first single ‘We Love You’, which Howard had just gotten copies of. In fact, they kept playing it over and over and over. But hey if they didn’t, we did. It was the start of a friendship that lasted years and brought loads of fun times. I realized only recently that The Furs were a really good singles band. I mean they have so many. I was very into TALK TALK TALK, not a bad track in my book, so always thought of them more as ‘albums’. But lately I’ve been rotating a bunch of the 7’s on my ipod and indeed – they were a solid singles band. I’m not sure many people rate ‘Heaven’ as one of their best but it sure is. I ran into Richard on the street about a month ago. He’s lived in NY for years. Picked up right were we left off, as if mid-sentence. We were shocked to think it’s been 29 years since that Christmas. Pretty amazing considering we’re both still 35.