OK, there's been a lot written about the NME and how it is in a gigantic downward spiral at the moment, and discussions on this tend to digress into how great the old critics were, critics whose tastes were quite well known, etc. What this has made me realise is that the critics nowadays just don't have this. I have been reading NME since about 1996 and the age of 13, and apart from being able to recall regular critics names, I can't recall anything about their personal likes/dislikes, which seems to have been so easy with people like Bangs. The only discernible one is Swells, and that's only because he's quite reactionary. I wouldn't have a clue what someone like, say, Stevie Chick really liked. Is this the same for everyone or has this always been a problem anyway, and only the publication of anthologies etc has been what has made music writing so much more personality based? (I'm not sure I phrased that too well, but I hope you get the gist.)
A further thought is that I could possibly identify a review from NYLPM easier than I could one from the NME.
― Bill, Sunday, 12 August 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link
― nathalie, Sunday, 12 August 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link
― Greg, Sunday, 12 August 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link
Serious answer: even back in the First
Golden Age (?1977-83?), abt 60% of the
writing was strictly "personality free" — I
won't name names. But Golden Agers always
have selective memory: that's how Golden
― mark s, Sunday, 12 August 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link
― DG, Sunday, 12 August 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link
As a fairly regular reader (I seem to buy it a couple of times a
month) since abt '97 I have to say I have a pretty good idea of most
of the major writers likes/dislikes and cannot undestand why they are
so bad at what they do (this from someone who also buys the Wire
every month). Most writers seem to consistently like and support a
particular number of acts/scenes and you can see the logic of it. The
problem is that they don't seem to have as much space in which to do
so (I suppose they are discouraged from writing more 'theoretical'
I always liked Keith Cameron's writing but also Victoria Segal, Andy
Capper and, oh yes, Steve Sutherland (this man seems to be blamed for
the 'decline' in British music journalism by some which I find
― Julio Desouza, Sunday, 12 August 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link
as to my tastes, i'm horrifically beholden to the godlike genii of
everett true and neil kulkarni, and would feel quite at home flipping
through either of their record collections. i just write about the
records i like, and try not to get too hung up on what genres
they 'belong' in. its all noise, and some of it i love.
currently rocking to: the von bondies, big juss's solo LP, the new
500% dynamite compilation and (still) elbow.
― stevie, Sunday, 12 August 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link
Writers I could name now - Dele Fadele and Swells and the people
who've been there years, Stevie Chick (who I think I could name
before he posted but now we will never know), Peter Robinson.
― Tom, Sunday, 12 August 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link
the attitude of the sotcaa lot from that momus link is kind of
amusing. brings to mind countless mm editorial meetings back in the
bad old days when features ed Ian Watson could be relied upon to
suggest a special 'comedy' issue with alarming regularity. i too am
befuddled as to why i got singled out for so much abuse - especially
since i'm not exactly 'on message' with all NME has tried to espouse
of late. maybe its the hilarious, obviously-fake name i'm saddled
i feel a little uncomfortable talking about all this NME/journo stuff
on here, mostly because of how y'all might interpret little layers of
self-aggrandising irony and subterfuge in my spiel. i would like to
state, for the record, that i ove white stripes and the strokes
because the former are great live and make great records, and because
the latter are great live [note silence here]. people are too cynical
about the hype.
― suzy, Sunday, 12 August 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link
― Robin Carmody, Sunday, 12 August 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link
The third time I get asked am I surely not
mark sutherland I vanish into a nether
realm. And then you'll be sorry. I am surely
not mark sutherland.
Ask Dele or Swells, stevie. Say: Rattle and
Hum. They'll know. And say hi to Dele: I saw
him get on a bus at King's Cross abt six
months ago, but he was far away and didn't
Nine isn't as good as seven. I'd say ditch
Momus, who barely counts anyway (in this
context), but eight isn't a number at all. If
anyone else turns up we'll have to, because
10 is just wrong.
and we should make it eleven. it's one louder.
Didn't the Pentangle do that one?
He's in Australia and married and happy. Or was at the turn of the
Stevie Chick has a birthday-barbeque-fetish.
― Chris Houghton, Sunday, 12 August 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link
I think the reason I liked your writing was because you once gave a
good review to Scarfo and I thought, "Hmmm. A man of intelligence."
Stevie: I remember you once ideologically trouncing me on a letter I
wrote, and I fully deserved it, because looking back it was
*incredibly* badly-argued and ill-thought-out, from a terribly
awkward mid-late-teen totally removed from the rituals and social
life of my contemporaries. The ideas were there, but they needed to
be evolved and refined drastically. Places like this did that ...
anyway, thanks for the compliments, these (only!) three long years
― Momus, Monday, 13 August 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link
(speaks someone who thought the "Why can't he just write about
football like the rest of us?" quote was genuine)
― Robin Carmody, Monday, 13 August 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link
In the meantime, there's also Simon Reynolds to add to the list.
― Ned Raggett, Monday, 13 August 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link
As for hacks with recognisable personality in their writing: Swells,
definitely, always Good Value for inserting phrases like TEENAGE-
DEATH-HYPHEN-SHAG-FEST-NAZI-EXCLAMATION-MARK into, well, pretty much
every band he covers.
What does troubles me more is not Hacks Without Writing Personality,
it's Hacks Becoming TV and Radio Personalities.
Stuart Maconie, take a thinly-spread bow.
Worse still are the thinly-read: Hacks Not Getting Their Facts Right.
Maconie recently appeared on a Radio 4 comedy debate-style panel
show. He attributed "nature, red in tooth and claw" as a Shelley
quote. It's Tennyson, as any bad schoolgirl knows. He was corrected
on the show by Steve Punt of "comedy" duo Punt & Dennis. Which, to be
fair, was pretty harsh punishment for even him.
Another favourite Hack Howler of mine is an occasion where Steve
Lamacq, ex of NME, commenting on his Radio 1 show on the release of
Sugar's "F.U.E.L." and Echobelly's "E.G.O.":
"It's been a good week for anachronisms in album titles..."
― Dickon Edwards, Monday, 20 August 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link
― leyla sanai, Thursday, 18 March 2004 20:04 (sixteen years ago) link
― Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 18 March 2004 20:57 (sixteen years ago) link
PR: "So you've been nominated for a NME Award."Edith Bowman: "I know, it's brilliant, I'm really suprised."PR: "Me too."
― Nick H (Nick H), Friday, 19 March 2004 00:36 (sixteen years ago) link
Apropos of nothing, here's a picture of Simon Price
― Dom Passantino, Thursday, 17 January 2008 14:29 (twelve years ago) link
I don't think the wig really suits him.
― The blue-green world is drenched with horse gore, Thursday, 17 January 2008 14:34 (twelve years ago) link
I didn't know anyone other than pro-wrestlers doing "EVIL BUSINESSMAN" gimmicks wore shirts with the sleeves cut off.
― Dom Passantino, Thursday, 17 January 2008 14:35 (twelve years ago) link
purple elephant handbag!
― Mark G, Thursday, 17 January 2008 14:37 (twelve years ago) link
TBF I'd hit it.
― The blue-green world is drenched with horse gore, Thursday, 17 January 2008 14:37 (twelve years ago) link
Good to see me and Big Perp have vets in the game we follow in the footsteps of.
― Dom Passantino, Thursday, 17 January 2008 14:39 (twelve years ago) link
In answer to original question: not allowed anymore (no first person singulars permitted in brave new non-socialist IPC world).
― Dingbod Kesterson, Thursday, 17 January 2008 14:57 (twelve years ago) link
A lot of people seem to have a problem with Stevie Chick, I'm never quite sure why.
i belatedly applaud bill's wisdom.
― stevie, Thursday, 17 January 2008 16:26 (twelve years ago) link
RIP Dele Fadele
@Mr_Dave_HaslamVery sad to just find out that Dele Fadele has passed away. Great, insightful, and much-loved NME writer and founder member of the band Welfare Heroine.
― Kibbutzki (Jaap Schip), Thursday, 20 August 2020 22:38 (one month ago) link
It emerged that Dele had died in 2018 and the sad news has only just got to everyone here.
a belated rip?
― calzino, Thursday, 20 August 2020 22:49 (one month ago) link
oh fuck, if true that sucks so much
i heard a rumour abt this last year and tried to chase it down but got nowhere -- i ran into him now and then but i'd lost regular contact long ago and so had everyone i knew who knew him
rip dele if it's true (and fuck the nme for the way it treated you)
― mark s, Thursday, 20 August 2020 22:56 (one month ago) link
i liked his reviews and him explaining the concept of his own single Starve The Eagle (which I never heard) and he seemed like a very good person :(
― calzino, Thursday, 20 August 2020 23:05 (one month ago) link
RIP I meant to add
― calzino, Thursday, 20 August 2020 23:06 (one month ago) link
Oh no, RIP, I was reading an interview he did with the Shamen yesterday, and just thinking he was such a brilliant and intellectually curious writer, who got such a good, pithy and interesting interview out of such a mercurial bunch of people who liked to play silly games with the press.
He was also in a band with (albeit not at the same time) someone I was in a band with for a very long time, who always spoke very well of him, both as a highly creative musician (apparently no one could ever play Neubauten style Blue Bins as well as he could!) and a general good egg.
― Extractor Fan (Branwell with an N), Friday, 21 August 2020 08:19 (one month ago) link
RIP. He was a great writer, even as someone who only encountered the NME from the mid-90s his writing stood out, much more understated than his colleagues at the time but also less egocentric, more insightful and able to quickly get to the heart of something. And I guess he was already sidelined or losing interest by then.
― Matt DC, Friday, 21 August 2020 08:26 (one month ago) link
Can only echo that, head and shoulders one of the best writers at the NME when I read it. RIP
― A Short Film About Scampoes (Noodle Vague), Friday, 21 August 2020 09:19 (one month ago) link
I've never encountered this Twitter account before but appears to be archiving the early 90s NME review by review?
Anyway there he is reviewing a surprise Sun Ra gig (and if you scroll up, also a very early incarnation of Spiritualized).
...Dele was also lucky enough to see the legendary Sun Ra and his Arkestra at ULU@SunRaUniverse pic.twitter.com/qO1TklTJTE— Martin Wilson (@martin_j_wilson) June 20, 2020
...also in the live reviews Dele Fadele went to see Spiritualized at King Tut's pic.twitter.com/PN0xbTd7rX— Martin Wilson (@martin_j_wilson) June 20, 2020
― Matt DC, Friday, 21 August 2020 09:38 (one month ago) link
Ach, I'm so sorry to hear this news, however late. I would see Dele at The Ship on Wardour St which was my old work's local, always with his poly bag, we had some mutual friends and chatted a few times, he was always charming.
― Maresn3st, Friday, 21 August 2020 09:54 (one month ago) link
Often saw his byline on great pieces in the NME when I was devoted to reading it - I remember seeing his name and thinking wow, they are an uber cool mix of cultures and expertise there. Presumably I was way off base if he was treated like shit.
― assert (MatthewK), Friday, 21 August 2020 10:30 (one month ago) link
I remember seeing a copy on the way down to Glastonbury in 2004 (I think) and he was still writing for them then, but in a very fringe way.
― Matt DC, Friday, 21 August 2020 10:35 (one month ago) link
i mean nme as an institution treated everyone pretty badly, even when individual staffers were kind. and if you'd been there a long time (and he wrote for them for more than 20 years) then the end-stage was often extremely shabby. what he told me of his finally leaving makes me angry.
but lots abt this makes me angry tbh -- i feel we his former friends and colleagues failed him. i certainly feel i did.
― mark s, Friday, 21 August 2020 11:02 (one month ago) link
I remember an amusing piece he wrote about when he was very green and trying a bit too hard and submitted some dense wordy pretentious nonsense for some live review of captain indie & the indies type thing, and someone advised him: lighten up a bit, only about 108 people actually bother reading the live reviews anyway!
― calzino, Friday, 21 August 2020 11:55 (one month ago) link
Every one that did formed a bad band tho
― A Short Film About Scampoes (Noodle Vague), Friday, 21 August 2020 12:04 (one month ago) link
As if I hadn't already gone down enough of an early 90s rabbit hole as it was, that Twitter account has got me wondering about the New Fast Automatic Daffodils and whether they are worth listening to (immediate assumption = god no).
― Matt DC, Friday, 21 August 2020 12:16 (one month ago) link
Pretty sure no, there used to be a chain of decorating shops up north called Fads that always brought them to mind tho
― A Short Film About Scampoes (Noodle Vague), Friday, 21 August 2020 12:25 (one month ago) link
I listened to a Sweet Jesus song for the first time yesterday, the singer looked like David Gedge but with a ridiculous Alan Vega hairdo and that always put me off at the time, and yeah, not good.
― Maresn3st, Friday, 21 August 2020 12:31 (one month ago) link
I like the New FADS despite the indie ghetto name. As Tom E said in connection with them recently on Twitter, they were kind of both ahead of and behind the times in mining that scratchy post-punk aesthetic when they did.
― Alba, Friday, 21 August 2020 13:51 (one month ago) link
We had Fads the decorating shops down in London too (in Peckham, at least). Thank you for that little blast of memory.
― Alba, Friday, 21 August 2020 13:52 (one month ago) link
One of those childhood things where I knew things in the wrong order: it was a paint shop for me long before I was aware that the word had a broader meaning.
― Alba, Friday, 21 August 2020 13:55 (one month ago) link
I'm not really sure they thought that piece of branding through (subtext - "everything we sell is shit and you will want to redecorate in two years' time").
― Matt DC, Friday, 21 August 2020 13:57 (one month ago) link
If there was a thread of 'bands where you only know and like one of their songs thanks to an old compilation album' they'd be one of my picks.
― オニモ (onimo), Friday, 21 August 2020 14:02 (one month ago) link
"apparently no one could ever play Neubauten style Blue Bins as well as he could!"
Dele developed the concept of his single Starve The Eagle from a long conversation he had with with Blixa Bargeld iirc. I don't why I remember this detail because it must have been 20 odd years since I read it.
― calzino, Friday, 21 August 2020 14:05 (one month ago) link
Remembering weird details from 20 years ago in the NME is a not insignificant part of my mental life.
― Alba, Friday, 21 August 2020 14:07 (one month ago) link
Actually, who am I kidding, I guess I mean 30 years ago.
― Alba, Friday, 21 August 2020 14:25 (one month ago) link
that would be more like it. lol ... when you catch yourself out pretending you are still as *young* as knocking on 40!
― calzino, Friday, 21 August 2020 14:30 (one month ago) link
I'll cosign this -- and the one time I saw them live at the Whiskey in LA in 1991 they pulled off something I've never seen before or since at that venue, much less many shows I've been to over the moons -- nonstop dancing from start to finish from the entire place. THAT is rare, and in 1991 was so unusual that's how I've remembered it to the present.
― Ned Raggett, Friday, 21 August 2020 14:43 (one month ago) link
Rock's Back Pages have an extensive collection of Fadele's work if you have a subscription:
― Ned Raggett, Friday, 21 August 2020 14:47 (one month ago) link
Meanwhile, more on Dele -- so it turns out, much to my intrigued surprise and delight, that he had spent time in the US in the early 80s going to school in Syracuse. I've pulled together a few posts and comments I've seen and here's a summary I wrote up for an email:
One thing that I’ve learned to my admitted delight over the past twenty hour hours in the rush of posts has been that he went to university here in the US in the early 1980s and, like me, was a college radio DJ, as well as a record store employee and musician. This was at Syracuse University, kinda smack dab in the middle of New York well away from both NYC and most anywhere else, a self-contained American college city in many ways. (I was living in upstate New York at the time, but not in the same area, being near Skidmore College instead, another noted school well away from NYC.) It’s a bunch of scattered memories so for those who knew him I thought I’d draw what I’ve seen together:
Gary Lucas, aka the Captain Beefheart and Jeff Buckley collaborator, said this in a Facebook comment: "He was also a terrific radio DJ. I first became aware of Dele while driving around Syracuse during trips home from college in the early 80's , and loved catching his sepulchral "This . Is. Dele. Fadele" ID coming over Syracuse University's WAER- FM radio station where he hosted a serious British postpunk show (AER is the same station where Lou Reed once had a show when he was a student there in the 60's titled "Excursions on a Wobbly Rail' after a Cecil Taylor piece). Don't know if Dele's show had a colorful name, but it was damn good. The guy knew his stuff.”
Alec Cumming said on his own page: "I was blessed to know him and work with him in Katsapi, our briefly-lived "industrial" band, which was silly and fun and brilliant and unlistenable all at the same time. (I was one of two bassists; the 1984 Syracuse punks loved us.) He was such a brilliant character, and so inspirational and on-point with what he wanted his music to be, and how it should evolve. He was really one of the coolest people I've ever known, and I'm so grateful I had a chance to make adventurous music with him.”
This band, BTW, was called Katsapi — there’s apparently photos floating around and if I see one I will share it, but I did discover a short review of them in Maximum RocknRoll, from issue 18, October 1984: ""KATSAPI are an experimental /industrial type band, complete with a rhythm section of trash cans, assorted metal cannisters, a drummer, and sometimes 2 bass players. Interesting "collective", they change everything from personnel to musicians every gig or so. Only band of its kind in Upstate N.Y.””
Another fellow from that scene, Scott Munroe, posted this on Alec’s page (it’s vaguely possible that this is an alternate name for Katsapi but it could also be its own thing): "Dele and I were friends during our last two years at Syracuse University. We were both class of 1984 - him in engineering and I in broadcast journalism. During our senior year, we formed this bizarre industrial band with some other friends called The Labour Party which was meant to mirror bands like Test Dept. and Einsturzende Neubauten. I’m sure there are photos and audio out there of us.
"I still remember Dele and myself somehow getting into an Echo and the Bunnymen concert in Rochester (or was it Buffalo?), New York thanks to guitarist Will Seargent, making a six minute din with The Labour Party during our “set” between bands at the Jabberwocky club on the SU campus, his rejection over his request to do a segment during black history month in February 1984 for campus radio station WAER-FM because “he wasn’t black enough” (i.e. because he wasn’t a black American, he was from Africa...my brain still comes to a screeching halt even now thinking about it) and our talks about about music, bands etc."
― Ned Raggett, Friday, 21 August 2020 21:50 (one month ago) link
A further comment from Alec Cumming just now in partial response: "Dele's show on WAER was fantastic!!! Especially when he'd do the late-night shift. All post-punk, early industrial, with a dollop of the Art of Noise (which he loved). He was the GREATEST GUY to hang out with, he was EXTREMELY opinionated, and I made fun of him for his NME obsession, but I just remember laughing a lot with him and being so impressed at his relentless drive, intelligence and creativity. My friends all thought I was insane playing music with him - he'd bang on trashcans and bumpers and such - but I loved the racket. I think I was in Kastsapi V.1, but the band soldiered on after I left town (August 1984). We were looked at in awe by Syracuse's punk scene, because there was nobody doing anything remotely close to what we were doing. (PS - Syracuse has always had a great local music scene.) I was thrilled he ended up at the NME, but also worried the year-in and year-out of music journalism would probably end up wearing him down, because he insisted music had to have ideals and be challenging and ethical and weird, constantly."
― Ned Raggett, Friday, 21 August 2020 21:53 (one month ago) link
his rejection over his request to do a segment during black history month in February 1984 for campus radio station WAER-FM because “he wasn’t black enough” (i.e. because he wasn’t a black American, he was from Africa...my brain still comes to a screeching halt even now thinking about it) and our talks about about music, bands etc.
you couldn't ask for better prep for working at NME in the era he did, or probably at any time tbf!
― calzino, Friday, 21 August 2020 21:58 (one month ago) link
'00s NME writer James Jam's memories of Dele: https://medium.com/@jamesmcmahon_29072/some-thoughts-about-dele-fadele-6c7a18e533ba
― erratic wolf angular guitarist (sic), Saturday, 22 August 2020 10:18 (one month ago) link
i forget now if he told me this himself or someone else told me, but according to legend he one time seized the WAER- FM studio to solo-broadcast ALL of the TG live albs back-to-back
(this is abt 40 albs i think so the "ALL" seems in retrospect unlikely but there was def talk of a 24-hr blitz of the stuff lol)
(he was studying engineering, which somehow also seems pertinent)
― mark s, Saturday, 22 August 2020 11:24 (one month ago) link
What is TG?
― Alba, Saturday, 22 August 2020 14:58 (one month ago) link
― Ned Raggett, Saturday, 22 August 2020 15:01 (one month ago) link
There was a James Brown at the NME? Wonder if I met him.
― Isinglass Ponys (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 22 August 2020 15:02 (one month ago) link
erstwhile manager of hitmakers Fabulous and publisher of softcore ironic misogyny mag Loaded
i've met him, he were alright
― A Short Film About Scampoes (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 22 August 2020 15:10 (one month ago) link
you forgot to add *celebrity* fan of vile revenant of the north L666s Utd
― calzino, Saturday, 22 August 2020 15:12 (one month ago) link
oh aye i forgot
ok i only met his briefly, we have to count Leeds in the debit pile
― A Short Film About Scampoes (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 22 August 2020 15:13 (one month ago) link
I bought his fanzine (Attack On Bzag) off him, on the street after a http://i.imgur.com/QbYzHTH.jpg gig. From that to Loaded was... quite a stretch.
― mike t-diva, Saturday, 22 August 2020 18:18 (one month ago) link
Haha, WHAT? I said R e d s k i n s gig and it gave me a cat?
― mike t-diva, Saturday, 22 August 2020 18:19 (one month ago) link
Hatcat were never the same after the original bassist left tbf(longstanding ilx autoreplace for a racial slur / sports team name)
― erratic wolf angular guitarist (sic), Saturday, 22 August 2020 18:21 (one month ago) link
Keep it that way. Hatcat is the best.
― Ned Raggett, Saturday, 22 August 2020 19:00 (one month ago) link
so glad that http://i.imgur.com/QbYzHTH.jpg is back
― A Short Film About Scampoes (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 22 August 2020 19:59 (one month ago) link
nice spike jonze obit for dele, complete with some actual journalistic legwork: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/sep/14/dele-fadele-remembered-nme
i'm glad it actually brings up the issue of why this news took so long to come out (and at least hints at the institutional crappiness of the music press in its treatment of freelancers)
and tbh i lolled at the cheeky way the entirely just and fair headline ("He was a groundbreaker and a visionary”) completes itself further down the copy: “He was a groundbreaker and a visionary. He was a black man writing about indie music!”
― mark s, Monday, 14 September 2020 13:52 (one week ago) link
that's a really good piece, glad to see it
― you are like a scampicane, there's calm in your fries (bizarro gazzara), Monday, 14 September 2020 14:16 (one week ago) link
Does Tim get called Spike a lot?
― Madchen, Monday, 14 September 2020 15:28 (one week ago) link
it's the price he pays for his rare and unlikely surname
― mark s, Monday, 14 September 2020 16:22 (one week ago) link
Well- written and sad piece
― curmudgeon, Monday, 14 September 2020 23:07 (one week ago) link