International Clash Day: Interview with Mike Scott of The Waterboys

With a sound that merges Celtic folk and ’60s rock, you may be surprised to learn that Mike Scott of The Waterboys cites The Clash as an early influence. In this exclusive International Clash Day interview, Scott tells KEXP about discovering The Clash, his song about Mick Jones, and the times he ran into Joe Strummer.

“Well, when I first heard The Clash I thought they sounded like The Glitter Band. And The Glitter Band was a British pop band who used to back Gary Glitter and they specialized in this kind of buzzy guitar sound, dull drums and “OH YEAH! OH YEAH!” kind-of vocals. And when I first heard The Clash doing “White Riot”, that’s what I thought they sounded like. But then I went deeper and I listened to the first Clash album. And slowly it had an electrifying effect on me. And unlike most Clash listeners I had never listened to The Ramones. I was never interested in the Ramones. And I realize now that The Clash really lifted about 50 percent of their sound from the first Ramones album, but I was blissfully unaware of that. And so to me that first Clash album is like a bolt from the blue. All those fantastic short, super fast songs. And then I went to see them live at Clouds in Edinburgh, which is a big disco, and they were the most incredible band I’d ever seen. Now, I’d seen The Rolling Stones, The Who. Lots of the great bands of rock as a teenager, but The Clash blew them all away. The energy of The Clash was so exciting and so dangerous and so unrestrained. And they were like an army on stage. Beautiful in their power.”
– Mike Scott | Read Full Interview at KEXP Website

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Mark E Smith: the last of the non-conformists

There was no one quite like the Fall’s post-punk poet.

It was announced yesterday that, after a period of ill health last year, Mark E Smith has passed away aged 60. The only constant member of the Fall since he formed the band in 1976, MES (as his name was often abbreviated) was a true original, a glorious one-off who remained closer to the original post-punk brief than anyone else. His passing is another weary reminder of the fading out of a non-conformist era, a time when public life wasn’t dominated by well-connected head-boy types or pop figures whose idea of being edgy is to endorse Jeremy Corbyn in the Guardian.

Indeed, many of us loved MES precisely because he had an in-built bullshit detector alerting him to the pretensions of petit-bourgeois radicals and their strange ideas. The Fall’s 1994 track ‘Middle Class Revolt!’ was a prescient statement on the shifting direction of British culture and politics. His unaffected persona was that of a cranky old factory worker moaning about students and layabouts. It always made for entertaining copy in interviews, and in real life he was no different. Nevertheless, his proletarian belligerence couldn’t entirely hide his autodidacticism and his role as a genuine artist. For a start, the Fall’s name was taken from a 1956 Albert Camus novel, and MES’s reference points were resolutely literary – Marlowe, Nabokov, Ballard, Gogol and Ellison crop up in various ways throughout MES’s song titles and lyrics. The writer Simon Reynolds pointed out that the Fall’s biggest early influence was not punk rock, but a worn out library card. It clearly showed in MES’s dramatic and vivid wordplay manifest throughout his band’s 40-year existence.

As a precocious teenager, MES was first hooked on pivotal Krautrock band Can, with their motorik chug and expansive drum rolls becoming a mainstay of the Fall’s sound. And yet, at the same time, the Fall never really sounded like anyone else. They may have often given the impression of shambolic chaos, but beneath that there was a tightly honed drive and attack which drew on anything from 1950s rockabilly through to the fizz and squall of acid house. The Fall were always a disorientating collage, but one held in check by MES’s pile-driving energy. The result was hypnotic and compelling. Central to this magnetic quality was always MES’s barked, tumbling wordplay that had its own lexicon and codes. Such was the force of MES’s personality that lesser lights were often drafted in by Smith for guest vocal appearances to add grit, menace and humour [ . . . ] Source: Mark E Smith: the last of the non-conformists

No future: 40 years since Sex Pistols stuck two fingers up at the British establishment

Bollocks

For almost a year, the Sex Pistols had been the focus of sensationalist media coverage. The on Thames Television’s tea-time Today programme stoked a moral panic at the end of 1976, precipitating the cancellation of gigs, the band’s expulsion from their EMI record deal, and lurid tabloid tales of punk’s ‘.

The release of God Save the Queen in May 1977, issued to and wrapped in a Jamie Reid-designed sleeve that defaced the Queen, further upped the ante. Faux-moral outrage now gave way to faux-patriotic outrage, as the record nevertheless pushed towards the top of the charts. So the story goes, it was only prevented from reaching the number one spot by the .

In its wake, the band’s promotional jaunt up the Thames was stopped by police, while Johnny Rotten and Reid were attacked in the street. In punk and the Pistols, the media had found a cultural expression that seemingly embodied the language of crisis and decline that was shaping perceptions of the 1970s. The ‘no future’ that Rotten warned of at the end of God Save the Queen as he surveyed the ‘mad parade’ of jubilee pomp amid ongoing fears of economic collapse and social decay, had the air of prophecy.

And yet, just a few months later, the Sex Pistols in the US and punk’s cultural form – always a jumble of clashing symbols and contested meanings – would splinter into various subsects.

Shock! Horror! Outrage!

Left behind, in the case of the Pistols, were just four singles and an album, before the processes of commodification were revealed and exploited in the post-Pistols packaging of what became ‘. Looking back, therefore, Never Mind the Bollocks perhaps serves best as a testament: an artefact that affirms the Sex Pistols existence and the cultural ruptures they provoked. Continue reading

Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones on ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’, reunions and John Lydon’s Trump comments

 

Sex Pistols‘ Steve Jones has spoken to NME ahead of the punk band’s upcoming deluxe edition of their seminal ‘Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols’ album. Buy Sex Pistols merchandise here The iconic group’s classic album will be reissued to celebrate the record’s 40th anniversary. Label USM/UMC has announced that the out-of-print deluxe edition of the album, which was originally released in 2012, will now be re-released on December 1. You can pre-order it here. As well as this, a new book called The Sex Pistols 1977: The Bollocks Diaries is out on October 26. It tells the story of the “chaos and creation” of the band’s famous record, as told by the Pistols themselves. Buy it here. Surrounding these two releases, Sex Pistols guitarist Jones spoke to NME about the legacy of ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’, saying: “We didn’t really have any expectations and that’s probably why it is still talked about”. He also revealed why he wouldn’t reunite with the Sex Pistols again in the future and what he thinks about John Lydon’s controversial Donald Trump comments.

Read NME‘s Q&A with Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones below:

It’s been 40 years since ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’. When you were recording the album, did you think you’d still be talking about the record four decades later?

“No, not at all, you never know that. We were just doing it, we didn’t really have any expectations and that’s probably why it is still talked about – because it wasn’t preconceived, we just didn’t know where it could go. It wasn’t like a band who went to a record label and the record label said ‘I don’t hear any singles here’, you know? We were just coming from a different place where it was more about ‘this is what we do and we want to get it on to tape’. It’s just one of those things — short lived, but it’s quite amazing really that forty years later people are still talking about it.”

What do you think the record’s legacy has been?

“I think it’s very inspirational to other bands and it’s just a little time capsule really.” What other albums do you think we’ll still be listening to in 40 years time? “David Bowie’s ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’.”

Any modern albums? You appeared in Arctic Monkeys’ ‘R U Mine’ video. Are they the kind of band that will span generations like Sex Pistols have?

“I’m not sure, because I’m not a young person, they have different feelings towards Alex Turner than I do. I think Arctic Monkeys are a great band. I even like the Last Shadow Puppets last album (‘Everything That You’ve Come To Expect’) better than Arctic Monkeys. I think he’s a talented guy, Alex Turner, and when Alex and Miles Kane get together they come up with good stuff.”

Would you say grime is the new punk?

“I don’t know what that is, I’m too old… Like chav music? Well, it’s good that young people are looking …Continue reading » Source: Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones on ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’, reunions and John Lydon’s Trump comments – NME