Gang Of Four.

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Tell me about them, are they good, what should I own?

New Classic Or Dud & Search & Destroy combined answers, please.

Nick Southall, Tuesday, 23 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Entertainment and Solid Gold, classic. Everything else, dud.

hstencil, Tuesday, 23 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

don't you remember them from 1979, Nick ;)

Entertainment is the album, released 1979 on EMI.

My fav track: I found that essence rare

Biography

Gang Of Four was formed in 1977 in Leeds, England, by Andy Gill, Jon King and Hugo Burnham, all graduates of Leeds University, and Dave Allen, who answered an advert for a 'bass player wanted'. After their first single in 1978, they were snapped up by EMI and released their debut album Entertainment! in 1979.

Their second single, At Home He's A Tourist, actually made the UK Top 40, and Gang Of Four had been due to appear on Top Of The Pops, but were dropped at the last minute when they refused to remove the word 'rubbers' from the lyrics. Having retained their artistic integrity but missed their chance of wider fame, they were destined to remain a cult band, and they never again reached the singles chart.

The second album Solid Gold was released in 1981, but shortly afterwards Dave Allen left to form Shriekback, and was replaced on bass by Sara Lee. A third album, Songs Of The Free followed in 1982, but by this point much of the original hard edge had been lost from the music. Hugo Burnham left after this album, and the fourth album, Hard (1983), featured Andy Gill programming the Linndrum, with Jo Galdo, Ron Albert and Howard Albert also heavily involved. Steve Goulding provided live drums until 1984, when the band broke up. A live album, At The Palace, features one of their last gigs.

For a while, that was it, but in 1990 Gang Of Four was re-formed, on a part-time basis, by Andy Gill and Jon King, with various people filling in on bass and drums. The first single from the reformed band was Money Talks, released by independent record label Scarlett Recordings, and an album Mall followed in 1991, on Polydor. The sound was rather more electronic than Gang Of Four's earlier work, and later they admitted to only being happy with about half of it.

Andy and Jon kept themselves busy with film soundtrack work, and one such film, Delinquent, provided much of the music for the sixth Gang Of Four studio album, Shrinkwrapped. The album was released by When! (part of Castle Communications) in 1995, to widespread acclaim but (presumably) the usual dismal sales. A couple of rare but triumphant gigs followed, in London and America, but Jon King has since left the music business, meaning the end of Gang Of Four.

In 1998 Andy, Hugo and Dave worked together in compiling a 2-CD compilation, 100 Flowers Bloom, which was released in the USA including a number of new remixes and previously unreleased live and demo versions of earlier songs. For the future, a live album and even a live video have been rumoured.

DJ Martian, Tuesday, 23 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Their 'Peel Sessions' disc is also terrific. I sometimes prefer it to 'Entertainment'.

Andrew L, Tuesday, 23 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

What Andrew said. That collection is genius.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 23 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I haven't heard the Peel Sessions. Fuck. I should get that. Gang of Four are in my Top Five fave bands of all time. Just adore everything they do (well, except I Love a Man in a Uniform).

Yancey, Tuesday, 23 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Funny, I consider them one of my favorite bands and never bothered getting anything after the first two. I think that's okay. btw, are they in print anymore?

One of the few political bands where the sound itself was political. So rigorously ugly! So serious! So sharp! And fonky! cf "What We All Want:" whap-boom-boom ad infinitum. Guitars that sound like the rails of a train.

I also have a probably-too-high tolerance for bands that ape their sound shamelessly (Radio 4 et al).

GCannon, Tuesday, 23 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Songs of the Free is utterly, utterly great. Hated by all GoF fans on its release. Visionary in its post-punk-as-synth-popisms.

John Darnielle, Tuesday, 23 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I like Hard. You can dance to it.

Sterling Clover, Tuesday, 23 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Anybody heard LA's Moving Units? Very cool in a Gof4 way, like a colder, more distant Minutemen.

Andy, Tuesday, 23 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I also prefer the Peel Sessions record to Entertainment! Good that someone else agrees that this isn't totally heretical.

The two-CD retrospective on Rhino from a few years ago somehow manages to make even the good stuff sound not-so-good.

Sometimes I imagine what would have happened if Go4 had only ever released one single: "I Found That Essence Rare"/"At Home He's A Tourist." I don't know if the world would have lost all _that_ much. (Well, "Love Like Anthrax"...)

Douglas, Tuesday, 23 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

You don't know how radical "I Love a Man in a Uniform" is until you're walking through a supermarket in the middle of Iowa shopping for vegetables and candy and so on and then you realize the song coming in through the speakers is "ILaMiaU." All products recontextualize themselves under such circumstances.

Dunno what's up with the supermarket tape -- the next song was "The Lovecats" -- and I'm like, "Whoa."

John Darnielle, Tuesday, 23 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Ah, so THAT'S what happened to all the old time KROQ program directors, they were hounded away into the Midwest.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 23 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

That Rhino double CD is really bad, even though there's some fantastic stuff on it. There's a comp on Warner Brothers called A Brief History of the 20th Century that you might still be able to find in cutout bins (I got mine for $4, I think) that has all the best stuff from the Rhino comp on one CD, with very little of the "Fuck Me USA" stuff that doesn't fit in so well. I haven't heard the Peel Sessions album, but I've heard the Rhino anthology and most of the others mentioned and the Warner one is still my favorite.

charlie va, Tuesday, 23 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I'm not so sure. I mean I grew up with Armalite Rifle/Damaged Goods/Anthrax/Entertainment and all that, but I hadn't listened to them in years until the other week when I dug out Entertainment for some reason. The sound seemed flatter and less incisive than I remembered, but what really grated was the how clumsily they expressed their (boringly) bleak world-view. ('She's dressed for the A-bomb', 'The last thing they'll ever do is act in your interest', 'The Corpse is a New Personality'). I know Leeds wasn't the most fun place to be in the late 70's but there's no excuse for this. Joyless and dull, sorry.

Dr. C, Wednesday, 24 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

i just forced my friend - who is staying at my place - to copy it

nath @ work, Wednesday, 24 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

"Dressed for the H-Bomb" is a great lyric! Other than that I see where Dr C's coming from. I still love the ones everyone loves - the Fast Product single*, "Essence", "Tourist" - but they've palled for me beyond those. I think they were an intelligent but misanthropic band in some ways. It's one reason I'm keen on people using that sound now, seeing what else can be done with it.

*"Armalite Rifle" has that particularly good/telling bit - "I disapprove of it. And so does John." There's something endearingly vicarish about "disapprove" in the context.

Tom, Wednesday, 24 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

"He'd Send in the Army" - always loved that one .. the Urgh! version is one of the better ....

I go through bouts of heavy rotation of Entertainment & Solid Gold & Another Day/Another Dollar (followed by brief periods of ..Free, Hard, Live/Palace) and then no Gang of Four for a few years. (And "Mall" almost never gets on - although I played it a lot when it came out.)

So tell me about "Shrinkwrapped".. Is it better than Mall?

Dave225, Wednesday, 24 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

"You don't know how radical "I Love a Man in a Uniform" is until you're walking through a supermarket in the middle of Iowa shopping for vegetables and candy and so on and then you realize the song coming in through the speakers is "ILaMiaU." All products recontextualize themselves under such circumstances."

Don DeLillo will steal this for the sequel to "White Noise," promise.

Yancey, Wednesday, 24 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

This is good to ask actually - I love Gang of Four, but I only have a few old 7"s as I remember hearing a Gang of Four album somewhere and thinking it was absolutely rubbish...

Sarah, Wednesday, 24 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

i remember entertainment! being a real disappointment after the shock of the peel sessions and the first ep: i went off them real quick, and never bothered with follow-ups

my band-mates saw them supporting pere ubu (on the new picnic time tour? not sure) and said they were awful, i can remember rob (our bassplayer) imitating their bassplayer, and me thinking "yes that sounds awful"

ubu rob said was the best thing he evah saw

the name "the gang of four" i think is one of greatest evah, and i am quite interested in rehearing the post-entertainment stuff again, to check how much *i* have changed

mark s, Wednesday, 24 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I agree - 6 good songs on the Entertainment! album, but there are better versions of both Damaged Goods & Anthrax on the first EP.
Yeah I remember the production sounding a bit thin, flat and brittle - and although that was the idea, it's a bit unsatisfying. The drums in particular sound like a collection of bloody biscuit tins (though even they are not as bad as the 'Scotpop' nightmare that was to follow...)
Still really like the guitar chakkachakk in some places though.
As for the 'boringly bleak-world-view-clumsily- expressed'....ha, Simon Reynolds described them as 'wielding the scalpel of Marxist theory' - more of a bloody rolling pin I'd say.
But....awww, ain't it a bit endearing in a bright-eyed bushy- tailed things-seemed-simpler-then kind of way? Part of me wishes it happened more often instead of the torrent of contextless- interpersonal-nagging that so many lyrics consist of...

Ray M, Wednesday, 24 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Taking sides: Gang of Four vs Shriekback

Dan Perry, Wednesday, 24 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Gang of Four vs CHATBACK. Viz 'the chatting over Anthrax' = chatback THE CONCEPTION!

I'll get me coat.

Sarah, Wednesday, 24 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I first heard Anthrax on December 22nd 1978.

OK, there are reasons I remember the date but there are very very few other songs I remember the date I first heard them.

Alexander Blair, Wednesday, 24 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

I've just ordered Entertainment from Amazon.

Thank you people!

Nick Southall, Wednesday, 24 July 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

four months pass...
Revisit.

"You don't know how radical "I Love a Man in a Uniform" is until you're walking through a supermarket in the middle of Iowa shopping for vegetables and candy and so on and then you realize the song coming in through the speakers is "ILaMiaU." All products recontextualize themselves under such circumstances."
Don DeLillo will steal this for the sequel to "White Noise," promise.

I just found out that Gang of Four were also on the Karate Kid soundtrack (granted it was later shit-version Gang of Four, but still). Paging DeLillo.

Aaron W, Thursday, 5 December 2002 20:21 (seventeen years ago) link

"Entertainment" is a pretty seminal post-punk record... I've yet to check out any other Gang of Four records, but that one is recommended unreservedly. Very abrasive, dark, rhythmic record; a fine whole. "Anthrax" is a stunning end to it; breathtaking, jagged guitar-playing and a general wrongfooting malaise...

Tom May, Friday, 6 December 2002 00:39 (seventeen years ago) link

Natural's Not In It is my fave song from E!

Vic, Friday, 6 December 2002 00:59 (seventeen years ago) link

Entertainment and Solid Gold, classic. Everything else, dud.

The Yellow EP and Another Day, Another Dollar EP are also good.

polyphonic (polyphonic), Friday, 6 December 2002 01:04 (seventeen years ago) link

well, except I Love a Man in a Uniform

HANG ON A SECOND, that's a fantastic song, you nutter. Until the end, when it just kind of forgets that it's over and keeps going.

The greatest moment of like the past year was driving around with two jackasses who'd been wearing Russian military outfits for a week straight for fun when this song came on. "Suddenly this song isn't really f unny anymore." They finally changed their frigging clothes after that. It was beautiful.

Ally (mlescaut), Friday, 6 December 2002 01:10 (seventeen years ago) link

one year passes...
anyone know anything about this - what it is?

http://www.seetickets.com/xxxtickets/event.asp?e%7Cartist=GANG+OF+FOUR

mark h, Wednesday, 10 November 2004 16:56 (fifteen years ago) link

er, its the gang of four reunion dates.

zappi (joni), Wednesday, 10 November 2004 17:15 (fifteen years ago) link

it was mentioned on teletext the other day - i'm surprised theres been no mention anywhere else. i'm excited if no one else is!

zappi (joni), Wednesday, 10 November 2004 17:27 (fifteen years ago) link

I got that re-release of Solid Gold a couple of months back. The live versions of "Cheeseburger" and "What We All Want" are raw as, they destroy the album versions! I wish they'd release the whole gig they're taken from.

The Midnight ROFFLEr (haitch), Thursday, 11 November 2004 05:39 (fifteen years ago) link

OK, so 'fess up: Is GO4 the infamous "Highly Influential Post-Punk Combo" that is reforming?

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Thursday, 11 November 2004 05:46 (fifteen years ago) link

(xpost: it seems so)

yeah, that live version of "what we all want" is a real monument.

frank kogan called them "teachers' pets" somewhere on ilm, which popped the balloon for me i'm afraid.

g--ff (gcannon), Thursday, 11 November 2004 05:47 (fifteen years ago) link

so i finally got that entertainment!/yellow EP CD deal today. haven't listened yet. i like those songs "anthrax" and "outside the trains don't run on time"

Ian John50n (orion), Thursday, 11 November 2004 05:54 (fifteen years ago) link

three months pass...
(revived)

"To Hell with Poverty" greatest fucking moment for Gang of Four? I wish I'd been in a band in college just to have played the song in the little smoky bar where all the school bands played Sublime and shit. I love the "Ow ow ow OWWWWW"s and harmonics.

PB, Sunday, 27 February 2005 01:47 (fifteen years ago) link

I've got my ticket already! ***does happy dance***

Bimble... (Bimble...), Sunday, 27 February 2005 01:51 (fifteen years ago) link

From another post:

A reunion tour rarely excites me, but since Gof4 was one of my all-time faves, I'm interested, but mostly cuz I've seen them 5 times, but never with Dave Allen on bass.
What's this about a new album? http://www.gangoffour.co.uk/

I wonder what their US dates will look like. I figure 5 or 6 shows apart from that Couchella (sp?) thang in CA.

peepee (peepee), Sunday, 27 February 2005 02:01 (fifteen years ago) link

I'm speaking of the Seattle show. They are playing Portland too, and some other places. You can find out if you go to www.ticketswest.com or at least I could earlier today.

Bimble... (Bimble...), Sunday, 27 February 2005 02:08 (fifteen years ago) link

Whoops. That's not right. It was ticketmaster that told me the other dates. Here they are:

Thu, 05/05/05
09:00 PM Gang of Four McMenamins Crystal Ballroom Portland, OR

Tue, 05/10/05
07:00 PM Gang of Four Quest Club Minneapolis, MN

Wed, 05/11/05
07:30 PM Gang of Four Metro Chicago, IL

Thu, 05/12/05
07:30 PM Gang of Four Metro Chicago, IL

Sat, 05/21/05
08:00 PM Gang of Four Theatre of Living Arts Philadelphia, PA

Sat, 05/14/05
06:00 PM Gang of Four The Phoenix Concert Theatre Toronto, ON

Bimble... (Bimble...), Sunday, 27 February 2005 02:12 (fifteen years ago) link

gang of four were like the 4th best thing on the fast product mutant pop comp. maybe 5th.

scott seward (scott seward), Sunday, 27 February 2005 02:18 (fifteen years ago) link

shit, I think they're great; the "Brief History of 20th Century" comp is probably all you need, altho I sure love the reissue of "Entertainment"/"Yellow EP."

edd s hurt (ddduncan), Sunday, 27 February 2005 03:01 (fifteen years ago) link

Again, does anyone know anything about a new album? I know I shouldn't get my hopes up (1/ that it'll happen and 2/ that it'll be any good).

peepee (peepee), Sunday, 27 February 2005 03:04 (fifteen years ago) link

But peepee, what is it that you've heard that we haven't? The "other thread" you quoted from just said something about an album full of remixes done by Franz Ferdinand/Hot Hot Heat. And the link you posted above does not work. Why don't you tell us whatever YOU heard?

Well maybe if some of the Brits hurry up and get on here...of course it's only 7 AM there, so...

Bimble... (Bimble...), Sunday, 27 February 2005 07:08 (fifteen years ago) link

Last time I was on that site, it plainly said something like:

"New album to come"

peepee (peepee), Sunday, 27 February 2005 13:39 (fifteen years ago) link

Well it did say something in that Guardian aritcle about them doing a couple of new songs live.

Bimble... (Bimble...), Sunday, 27 February 2005 21:57 (fifteen years ago) link

I like "Hard". No, really

Morley Timmons (Donna Brown), Sunday, 6 March 2005 21:44 (fourteen years ago) link

1st 3 Gang of 4 albums were removed from Spotify US last year

That will explain why, when I attempted to download Solid Gold and Songs of the Free to listen to during my commutes this week I could only download a few tracks from each, whereas I was able to download the whole of Hard.

Anyway, I find it very difficult to cry (the last time I did was on Christmas) but I wept when I found out. Gang of Four are #3 on my list of favorite musical artists of all time and the last time any of the band members from my personal Top Five died was when Mick Karn died in January 2011, and I'm still reeling from that years and years on from that event. I also got a chance to "friend" Andy on FB and he gave me a very succinct but still heartfelt greeting on my birthday last year, which was way too kind of him to do. RIP. I'll mourn him forever.

Dee the (Summer-Hating) Lurker (deethelurker), Sunday, 2 February 2020 12:45 (three weeks ago) link

"But yeah, that split between him and the rest, that was fierce. I saw Jon and Hugo -- with Dave in the audience -- do a presentation at PopCon the other year which was great and also left it clear exactly *why* Andy wasn't in the room. People are tangled, relationships just as much if not more so."\

care to expand on this, Msieu Raggett? or does anyone else know exactly what the problems were? cuz King and Gill did the band without Burnham and Allen for quite some time…

veronica moser, Sunday, 2 February 2020 20:15 (three weeks ago) link

This is the interview I was thinking of:

https://www.loudersound.com/features/im-a-bit-of-an-awkward-bastard-an-interview-with-gang-of-fours-andy-gill

Basically dismisses Hugo and Dave as creative entities, and takes credit for writing 90% of the band's music and lyrics, which ... who knows.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 2 February 2020 20:45 (three weeks ago) link

Anyway, here's Andy Gill looking like ... Chris Evans?

https://www.billboard.com/files/media/andy-gill-1989-portrait-billboard-1548.jpg

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 2 February 2020 22:04 (three weeks ago) link

Which Chris Evans?

(includes digression on farting) (Tom D.), Sunday, 2 February 2020 22:18 (three weeks ago) link

not that one

Wuhan!! Got You All in Check (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Sunday, 2 February 2020 23:26 (three weeks ago) link

I could have asked which Andy Gill too, of course.

(includes digression on farting) (Tom D.), Sunday, 2 February 2020 23:42 (three weeks ago) link

The one who was friends with Mick Jones, I think.

TS: Kirk/Spock vs. Marat/Sade (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 2 February 2020 23:45 (three weeks ago) link

Which Mick Jones?

(includes digression on farting) (Tom D.), Sunday, 2 February 2020 23:47 (three weeks ago) link

The one who was a fan of Steve Martin.

TS: Kirk/Spock vs. Marat/Sade (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 2 February 2020 23:58 (three weeks ago) link

LOL. Any child inheriting surnames like Evans or Jones should be named Octavius or Zebedee, etc.

Nag! Nag! Nag!, Monday, 3 February 2020 00:04 (three weeks ago) link

huge RIP. by far the best post punk band

flopson, Monday, 3 February 2020 00:05 (three weeks ago) link

Andy Gill always acknowledged Dr. Feelgood as an influence, Wilko primarily, I mean just look at how he holds his guitar and moves on stage, not to mention his guitar technique

Alexis P made this point rather well in the Guardian, I thought:

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/feb/02/andy-gill-gang-of-four-genius-guitarist-who-burned-a-route-out-of-punk

I like the notion that Gang of Four took influences from pre-punk stuff (the Feelgoods, funk) and made out of them music that was a route out of punk for those bored by it. Almost as if they leapfrogged punk entirely. I've seen ppl on twitter trying to claim Gill for punk but I think he was much smarter than that.

van dyke parks generator (anagram), Monday, 3 February 2020 13:03 (three weeks ago) link

in the loudersound interview* that josh links, it's interesting to me that gill cites the visual and physical aspects of wilko's performance -- wilko's someone i think has been quite shortchanged in the recording (which is a little bit why he's dropped down the ranks in our sense of who matters) and gill seems to have found a way to transfer something like this full audiovisual sensibility purely into the sound**: plus he found a way to persuade his bandmates to organise their lines so as to intensify the value of the guitar even at its most minimalist (which is actually not a very "funk" thing to do but that's a different discussion)

*which incidentally took me abt 20 mins longer than necessary to read, it was extremely fkn glitchy to scroll through >:(
**not that gill didn't have a visual dimension onstage also but it's the least interesting part of it his work and certainly not needed as a focus for the requisite qualities

mark s, Monday, 3 February 2020 13:20 (three weeks ago) link

I wouldn't be surprised if Gill was downplaying the influence of punk, it's what people have been doing since about 1978 after all. Apart from Green Gartside, he always fesses up to it.

I was looking at some Go4 live YouTubes and there was one song in particular that was just blatant Dr. Feelgood but I'm not good on their song titles.

(includes digression on farting) (Tom D.), Monday, 3 February 2020 13:30 (three weeks ago) link

he found a way to persuade his bandmates to organise their lines so as to intensify the value of the guitar even at its most minimalist (which is actually not a very "funk" thing to do but that's a different discussion)

this is otm, and I think a relevant point to make about Prince circa 1979-1981.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 3 February 2020 13:32 (three weeks ago) link

iincludes digression on farting) (Tom D.) at 7:30 3 Feb 20

I wouldn't be surprised if Gill was downplaying the influence of punk, it's what people have been doing since about 1978 after all. Apart from Green Gartside, he always fesses up to it.

I was looking at some Go4 live YouTubes and there was one song in particular that was just blatant Dr. Feelgood but I'm not good on their song titles.


yeah I definitely get a bullshitty vibe from a lot of guys from that era who seem to want to discount punk

also don't discount the New York bands influence, Gill and Jon King went there in 76

also as far as his guitar style I'd wager reggae and Nile Rogers figure in too

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 3 February 2020 14:31 (three weeks ago) link

I thought I mentioned that specifically re: the conversation I posted between Gill and Jon Langford. Both of them say a lot of UK punk didn't really interest them - Langford and Gill both claim to have not even bought the Pistols record or seen them when they played Leeds because the music was too macho or heavy metal; Langford says he and his friends played a lot of the first Clash album, but he thought it all sounded a bit "weedy" - but they were still massively influenced by the *idea* of punk. (They mention a pal whose picture ended up on the front of the paper with a tampon earring or something dangling from his ear, described in the caption as "punk," but their friend had never heard the term before.) And Gill does specifically cites his trip to NY as formative, because the people he met there were a lot less macho and aggressive and flamboyant than the gob-target UK crew; I recall a story of the Voidoids playing their first shows in the UK, and Robert Quine being surprised than pissed off that people kept spitting on his guitar.

Anyway, this is perhaps the very gist of post punk as a concept. That is, music that would not necessarily been likely *pre*-punk but which punk allowed or encouraged, whether or not the band itself sounded "punk." Gang of Four, Wire, Joy Division ... these groups were driven by ideas and concepts that punk allowed them to explore, even if none consistently sounded like what one might play someone who wanted to know what "punk" sounded like.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 3 February 2020 15:46 (three weeks ago) link

When I was first listening to this stuff in 1979, to my roommates "punk" was anything with less-than-virtuoso musical skill and compositional ability. Sex Pistols and Gang of Four and Wire were not Led Zep or Todd Rundgren or Genesis, therefore they were punk. I think B-52s may have been one of the first records I subjected them to that was so unusual that they thought of it as "new wave" or something other than punk.

A perfect transcript of a routine post (Dan Peterson), Monday, 3 February 2020 16:35 (three weeks ago) link

What did they think, if anything, of stuff like Roxy Music?

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 3 February 2020 16:48 (three weeks ago) link

without getting too het up abt two of my bugbears (ancient: "stop saying influence and use better words please", less ancient: "no one called it post-punk at the time and its use now is distorting") the move in the UK to move BEYOND PUNK was strongly afoot as early as 1977, when sounds ran their themed double issue called new musick (also a bad name lol but way better than "post-punk" sorry if this offends), featuring (from memory) kraftwerk, devo, the residents, throbbing gristle, siouxsie and the banshees, plus essays on dub and disco (possibly also pere ubu and cabaret voltaire?)*

i think the notion of a split within punk is just utterly basic to its sense of identity: it was always about forcing splits within a movement, not just the counterculture at large as a movement, but within punk as a movement -- and in some ways within ourselves. identify the contradiction and make it the hook! so it's less a "bullshitty vibe" really than a basic element in the make-up of many of those drawn to it -- we were always drawing paradoxical lines and insisting on impossible definitions, it was our thing! i wish the loudersound interview had called gill out on that a bit -- half his statements seem to me to be screaming "call me out on this! it'll be fun! open for a surprise!"

*with the exception of the banshees all these folks pre-existed punk, this is one (small) reason why i dislike "post-punk"

mark s, Monday, 3 February 2020 16:54 (three weeks ago) link

And I feel like Siouxsie is "of punk," yet not punk.

The roommates liked Bowie, so Roxy circa Siren was okay by them. Although I don't think they liked Ferry and Co. nearly as much. xp

A perfect transcript of a routine post (Dan Peterson), Monday, 3 February 2020 16:59 (three weeks ago) link

Not punk but of punk is a good distinction. Pre-Pistols, but post-Ramones - say, 1974-1975 - were there any acts in the UK that fit the loose definition of "punk," or is that where pub rock (a la Feelgood, Brinsley Schwarz, Chilli Willi et al.) fit in?

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 3 February 2020 17:08 (three weeks ago) link

sounds ran their themed double issue called new musick (also a bad name lol but way better than "post-punk" sorry if this offends), featuring (from memory) kraftwerk, devo, the residents, throbbing gristle, siouxsie and the banshees, plus essays on dub and disco (possibly also pere ubu and cabaret voltaire?)*

it seems important that literally everything listed here with the exception of souixsie predates uk punk

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 3 February 2020 17:09 (three weeks ago) link

feelgood if you amp up wilko's bug-eyed oddness maybe, the rest of the pub rock was raucous 12-bar pop and country

doctors of madness for sure, a bit earlier the groundhogs, the edgar broughton band, the pink fairies

mark s, Monday, 3 February 2020 17:12 (three weeks ago) link

tbh ums there may have been others included that were more recent, i haven't set eyes on the relevant pages for 43 years -- but the people who argued for the issue and wrote and edited them were jon savage and jane suck, two of the key punk writers at the paper, so it wasn't *just* a retrogression (and was not at ALL presented as one rhetorically)

mark s, Monday, 3 February 2020 17:16 (three weeks ago) link

mark otm on influence + post punk. People describing "Pink Flag" as post punk always makes me chortle.

(includes digression on farting) (Tom D.), Monday, 3 February 2020 17:55 (three weeks ago) link

Has anyone read the "Red Set: The History Of Gang Of Four" bio? Any good?

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Monday, 3 February 2020 22:15 (three weeks ago) link

x-post-- Am curious about the "Red Set: The History Of Gang Of Four" book too. I see there was also a 33 1/3 book on the Entertainment album, but the one review excerpt thing I read about it online just says that the 33 1 /3 book author Kevin Dettmar focuses heavily on (and "beats one over the head with") the Situationist and Marxist aspects of the lyrics

curmudgeon, Sunday, 9 February 2020 21:38 (two weeks ago) link

So when Gill and King went to NYC in fall 1976, they were on a university grant, stayed in NYC with critic/filmmaker Mary Harron, and visited Moma by day (from an online blurb about the Red Set book about Go4)

curmudgeon, Sunday, 9 February 2020 21:51 (two weeks ago) link

Wow

TS: Kirk/Spock vs. Hitchcock/Truffaut (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 9 February 2020 21:54 (two weeks ago) link

Nice work if you can find it.

(includes digression on farting) (Tom D.), Sunday, 9 February 2020 21:54 (two weeks ago) link

harron became a film-maker later obviously but she wasn't one in 1976

also i only just discovered that she dated tony blair at oxford lol

mark s, Sunday, 9 February 2020 21:57 (two weeks ago) link

I can see how Gill was struck by the distressing and "misuse" of familiar elements in the music of Beefheart, maybe especially as a guitarist---also, if he's serious about The Band--or not---certainly the sense, especially on Music From Big Pink, of what xgau called the music's "sprung"quality: something to the effect that if you took away one piece, the whole thing would go flying apart: ah, those self=taught hillbilly mechanics! (My Granpaw, who attended a mechanics' school in St. Louis, started by Henry Ford, went home to the hills and found he had all kinds of competition from consumer-hackers). Prob not really---the Hawks/Band were always known for their chops, and Garth for one was formally educated), but Go4 tapped into that sense of suspenseful tumult under the hood.
And yeah the first times I read about "punk" (in Creem, natch), Bangs was already agitating for distress, misuse, extension of the term: he tried applying it to James Taylor, Helen Reddy, and saying why they were that.
A kid wrote in to say he considered punk not only to be the Seeds and the Dolls, but listening to Sun Ra while doing orange sunshine, and Eugene Ormandy with Dubonnet on ice: Bangs agreed; "The chief criterion is excitement." Surely the 60s roots-continuity-ongoing lives of Patti Smith, Televsion, Voidoids, Joey Ramone (the former Jeff Starship) was had to do with the spirit, not the letter of punk (also all the young geezers Mark cites below), before the rise of Taliban hardcore.
without getting too het up abt two of my bugbears (ancient: "stop saying influence and use better words please", less ancient: "no one called it post-punk at the time and its use now is distorting") the move in the UK to move BEYOND PUNK was strongly afoot as early as 1977, when sounds ran their themed double issue called new musick (also a bad name lol but way better than "post-punk" sorry if this offends), featuring (from memory) kraftwerk, devo, the residents, throbbing gristle, siouxsie and the banshees, plus essays on dub and disco (possibly also pere ubu and cabaret voltaire?)*

i think the notion of a split within punk is just utterly basic to its sense of identity: it was always about forcing splits within a movement, not just the counterculture at large as a movement, but within punk as a movement -- and in some ways within ourselves. identify the contradiction and make it the hook! so it's less a "bullshitty vibe" really than a basic element in the make-up of many of those drawn to it -- we were always drawing paradoxical lines and insisting on impossible definitions, it was our thing! i wish the loudersound interview had called gill out on that a bit -- half his statements seem to me to be screaming "call me out on this! it'll be fun! open for a surprise!"

*with the exception of the banshees all these folks pre-existed punk, this is one (small) reason why i dislike "post-punk"
Also the split had to do, within factions and some bands and some individuals, between break on through/back to basics.

dow, Monday, 10 February 2020 04:38 (two weeks ago) link

(and "basics" could incl. several kinds of constriction)

dow, Monday, 10 February 2020 04:48 (two weeks ago) link

Speaking of distressed knowns/"knowns", David Johnson, host of the invaluable Night Lights, reminds us:
Jazz writer Dan Morgenstern once compared the sound of tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler's 1960s avant-garde groups to "a Salvation Army marching band on LSD." Now that's what I call post-punk.
https://indianapublicmedia.org/nightlights/holy-ghost-albert-ayler.php

dow, Monday, 10 February 2020 05:21 (two weeks ago) link

x-post-- Am curious about the "Red Set: The History Of Gang Of Four" book too. I see there was also a 33 1/3 book on the Entertainment album, but the one review excerpt thing I read about it online just says that the 33 1 /3 book author Kevin Dettmar focuses heavily on (and "beats one over the head with") the Situationist and Marxist aspects of the lyrics

That reminds me: when I went to see Gang of Four back in 2015 (at a local venue!), during a lull in the performance Andy riffed about French Situationism for a little bit. Also, he was still pretty gorgeous.

We Live as We Dee, Alone (deethelurker), Monday, 10 February 2020 12:57 (two weeks ago) link

Thanks for that Wilko Johnson video.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 12 February 2020 16:56 (two weeks ago) link

still intrigued by simon reynolds' claim that gill's and wilko's fingernails are "hardened" -- are (or were) they? how?

mark s, Wednesday, 12 February 2020 16:58 (two weeks ago) link

Lots of fingerstyle guitar players use artificial nails, not sure if that’s what he is referring to, tend not to think so.

TS: Kirk/Spock vs. Hitchcock/Truffaut (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 12 February 2020 17:04 (two weeks ago) link

Simon Reynolds doesn't how guitar playing works - shocker!

High profile Tom D (Tom D.), Wednesday, 12 February 2020 18:13 (two weeks ago) link

I've heard stories of particularly bass players using super glue to reenforce calluses.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 12 February 2020 19:31 (two weeks ago) link

hardened skin absolutely! i used to play double bass in orchestras so i know exactly how that works -- but i don't think you can't callus fingernails

brb researching nail art, i already discovered tippi hedren is why so many US nail bars are vietnamese-run

mark s, Wednesday, 12 February 2020 19:38 (two weeks ago) link

gang of four shd write a song abt it tbrr

mark s, Wednesday, 12 February 2020 19:38 (two weeks ago) link

Maybe he imagines that said nails were gradually vulcanized into steely talons as a consequence of their owners' picking style?
(That's not what happens, no.)

Diddums Is a Ranter (Vast Halo), Wednesday, 12 February 2020 19:40 (two weeks ago) link

Yes, I believe that is exactly what he thinks

TS: Kirk/Spock vs. Hitchcock/Truffaut (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 12 February 2020 20:40 (two weeks ago) link

That's not what happens indeed. I love this part in an episode of a Matt Sweeney series, in which James Williams talks about the Fake Fingernail Mojo
https://youtu.be/9OvB-wDt7mA?t=521

willem, Wednesday, 12 February 2020 21:04 (two weeks ago) link

rules that legendary stooge james williamson basically confirms my not-entirely serious nail-bar theory

mark s, Wednesday, 12 February 2020 21:13 (two weeks ago) link


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