More than 5 Things, November 11th

It’s been a busy time recently, but Five Things returns this week with hopefully interesting items from far and wide. Trade Description Act requires that we are renamed this week as More Than 5 Things From the Past Couple of Months

{ONE} I DON’T BELIEVE IN YESTERDAY
We finally saw Yesterday, a film lacking in so many things – charisma and coherence being the main ones. I mean, I didn’t not enjoy it, in a lazy wet-Thursday-night kind of way, but the incongruities in the end suffocated any joy in the small moments. I excerpted a few bits from Rob Sheffield’s withering review for Rolling Stone when it came out, but here’s the link to the whole thing (if you can bear the appalling amounts of adverts that the RS site has…) “It’s not like a musical,” director Danny Boyle said. “You’re not just covering the Beatles’ songs but recovering them from the dustbin of memory and re-presenting them to the world.” Imagine: An adult in 2019 thinking it’s necessary to rescue the Beatles from “the dustbin of memory.”

{TWO} IF YOU EVER WONDERED…
what the Doctor Who theme would sound like if Ennio Morricone had arranged it, wonder no longer…

{THREE} IN AUCTION NEWS
The Auction World™ has gone beserk lately – you can’t move for music-historical items from houses to trousers being dangled before the world’s eyes. Here’s a few noteworthy items…
ONE “A vintage green cardigan sweater worn by Kurt Cobain during Nirvana’s appearance on MTV Unplugged in 1993. The Manhattan brand sweater is a blend of acrylic, mohair and Lycra with five-button closure (one button absent) with two exterior pockets, a burn hole and discolouration near left pocket and discolouration on right pocket. Size medium”. It made $334,000 at auction Saturday, establishing a new record for the most expensive sweater ever sold at auction. I’m not joking. For $6,000 more, you could have bought Cobain’s Fender hybrid Jag/stang guitar, which you could at least play.

TWO Bill Pagel admits that buying rock and roll property [in his case Dylan’s childhood home in Hibbing] is a twist with unusual challenges: “With a guitar, you can move it around. A house is just sort of stuck there. It’s not a portable collectible.” But neither he nor Lee Bacon (owner of Kurt Cobain’s family house), has plans to move in. Instead, they’re in the process of restoring their respective purchases to as much of their original conditions as possible. The country world has already entered this territory – one can tour Loretta Lynn’s or Johnny Cash’s childhood houses, for instance – and Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s boyhood homes in Liverpool are tourist attractions. But plans for the Dylan and Cobain residences could mark the start of a similar initiative here in the States to turn the homes of classic rock acts into tourist attractions. – from Rolling Stone.

THREE Lot #1 at Gotta Have Rock and Roll’s Auctions in a few days time: Michael Jackson’s socks… as the site says, “Motown 25” Stage-Worn for first-ever Moonwalk, Bill Whitten Custom Crystal socks, gifted to manager Frank DiLeo.” Pre-sale estimate? $1-$2million.

FOUR The things I’d have bought? A poster (with the Jackson Five way down at the bottom of the bill) for what looks like a cracking show – isn’t Sad Sam just the best name for a M.C. ever? And a page from Dan Kramer’s Dylan photo book, 1968.

{FOUR} FEDS v EM
Having rapped about Trumps Donald and Ivanka, Eminem had a visit from the FBI. From Buzzfeed, after they filed a Freedom of Information Act request: The interview took place a month later, on the afternoon of Jan. 16, 2018, with Eminem and his legal team. Two pages of documents summarising the discussion were entirely redacted but it centred around Eminem’s BET freestyle rap and the lyrics in “Framed”. During the interview with Secret Service, when agents began to read the lyrics of his freestyle rap, “Mathers was familiar with the song and began to rap along with the interviewers as the verse was read”, according to the documents.

{FIVE} AND ON TV…
We’re happy that the second series of End of the F***ing World has arrived. A knowing Natural Born Killers relocated to Great Yarmouth, the off-kilter, genre-neutral first series was fascinatingly skewed – shot as though the hinterlands of Britain’s suburbia were as looming and empty as the Arizona desert, with a sensational soundtrack. The actual soundtrack was by Graham Coxon of Blur, but the episodes found space for thrilling Fifties’ psychobilly, those weird midnight Country torch songs, doo-wop, Solomon Burke covering Tom T. Hall (“That’s How I got to Memphis”) and Hayes Carll’s dynamite “KMAG YOYO”. Way to F***ing go.

{SIX} PERILS OF AUTOMATIC CAPTION SOFTWARESES
I like the note (here on an article about bad original band names).

{SEVEN} CONDÉ NAS?
Bizarre analogy from an extraordinary piece in New York magazine by Reeves Wiedeman, about the changes at magazine behemoth Condé Nast. Following a war-room meeting about hard commercial realities, Reeves writes: “When I brought up that meeting to Pam Drucker Mann, Condé Nast’s chief revenue officer, who had been there, she insisted it wasn’t different from meetings pressing other magazines on their commercial prospects. She used an analogy for thinking about the old Vanity Fair versus the new: “There’s a song Bill Withers may have written and sung that people of his time are like, ‘This is the best,’ and then Drake might remake it, and the people that love Drake will be like, ‘This song is amazing.’ ” I took the point, then asked if there actually was a Drake remix of a Bill Withers song that I had missed; she said it was a hypothetical but would get back to me with a real example. An hour later, a Condé Nast spokesperson emailed me Drucker Mann’s revised answer: “Old Town Road,” original by Billy Ray Cyrus. Remix by Lil Nas X.

{EIGHT} COOL MUSIC FOR JOHNNY
From Rolling Stone: After composing the score for the documentary Elvis Presley: The Searcher in 2018, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready has directed his attention to the Man in Black, reuniting with director Thom Zimny to create the soundtrack for The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash. A new doc about the mercurial country singer, the YouTube Originals production (premiering November 11th) looks at Cash’s tortured past — the accidental death of his older brother; his own damaging affair with drugs — and subsequent redemption through spirituality and his marriage to June Carter. To best depict those lows and highs, McCready retreated to his home studio in Seattle to watch the film and come up with appropriately moody, but reverential, sounds. “I would watch the scenes and try to feel what the scenes meant to me, the emotion of what Johnny was talking about or the situation he was in,” McCready says.

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More Than 5 Things, September 12th, Pt. 1

I’ve seen lots of stuff over the weeks since the last post, and here it is, in no particular order. It has nothing to do with music, but you have to watch The Octopus in My House on iPlayer to see the finest nature programme of the past year. Three-hearted, blue-blooded and entirely boneless… you’ll never order octopus in a restaurant again. And, as the publicity happens for The Last Waltz at 40 tour, I’m just trying to figure out why none of the publicity mentions Garth Hudson, only musicians like Warren Haynes and Jamey Johnson, who, last time I looked, have no real Band connections. It’s also been amusing to see which media outlets had an issue with Lana Del Rey’s latest, Norman Fucking Rockwell, and how they decided to deal with that middle word. Was it F***ing? F—ng? Or F@!%ing? And there are no words for what’s happening politically at the moment in Britain, so on with the show…

{ONE} I LOVE A GOOD INTERVIEW
Fascinating Clive Davis interview by David Browne in Rolling Stone.
Which act do you regret not breaking?
“You’re always somewhat regretful of any artist you thought would break. There was the Alpha Band years ago that had T Bone Burnett and a young violinist named David Mansfield. And there were the Funky Kings with Jack Tempchin, who has written so many great songs [the Eagles’ “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” “Already Gone”]”.

I may be the only person who has all three of The Alpha Band albums. Featuring great T-Bone Burnett songs like “The Statue Makers of Hollywood” and “Perverse Generation”, and even a song written with artist Larry Poons. They broke in my house, but possibly not in anyone else’s. Here’s the photographic proof…

AND ALSO…
Rob Stoner interviewed by Jason Woodbury on Aquarium Drunkard, about his role in Rolling Thunder, and what he thought of the Scorsese film. He asks Stoner about Dylan’s tendancy to cloud and obscure facts about his life and work: “I mean you could even look at that as in his sartorial approach, how he changes his lid every era: started out with a little newsboy hat, a little commie, comrade worker hat, and then he went on to the top hat, then the cowboy hat, then the fucking cab driver hat. It’s all part of him just being a shapeshifter. It’s all intentional, and it’s all in fun. It makes for a more entertaining movie than just another goddamn rock documentary. Also, it’s because it poses more questions than it answers. It sets them up for a sequel.”
AD: Do you think that there will be one?
Rob Stoner: Well, they’ve got plenty of performances left in the can, and furthermore, when they set out to begin this project 12 years ago, Scorsese sent a team around to every principal who was alive at the time to do a day’s worth of interviews. They came to my house. Bob’s manager, Jeff Rosen, sat in my studio with me for an entire day, interviewing me. So they have all these interviews in the can. They’ve got enough to do it. This time, if they do it again, hopefully they’ll mention Jacques Levy, Howard Alk, and Paul Goldsmith.
When asked how he handled working with demanding artists, he put it down to “incredibly good luck and people skills. You have to employ a lot of psychology and tap dancing and tip-toeing around these people’s idiosyncrasies. These idiosyncratic individuals, man, they’re artists. Some of them have acquired their strange quirks and personality by design, some of them are just naturally that way, but either way, you have to accommodate them. It’s all about psychology, really.
AD: And that was just a natural skill set that you possessed?
Rob Stoner: Well, basically, it was a desire to keep the job!
AD: Did you ever work for anybody who was more difficult to please than Dylan?
Rob Stoner: I’m gonna have to save that one for my book, man. [Laughs]

{TWO} MUSIC TO WORK TO

At least, that’s how this track worked for me. Forty two minutes and twenty seconds of “Wichita Lineman”. In places it is exquisitely beautiful. Apparently mentioned in Dylan Jones’ new book about the song (yes, just that song. A whole book). Hear DJ talk about it on the Rock’s Backpages Podcast here (it’s Episode 37).

{THREE} WORLD’S COOLEST TRUMPET?

Coming up in late October, as part of Christies Exceptional Auction, this Miles Davis-owned trumpet… “The trumpet was made by the Martin Company, which had been founded in Chicago in 1865 by the German instrument-maker, Johann Heinrich Martin. By the middle of the 20th century, demand for its trumpets was pretty much insatiable. Dizzy Gillespie was a huge fan, Miles Davis was another. Davis was particularly fond of a model called the Committee. So much so that when the Martin Company was sold to a rival manufacturer in the 1960s – and the production of Committee trumpets officially stopped – they continued to be custom-made for Davis. The Committee horn being auctioned was one of a set of three conceived by designer Larry Ramirez, who was a part-time jazz trumpeter himself. At Davis’s request, one was coloured red, one blue and one black – each of them decorated with a gilt moon and stars, and with the word ‘Miles’ inscribed inside the bell. Ramirez told the story, in later life, of the nerves he’d felt at the moment Davis handed him back one of the horns and said, ‘You play, don’t you?’. He duly played a tentative passage from Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez and remembers his relief when Davis observed, ‘Man, you play pretty good’.”

{FOUR} RIP JIMMY JOHNSON, RIP DONNIE FRITTS
When we recorded in the Shoals, Jimmy lent Mark his Telecaster, and us his car. Jimmy, like all of the Shoals team, wanted to help out. Tape Ops, receptionists, engineers, legends – all of them the embodiment of Southern Hospitality. I promptly reversed the car into a telegraph pole. Here I am on the bonnet of the Jimmymobile, pre-prang.

And Donnie (Flip-Side) Fritts was the subject of this lovely memoir by David Hood’s son Patterson (thanks, Bob, for The Bitter Southerner tip). A tribute to “Alabama’s Leaning Man”, he starts, “There was never a time when I didn’t know Funky Donnie Fritts…” and goes on to tell of Donnie’s life and times. “One of my favorites among Donnie’s songs was “Where’s Eddie,” which he and Eddie Hinton co-wrote around sunrise one morning. They got drunk, climbed a tree, and wrote the tune while sitting among the limbs. The British artist Lulu ended up recording it for New Routes, the album she recorded in Muscle Shoals. Years later, my band Drive-By Truckers recorded it for our album Go-Go Boots. Donnie later told me that he and Hinton drunkenly argued over whose name would grace the title. Fortunately, neither fell out of that tree.”

Donnie Fritts and Jimmy Johnson at Muscle Shoals Sound during the Prone to Lean Sessions

{FIVE} NICE NAMING, BRIAN…
The excellent film on Dieter Rams, part of the BBC’s Design Week of programmes, was graced with a fine Eno soundtrack (evocatively named, as usual). The three outliers were a Lotte Lenya Brecht/Weill track, Mancini’s “Days of Wine and Roses” and John Lewis’ “D&E”, both performed by Oscar Peterson.

{BEFORE YOU GO…}
The Tom Waits song location map

The RBP podcast with Richard Williams
A great episode. As Barney writes, “In the latest episode of the Rock’s Backpages podcast, Jasper Murison-Bowie (left) and I talk with very special guest Richard Williams about his long & august career as a writer, editor & author… and about Easy Rider, Arthur Lee, Albert Ayler, Laura Nyro, Melody Maker & much, much more. Richard gave me my first break as a music writer when he (and Ian Birch) gave me some reviews to write for MM in 1979. I owe him more than I can ever express. His taste and erudition have been beacons for me for at least 45 years. Thank you, sir.” Find it here (it’s Episode 41).

Life looks better in Super 8
Rather beautiful Super 8 movies of the Elliot Lawrence Big Band on the road in 1950, from Marc Myers’ JazzWax.

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The book of Five Things is available from Amazon here.

Front Cover

“He writes with the insight of someone who has inhabited the world of the professional musician but also with the infectious enthusiasm of someone who is a fan like anyone of us. He also comes at the subject from an entirely personal, slightly sideways perspective, with no agenda and no product to sell. It’s entertaining and inspiring in equal measure.” – from an Amazon review by Zuma
“A terrific book, stuffed to the gills with snippets of news items and observations all with a musical theme, pulled together by the watchful eye of Martin Colyer… lovingly compiled, rammed with colour photos and interesting stories. He has a good ear for a tune, an eye for the out-of-ordinary and can write a bit too.” – Steve Carr, everyrecordtellsastory.com

Tuesday, July 2nd

{ONE} CARTOON
I took this cartoon from a batch submitted by Ray Lowry in about 1983, when I worked at The Listener. I don’t know whether it’s tragic or incredible that you could run it in Private Eye this week and it would still work…

{TWO} PIECES ON WORKING WITH MAC
Two interesting and heartfelt pieces on Dr John. First, in Rolling Stone, by Jonathan Bernstein, about the album that he was making before his death:
The resulting album is anchored largely in traditional country music. “These were people he grew up on, a lot of people didn’t know that,” says guitarist and producer Shane Theriot. Dr. John had idolized Hank Williams Sr. since he was a teenager, and according to jazz vets like John Scofield, he had been talking about recording a country-tinged piano record a la Ray Charles’ Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music since at least the Eighties. The album features several country classics like “Old Time Religion” (a duet with Willie Nelson), Johnny Cash’s “Guess Things Happen That Way,” and “Funny How Time Slips Away,” as well as several Williams covers like “Ramblin’ Man.”

“There’s a version of [Hank Williams’ 1949 song] “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” that’ll make you cry when you hear Mac sing it,” says Theriot. “As this record took shape, it wasn’t intentional, but the common thread is that the songs all deal with time and looking back. When you hear Mac sing, it’s somebody that’s lived a really full life. He sounds great, but he sounds exposed.” “The lyrical content” is country, keyboardist David Torkanowsky says of the record, “but it was completely Rebennack’ed out.”

And this, by Chris Rose on myneworleans.com.
In a career marked by many strange phone calls – an occupational hazard for a newspaperman – one I got in the fall of 2005 was a true corker. The voice on the other end of the line was unmistakable. At the time, he was living in New York City and had been taking in the news of Hurricane Katrina from afar, from friends and family and TV. And, it turned out, my stories in the Times-Picayune.

“You da’ only one who gets it,” he told me. And thus, we actually became friends. He called me every now and then to talk, to vent, to spleen. And then one day he called with a favor to ask. He was coming to New Orleans for the first time since the flood, and he asked if I would show him around. Me? Give a disaster tour for Dr John? What ya’ gonna do? And so time passed. Mac and I fell out of touch for a while. He was writing and recording new music. I was going insane, getting divorced and getting addicted. And then came another call from Mac, out of the blue, this one even stranger than the first one. He said he was working on a new record that would be called “City That Care Forgot,” by far the most political and angry record of his career. He told me that a couple of unfinished songs were inspired or based on some of my newspaper stories. And then he asked me if I would write them with him, polish them off for him. Whoa. Giving Dr John a disaster tour was one thing. Now he wants me to write songs with him? What the hell do you say to that? Sure, I said. And then: Umm, how do you write songs?

{THREE} QUOTES FROM ROB SHEFFIELD’S TAKEDOWN OF “YESTERDAY” IN ROLLING STONE
“Jack’s only likeable quality is that he’s into the Pixies (he has their poster on his wall) and wears a Fratellis T-shirt. Honestly, the idea of a world where nobody knows the Beatles is nowhere near as surreal as a world where people remember the Fratellis. (Note: I love the Fratellis, and could sing their 2006 U.K. hit “Chelsea Dagger” for you right now.)”
“It continues the weirdest and most noxious trend in the nouveau breed of rock flicks, like A Star Is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Dirt: there is never the slightest suggestion that female musicians exist. The idea just never comes up. (In A Star Is Born, when Gaga sleeps under a Carole King album cover, it’s a shock because Carole is the only other female presence in the movie who listens to music, much less performs it.)
“But nothing about Jack’s rise to fame makes sense, really. He plays “Back in the U.S.S.R.” in Moscow without changing a word. (Fun fact: Ukraine and Russia are no longer the same country! Thousands of people have been killed fighting over this!)”

{FOUR} LINES FROM A LOVE LETTER
From Len to M, sold recently for $21,250. “I put steel strings on my guitar, that’s like changing from underwear to armour, that’s New York City. Given up plans for sainthood, revolution, redemptive visions, music mastery, just the ageing man with a notebook.” [He was 33 at the time! – Ed.] “Walking through the city, insisting that no one follow, feeling either black or golden, dead to lust, tired of ambition, a lazy student of my own pain, happy about the occasional sun, thin and dressing very shabbily, hair out of control, feeling good tonight as I write my perfect friend… Isn’t it curious and warm to grow old in each other’s life?”

{FIVE} PEOPLE FAINTED WHEN MARADONA’S FREE-KICK WON A GAME AGAINST JUVENTUS…
… and two had heart attacks. After seeing the film, you can see why. At the start of Diego Maradona, the BBFC certificate warns, excellently, of nudity and bloody detail, and the film doesn’t disappoint. From Diego’s wide-eyed terror, to the crazed Napoli fans – the most impoverished football club in Italy buying the world’s most expensive footballer – the film uses the degraded videotape images as an immersive experience. It’s director Asif Kapadia’s signature of course – the no talking heads rule from Senna and Amy is maintained here – and it’s electric. The use of Foley, to amp up the sound of the ball as it’s passed, kicked and headed, and to intensify the crowd, is almost overwhelming. “That’s the most Italian thing ever”, says Gabe as Maradona is unveiled in chaos and clamour to a stadium full of Napoli fans. See how the weight of their expectations, followed by an inability to let Diego leave Napoli when he wanted to, causes – to mix metaphors – a car crash.

{EXTRAS} IF YOU’VE GOT SOME TIME TO SPARE
David Crosby as Rolling Stone’s Agony Aunt? It totally works
Ken Burns tackles Country Music over eight episodes for PBS – there’s a trailer here.
A fabulous piece on Dylan by Steven Heller, New York design guru, in Design Observer.
In the New Yorker, Amanda Petrusich’s Lil Nas X Is the Sound of the Internet, Somehow is terrific, and has an Einstein quote to die for.

Five Things, Wednesday 8th October

From an unsparing – but excellent – profile of Willie Nelson at 81 in Rolling Stone, written by Patrick Doyle
“We walk across the driveway to what Nelson calls Django’s, a small log cabin where he spends most of his time. A baseball bat sits by the door; Al Jazeera plays with the volume off on the flatscreen, while a liberal talk-radio show blares in the back of the room. There are shelves of books – books about the history of the Middle East, a book of sketches by Julian Schnabel and a Django Reinhardt songbook. Reinhardt has long been Nelson’s favourite guitarist; he has been taking lessons lately, learning some of the jazz great’s techniques from a teacher in Maui.”

From Michael Parkinson’s biography, picked up at my in-laws
“Yehudi Menuhin had been booked to appear and the researcher reported that, while visiting him, she saw an album by Stéphane Grappelli on his desk. She enquired if he was a fan and Menuhin said he had been sent the album but was not aware of Grappelli’s work. We called Stéphane, who was working in a club in Paris, and asked if he would appear on the show with Menuhin. He was uncertain. “He is a maestro. I am a humble fiddle player,” he said. We convinced him and he flew in to meet Menuhin who, by this time, had listened to Grappelli’s album and was insisting that if they played together they must first rehearse at his house. Stéphane arrived, straight from his stint in the nightclub, and was whisked off to meet Menuhin. He was very nervous. He returned three hours later, wreathed in smiles. we asked him how the rehearsal had been. Stéphane said, “How did it go? I tell you. Five bars into Lady Be Good, who is the maestro?” Menuhin was in awe of Grappelli’s effortless improvising, something he found as impossible to achieve as it would have been for Stéphane to play the Brahms Violin Concerto. It is hard to imagine two more diverse personalities – Menuhin, an infant prodigy, a protected species from childhood; Stéphane, a child of smoke-filled rooms who never had a formal lesson in his life and created, along with Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club, a sound as enchanting and fresh as any in all of jazz.”

My one meeting with Monsieur Grappelli was when Roger Horton, owner of the 100 Club, asked me to photograph him, in order to have his portrait on the walls of the club. Barely out of art school, I had spent a year or so photographing musicians at the Jazz Centre Society in Seven Dials Community Centre on Shelton Street, Covent Garden. It was good practice – there was almost no light and no space, so you really had to work hard to get anything worthwhile. I had no real knowledge of the music, mostly at the more experimental end of the jazz spectrum, but it was always interesting. I snapped Mongezi Feza, Peter Ind, Tony Coe and Bobby Wellins with various degrees of success. I remember squeezing into a tiny space at Louis Stewart’s feet and shooting almost vertically upwards. Louis is a great jazz guitarist from Ireland, who was also in Grappelli’s band that night, along with the equally gifted Martin Simpson. At the point Roger asked me I was competent, but no more, and nervous to boot. I think that Roger asked me to shoot with a flash, because I never would have otherwise used it… Stéphane was polite, but tired, and I felt awful making them pose. The performance, however was terrific. Here’s the contact sheet. Roger chose frame 3, I chose the sans-flash frame 8.

SG

From The Financial Express
Sian sends me this: Scientists sneak Bob Dylan lyrics into research articles: Five Swedish scientists who have been quoting Bob Dylan lyrics in research articles for the last 17 years are running a wager on who can squeeze in most of the American singer’s songs in their articles. The game started 17 years ago when two Professors from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, John Jundberg and Eddie Weitzberg, wrote a piece about gas passing through intestines, with the title Nitric Oxide and inflammation: The answer is blowing in the wind. “We both really liked Bob Dylan and we thought the quotes really fitted nicely with what we were trying to achieve with the title”, Weitzberg said. “We’re not talking about scientific papers – we could have got in trouble for that – but rather articles we have written about research by others, book introductions, editorials and things like that”. A few years later a librarian spotted an article written by two other medical professors working at the same university titled Blood on the tracks: a simple twist of fate. The librarian connected the foursome. Junberg and Weitzberg then invited their colleagues to take the idea to the next level and they started competing to see who could get the most Bob Dylan lyrics into their articles before retirement. The winner will get lunch in a restaurant in Solna, north of Stockholm.

From Small Acorns
After another great Tuesday night at the Harrison to watch the Horseless Headmen, Grahame Painting’s terrific improv project, Marcel thinks he recognises trombonist Paul Taylor from seeing the Yiddish Twist Orchestra recently. One innocent enquiry leads to a fascinating conversation, which takes in the upcoming Orchestra CD – two years after its recording, the stars have finally aligned – Brass bands, the UK Cuban music scene, trombone poetry (Paul’s invention), the Three Mustaphas Three, Don Ellis, the Mingus Big Band and the nature of music. Marcel and I agreed that it was as enjoyable as the gig.

From Rock’s Backpages, and the Other Side
A recording made by John Pidgeon of an extraordinary interview he did with Michael Jackson, through the medium of his 13-year-old sister Janet, has been animated by Blank on Blank, in their Famous Names, Lost Interviews series. It was recorded in LA in January 1980 as Off The Wall was being released.

From John’s introduction: “One thing,” she said, as if it was an insignificance she had overlooked and just remembered, “you don’t mind if his sister sits in on the interview, do you?”
“Of course not, Shirley,” I assured her with a smile.
“What’s her name?”
“Janet.”
“Janet,” I repeated.
“Oh, and one more thing…” Shirley paused, to ensure she had my attention. Anticipating another trivial afterthought, I wasn’t ready for the bomb Shirley was about to drop.
“If you could direct your questions to Janet, she’ll put them to Michael.”

Michael Jackson: “I hate labels because it should be just music. I don’t see anything wrong with disco. You can’t dance to [imitates guitar thrashing sound] or… Call it disco. Call it anything. It’s music. Would you call “She’s Out of My Life” disco? “Off The Wall”, “Rock With You”… I don’t know. It’s music to me. It’s like you hear a bird chirping. You don’t say: “That’s a bluejay. This one is a crow.” It’s a beautiful sound. That’s all that counts. Listen to it. You watch them soar in the skies. It’s just beautiful.”

Extra! Mike Disfarmer and Birney Imes
If you’re interested in photography of the American South, check out this fascinating post by Gerry Corden, at That’s How The Light Gets In. Nominally about the new Lucinda Williams CD, it mutates into a fascinating look at photography, music and mutual inspiration.
“Disfarmer is an unusual name – because Mike made it up, changing his name to indicate a rift with both his kin and his agrarian surroundings. He was born Michael Meyer in 1884 and legally changed his name to Disfarmer to disassociate himself from the farming community in which he plied his trade and from his own kinfolk – claiming that a tornado had accidentally blown him onto the Meyer family farm as a baby.”

Five Things I Saw & Heard This Week: Wednesday 3rd October

Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine, Rolling Stone Magazine
“Paul Ryan claims that he likes Rage’s sound but not the lyrics. Well, I don’t care for Paul Ryan’s sound or his lyrics… Basically, the only thing he’s not raging against is the privileged elite he’s grovelling in front of for campaign contributions. You see, the super-rich must rationalize having more than they could ever spend, while millions of children in the US go to bed hungry every night.” Excellent Raging against The Republican Machine in a magazine that veers worryingly between Tiger Beat-style fawning over popstrels and top-notch political reportage and comment. Read Matt Taibbi on Mitt Romney. Read it and weep.

Rolling Stone Gathers Some Grapes

Excuse my French, but HFL is this? Very lame, I think…

Homeland Trailers, Channel 4
The first one is filled to the brim with all the creeping paranoia of the series, as an childrens’ choir sings the Star Spangled Banner, before clattering drumming (military? Middle Eastern?) drowns it out in a series of shots of the characters all at different places, screaming… The second, using Johnny Cash and Rick Rubin’s God’s Gonna Cut You Down is even better, and is mostly about Claire Danes’ eyes… “Go tell that long-tongue liar/Go and tell that midnight ride/Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter/Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut ’em down/Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut ’em down.” Of course, the only question is: Whose God?

More Duquesne On This Blog, Oh!
In Paris to see Leonard Cohen (there’ll be a Five Things extra later in the week, folks!) I found this keyring in Vanves’ antiques market. Is there a pun on de Cane [sugar] here?

Hound Dog Taylor Poster, aupassage Restaurant

I’ve been listening to Hound Dog Taylor lately and who should I find on the walls of an artfully lo-fi restaurant but the man himself, complete with great quote: “He couldn’t play shit, but he sure made it sound good!” I should point out that these were his own words, prefaced with “When I die, they’ll say…”

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