Desperate Bicycles Discography Online

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You're my kind of guy, Half Jap. I wish more people would take their heads out of their hipster arses and admit stuff like that.

The Bicycles are just ok as far as I'm concerned.

Bimble... (Bimble...), Saturday, 26 February 2005 18:40 (twelve years ago) Permalink

take aim at the hipsters. get them in your sights, and TAKE THEM DOWN.

peter smith (plsmith), Saturday, 26 February 2005 21:41 (twelve years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...
Dan S:

That "the artist's wishes" argument is just plain stupid. The same insanity that allowed Zappa to RUIN all of his early records by messing with the reissue tapes 'cause he thought he could make them "better" or something. If artists are deliberately withholding good music from the public, keeping it exclusively in the domain of collector scum and the trading elite (that means you), then they fucking deserve to be bootlegged and fileshared. Let's start with Organum... Anybody wanna make me a CDR of all those 1-sided singles?

"I think that bootlegs help keep the flame of music alive by keeping it out of not only the industry's conception of the artist, but also the artist's conception of the artist." -Lenny Kaye

And, obviously, at least one band member also wants the stuff released.

Sleeve, Friday, 25 March 2005 05:34 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Unfortunately I fear you may be wasting your time. I haven't seen Selzer around these parts for ages.

Bimble... (Bimble...), Friday, 25 March 2005 05:40 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I put up a website telling what I knew of the Desperate Bicycles, I talked about them endlessly on any number of mailing lists, and for the better part of several years I sent Desperate Bicycles CDs to pretty much anyone who wanted them, I'd hardly consider that to be representative of "collector scum and the trading elite".

But I'm going to have to disagree with you and with Lenny Kaye on that one. There's other issues here and in most situations. If Patti Smith was working on remastering some never-before issued Radio Ethiopa outtakes and I got my hands on a crappy 3rd generation tape, it'd be cool for me to release it, to my profit?

It's one thing to defend filesharing, another thing alltogether to defend outright bootlegging. You write some music and see someone selling it for their profit, before you decided to put it out. Did you "fucking deserve" to be bootlegged?

And sorry if I sound like a record executive, but sometimes bootlegs making music easily accessible stop people from bothering to properly license it or make sure the artists actively get paid. It's happening a lot in dance music reissues these days, I think. While I sent out a lot of Desp Bikes CDs, I always figured it wasn't THAT many, and if someone put out a properly remastered version and promoted it well, that it would sell, but if someone put a Desp Bikes CD in the store and it sold a lot of copies, would the proper version stand as much a chance? What are the precedents of this? I never bought the legit Neu!, Cluster and Silver Apples CDs because I had owned the bootlegs for years.

And for the record, perhaps a lot of people like the Desperate Bicycles because they are obscure and hard to get a hold of. Personally, I love the music, and find myself singing their songs all the time.

Dan Selzer (Dan Selzer), Tuesday, 29 March 2005 20:13 (twelve years ago) Permalink

"the artist's wishes" argument is just plain stupid. The same insanity that allowed Zappa to RUIN all of his early records by messing with the reissue tapes 'cause he thought he could make them "better" or something.

yeah, fuck zappa. what on earth made him think that he was allowed to work on his own material?

lauren (laurenp), Wednesday, 30 March 2005 12:30 (twelve years ago) Permalink

It had to have been the mustache.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 30 March 2005 13:12 (twelve years ago) Permalink

restricting air flow, no doubt.

lauren (laurenp), Wednesday, 30 March 2005 13:39 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I hope you liked the new Star Wars.

David Allen (David Allen), Wednesday, 30 March 2005 14:46 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I'm just respecting the Desperate Bicycles with to a) agree on something and b) put out a proper remaster, not something that original came off my records, which most of the mp3s circulating did.

While I don't know the Zappa stuff I certainly wish I could get a DVD of the original Star Wars as it was released, but we're not talking about artists who add drum machines and synthesizers, just having the choice to package their music the way they want.

If Martin Philips went back to the original tapes of The Chills LP Brave Words and released a new version with all the tracks sounding clearer, like the few songs he remixed for a Chills greatest hits package, because he has always hated the way the original LP sounded. I'd have no choice but to tell people to buy copies of the original CD if they like the way it sounds, which I do. It doesn't give me the right to bootleg and start selling copies of the original record.

We can be all utopian and punk-rock about the free sharing of music, but copyright laws exist for good reasons. I recently had a brief discussion about this with someone when I asked if he was still planning on putting out this comp CD he'd wanted to put together. He said he decided not to, that it would all get reissued eventually anyway. I couldn't argue with that logic. But it later occured to me that if enough of the core market for that music ended up just getting it online or especially on a bootleg, that someone may decide it's not worth reissuing, so the artists won't get paid, and without a legitimate and promoted reissue, it may not find a bigger audience. This sounds hypothetical, but I know people at record labels who've made these decisions. "I'd like to reissue that properly, but it's been bootlegged so much that it's just not worth it" is something I've heard more then once, and felt a few times myself.

You take some Desperate Bicycles music, make a bootleg CD, sell 1,000 copies. Then, if wonder of wonders, one of them emails me and says "we've selected you as the label to reissue our catalog", I may have to say that we simply couldn't afford to. And that would suck. Chances are a bigger label would do it anyway and could afford it, but not in every case.

Dan Selzer (Dan Selzer), Wednesday, 30 March 2005 21:00 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I think there is something absent here when we talk about copyright, namely the concept that music should and ought to be a form of cultural capital to begin with. Or broadly speaking, that any form of art can only exist or function based on its economic value.
I avidly support filesharing and only buy at most 1 or 2 albums/year. Initially my reasoning was that I simply didn't have the money to buy all the albums I wanted to listen to. Then my hypocrisy increased with relativisms like "I'll go see the bands I like most live and buy cds/swag from them direct, that way they get more money".
Finally some of the cultural theory concepts I learned in university got me to question the idea of music as a consumer product in the first place.
Of course, our capitalist economy has created a system wherein bands and supporters of bands are duped into thinking that the cost of production of an album, especially with respect to the recording proper, is at the heart of why we dutifully pay bands for their artistic productivity, never realizing that those very costs associated with producing the consumer product known as "the album" are entirely artificial to begin with.
This is to say nothing of the real dupes who accept the notion of the band-as-career, as if we can legitimately take the purpose, the need a group of people have to create music - the creative process itself, even - and reduce it to mechanistic, repeatable labour, churned out every two years, supported by the obligatory smattering of singles, with prospects for live albums, dvd and best of releases down the line.
In a sense, Dan, yes, I AM advocating the use of filesharing as a site of - however temporary (the bubble on free filesharing will burst) - resistance against the whole structure of any industry that would seek to take the surplus value of artistic creation, time and again, as if doing so even remotely approached moral or ethical acceptability... Yes, even the good people at Acute that got me to buy a certain theoretical girls cd I still own and love : * )
And for anyone who'll say "without distribution, promotion, production costs covered by record companies/labels, music would be reduced to local bands only" or "There'd be way less bands than there are now," I'd refer to them the situation that happened with the group The Junior Boys: Here's an example of two people who met online, recorded tracks, got influential bloggers to listen and generate buzz and (granted) did the traditional got-signed-to-label routine, all within a year. All I'm saying is that in our present age, there was really nothing preventing them and many other bands from sharing the final product like the two members were presumably exchanging soundfiles in the production of their music; that is freely and to resist the capitalist system from inception to reception of the cultural product in question.
Of course, the one big hole in my logic is that the majority of people, even in NA, who own computers and fast internet connection rates dont even match the number of people who own at least the most basic cd player set-up, in that the latter outnumber the former by a large margin. So my socialist musical utopia is hampered by one still-not economically-available technology of reception, aka the computer being overshadowed by the much more user-friendly, easy-to-buy, available cd player/walkman/stereo system, which ultimately means that part of why more people buy cds than fileshare is that the means of doing one thing is materially more feasable than the other.
A few more points: As you may have guessed, my paradigm would detest the phenomenon of bootlegging msuic as much as most people here seem to as well, but perhaps for different reasons: It's not so much that these people are robbing the original artists, but that they are perpetuating the culture of reducing art to a consumer product or accesory.
Also: yes, sound quality is inferior with respect to mp3s and cdrs, but the majority of people who buy cds listen to them on shitty earphones instead of, say, Grados - or Castle speakers - like I do... point being that the quality of reception is as important as the quality of recording... btw, still haven't figured out how to make those things, as well as everythign else in society, free. Ask Star Trek...
And about Zappa/Lucas/Coppola (re: Apocalypse Now Redux)... Artists in many art disciplines have gone back to previous works with interesting results. However, to supress a previous version of one's work does a few things the artist is never entitled to, the most obvious of which is the control of critical reception the artwork(s) receive. In other words, the artist, while certainly allowed to express a message (Duh: function of art) and to suggest how to receive the message (through various artistic codes, conventions, etc.) should not, on the other hand, be able to dictate terms of reception to the audience - to do so would be fascistic- and the fact that george lucas for example CAN do so is a function of capitalism once again: the original theatrical versions of the first 3 films vanishing in the aether of culture like so much Orwellian doublethink - "did it ever exist?" future generations will ask - considering he is entitled by law to control the means of production and distribution and hence the version of his product.
Culture has and always will be a shared experience. At its best - when its message is universal and represents a real distillation/mirror of humanity - art crosses gender, class, race and temporal lines and any kind of definitive eradication of any art that has been at one point made available to an audience, even by the author of the art in question for the purposes of something as purely subjective as "improvement", is tatamount to cultural genocide.

Sal, Friday, 1 April 2005 08:43 (twelve years ago) Permalink

that's a lot of response! I'll be brief, trying to respond to a quick simplification of your points-

regarding the Junior Boys...they did eventually get signed...because someone thought they'd sell records. And if that label person didn't think that, they might not even have the money to buy their damn drum machine, and I wonder, do they still have a day job? Music has been treated as a product for a hell of a long time, and while it is, artists deserve to quit their day jobs and get paid, even if buying the CD is the equivelent of hitting the tip jar. I download files, if I don't like them, I delete them, and if I do like them, and they're not David Bowie, I buy the CD.

but if we couldn't expect to make our money back, there'd be no Theoretical Girls CD. Not because anyone was holding it back, but because nobody would have bothered, nobody would have cared, hell, nobody would have known to check. The best music releases would all be charity. And while we think about money, and our end goal is to make millions putting out forgotten music, our main goal is to at least make our money back so we can do it again. And if we make even more money back, well we can then afford to put out better stuff, promote it to more people, better support the artists etc, such is capitalism.

regarding the zappa/lucas/apocalypse redux arguments, they really don't relate to what may or may not be happening with the Desperate Bicycles I don't think, or with my comment regarding Lenny Kaye/Patti Smith or The Chills. But even with that there's gray areas...regarding the basic assumption, and this has been discussed before, that any remastering is going to be better remastering, that's different then radically remixing something.

As far as your musical utopia, there's been many discussions in many places...what happens when the media no longer exists, there's no copy-protection and everyone had gigs of storage in their brains and their living rooms, will all artists only make money through live performance? I just don't feel like having that discussion and figure we'll cross that bridge when we get to it!

Dan Selzer (Dan Selzer), Friday, 1 April 2005 09:49 (twelve years ago) Permalink

fair enough, i suppose, re. especially the last point. thanks for reading all that by the way.

Sal, Friday, 1 April 2005 16:38 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Dan: are you still in contact with Mr Papworth? I spent a very entertaining evening with him a few months back, but he's kindof stopped responding to my emails after I dubbed him off a copy of their (only?) tv appearance, so I was wondering if you had made any headway in getting any reissue project off the ground.

harveyw (harveyw), Monday, 11 April 2005 22:25 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I'd agree, Sal, but then there's the whole making a living and being able to eat part. Music can't be anarchistic unless the entirety of society is and (based on accounts I've heard, not personal experience) being really serious about your music is a full-time job.

>>, Tuesday, 12 April 2005 00:03 (twelve years ago) Permalink

hey. I emailed w/ Dave back and forth a few times, I think I just left it at "let me know if I can help you in any way and you know where to find me..." kind of thing. I have to check. I've been busy trying to find time to follow-up on another several dozen reissue projects, half of which seem in permanent limbo, the other half waiting for me to get my act together, in addition to everything else. I actually quit my job to freelance to try to find more time for this stuff and somehow have less time. But I should definately follow up with him.

TV appearance? I'll be contacting you off-list!

Dan Selzer (Dan Selzer), Tuesday, 12 April 2005 05:05 (twelve years ago) Permalink

six months pass...
I think it was T.S. Eliot who said that what is important is that good poems get written, not who writes them. I think there is something to be said for this statement when translated into music terms. For instance, by recording the songs and putting them out, the Desperate Bicycles DID make their music public domain, which is not to say anything in support of bootlegging. I agree with the statement that the more widely available something is for free, the less people will get it bootlegged. All this becomes somewhat moot when a reissue is released, at which point most who really enjoy the music should realize buying it is only right.

regular roundups (Dave M), Wednesday, 2 November 2005 06:42 (twelve years ago) Permalink

god bless you mr. erdman

corey c (shock of daylight), Wednesday, 2 November 2005 08:35 (twelve years ago) Permalink

two months pass...
Interesting snippet for anyone interested. The names on the back cover include my girlfriend at the time. She is in the second column, second name down. I heard them on John Peel and sent money for the disc in her name, as a thank you they printed names of early buyers. I wonderwhere she is now.. I wish her well.

bradlen, Thursday, 19 January 2006 00:28 (eleven years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
some one is now selling cd's on ebay.
downloading is one thing. this band will never be reissued. they're music was "of the time", and now its available for free to whom it may interest.
now somebody is trying to make a buck of it.
this is such shit.

Eugene S. Huckleberry, Monday, 19 March 2007 20:40 (ten years ago) Permalink

I think this was my first post on ILM and like many first posters I was needlessly snotty to Dan, who is obv. .a great guy and does a pretty good job of defending his viewpoint above, after I left the thread in a huff. Because I have mostly traded other collectors for stuff over the years I forget how prevalent bootlegging is. Being part of certain torrent mailing lists and reading comments on MP3 blogs has made me much more conscious of how much this shit shows up on eBay. I still think we have philosophical differences but when his label can't afford to release CDs anymore those are some IRL consequences.

sleeve, Monday, 19 March 2007 21:11 (ten years ago) Permalink

Ugh, this band is not good. I think the only reason anyone is interested in them is because they 'do not want their music released.'

Richard Wood Johnson, Thursday, 22 March 2007 14:23 (ten years ago) Permalink

Ugh, this band is not good. I think the only reason anyone is interested in them is because they 'do not want their music released.'

fixed it for you, bro!

pretzel walrus, Thursday, 22 March 2007 14:34 (ten years ago) Permalink

wow, that ebay listing is exactly what I was affraid of. That artwork? It was an assignment for a letterpress printing class I took 6 years ago. Notice the Acute catalog number and link to my old geocities website with my name on it? I printed maybe 50 or 100 of those by hand, burned the CD from my ripped vinyl and gave it away and traded it with people, stupidly assuming this wouldn't happen. Obviously as you can see above, at some point I expected it to happen. I'd certainly feel better if my name wasn't on it.

dan selzer, Thursday, 22 March 2007 15:00 (ten years ago) Permalink

I emailed the eBay seller and he said it was removed 3 days ago due to a request from a bandmember. On my birthday of all days. Apologies to the Desperate Bicycles...

dan selzer, Thursday, 22 March 2007 15:21 (ten years ago) Permalink

Right, so will Ricky Gervaise contact him regarding one of his other 'items for sale'?

Mark G, Thursday, 22 March 2007 15:37 (ten years ago) Permalink

you'd think London Records would have rushed out a Seona Dancing cd collection...

dan selzer, Thursday, 22 March 2007 15:38 (ten years ago) Permalink

but is it funny?

Mark G, Thursday, 22 March 2007 15:43 (ten years ago) Permalink

so what is the band's explanation of not wanting their shit released? Is it embarrassment?

Richard Wood Johnson, Friday, 23 March 2007 05:41 (ten years ago) Permalink

For many reasons, they are one of the greatest bands ever.

Dr.C, Friday, 23 March 2007 09:01 (ten years ago) Permalink

I respect artist's rights to have control over their music, and refuse to reissue it, but I also reserve the right to think they are twats for doing so.

Colonel Poo, Friday, 23 March 2007 10:33 (ten years ago) Permalink

Is it embarrassment?

No, the Embarrassment had a 2 cd compilation on Bar None a few years ago, that may still be in print.

There may be different members of the band who don't get along, that's a common reason bands don't want their music reissued. Some artists see the music as so much a part of it's time that they have little interest in revisiting the past. As someone who runs a reissue label, I can tell you there are plenty of artists who think the past is the past and should stay that way.

But I think enough people genuinely love the Desperate Bicycles for their music that your attempts at calling us disingenuous is pretty week.

dan selzer, Friday, 23 March 2007 11:19 (ten years ago) Permalink

>> the Embarrassment had a 2 cd compilation on Bar None a few years ago, that may still be in print.

Sadly it isn't and goes for $$$ on Ebay. I've been trying to get it for ages.

Colonel Poo, Friday, 23 March 2007 12:15 (ten years ago) Permalink

Maybe they or someone else will re-do it...I think the mastering was really weird on it, sounded a bit tinny. The second CD was in my discman when it was stolen out of my house. They've played a few times and someone's working on a movie about them, so I'm sure somebody will get the CD back out.

dan selzer, Friday, 23 March 2007 12:43 (ten years ago) Permalink

It wasn't the mastering Dan - at least nout entirely - so much as that they rather foolishly remixed a lot of the tracks and added new weird parts in the studio. And it was way inferior to what was there in the first place.

deedeedeextrovert, Friday, 23 March 2007 15:02 (ten years ago) Permalink

I've only heard the Heyday CD...I'll definitely have to check out the originals.

dan selzer, Friday, 23 March 2007 15:29 (ten years ago) Permalink

the tape on Fresh Sounds is the thing to get, so good!

sleeve, Friday, 23 March 2007 15:38 (ten years ago) Permalink

Sorry if this is selfish but I have read about this band so often in books on Punk etc. and alwayswanted to hear some of their stuff. Didn´t know that their stuff never made it to CD. Kept writing to Captain Oi and other reissue labels like GTA or Overground but to no avail. When I saw that someone had posted the files I almost had tears in my eyes. So I finally at least can die in peace having finally heard "The Medium was Tedium" and its B-Side "Don´t Back the Front". Thank you

Robert Laversuch, Tuesday, 3 April 2007 13:52 (ten years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...
I bought these vinyl releases when they first came out. I was amazed hen they played a benefit concert in my then hometown of Bristol - had an inspirring talk with them afterwards.

A quarter of a century later + after moving through 2 continents it's great to hear the songs that still float around in one's head...

Many thanks!

Rhodri Kasperbauer

kasperbauer, Friday, 20 April 2007 16:34 (ten years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

eww, this music is fucking shite. there's no reason to hear this bollocks except the fact that someone doesn't want you to hear it. brilliant marketing move, laddies.

i love this pretentious existential explanation for the band:
"The Desperate Bicycles were formed for the specific purpose of recording and releasing a single on their own label."

Not to make good music, not to express anything relevant, but simply to release an album. Yes, this has encouraged me to go buy an excessively large Hummer and drive it around just because.

res, Saturday, 21 June 2008 20:06 (nine years ago) Permalink

i'd say "advice on arrest" definitely expresses something relevant, and far from existential or pretentious. try actually listening to them next time.

r1o natsume, Saturday, 21 June 2008 20:24 (nine years ago) Permalink

What's really cool about music is that sometimes some people like it, while other people don't. A little respect for other people's taste and opinions goes a long way. They wrote tons of great songs that mean a lot to a lot of people. It's fine if you don't like them, and I guess it's silly for me to argue on the internet about stuff like this.

It was a pretty big deal, a big conceptual leap back then, that you could just put out a record. They had that idea and decided to do it. It was an influential move, but unlike the bulk of their followers, the music was also fantastic and they continued to write songs, released a few more singles and an LP. Most of it is pretty good to completely awesome, in my opinion, if not yours.

And I like it just because.

dan selzer, Saturday, 21 June 2008 20:46 (nine years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Is this the thread that is mentioned in the page at the top of the thread that doesn't work when you click on the link on that page?

Because if it is, he's right, it is interesting.

I remember buying the second single from my local record shop and cursing the fact that you must have either lived next to Rough Trade or been a friend of the band to get the first single. Certainly had no chance getting it out in the sticks. It's good to hear it again after all these years.

Ned Trifle II, Saturday, 2 August 2008 09:25 (nine years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Dug this up for the first time in probably 4 years? Totally enjoying "Cars"

"lol" as frivolity (Stevie D), Wednesday, 5 August 2009 16:28 (eight years ago) Permalink

"Holidays" is easily one of my favorite songs of all time. Can't get enough of it.

Trip Maker, Wednesday, 5 August 2009 16:38 (eight years ago) Permalink

I'm at the "Grief Is Very Private" single and it's quite exceptional. I'm surprised at how fucking good this is.

"lol" as frivolity (Stevie D), Wednesday, 5 August 2009 16:44 (eight years ago) Permalink

ten months pass...

There's a Lusty Ghosts song toward the end of this podcast..!

prior, Thursday, 10 June 2010 14:50 (seven years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

the "article" I wrote for Swingset Magazine in 2004:

I may update it one day with newer info, links, color photos etc, and post to the Acute site, but for now you can look at this and learn nothing new.

dan selzer, Thursday, 14 June 2012 19:54 (five years ago) Permalink

Dan, I don't know if it's already been addressed, but do you have the Evening Outs single and the Peel Sessions of the Desperate Bicycles on your burned CDs and if so, is it possible to receive any copies?

MaRK A Gjr, Saturday, 23 June 2012 22:19 (five years ago) Permalink

the desperate bicycles 7"s were all recently bootlegged with added bonus peel sessions tracks added. no sign of a 'remorse code' bootleg though.

stirmonster, Sunday, 24 June 2012 17:34 (five years ago) Permalink

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