Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Live recording

When I was in school I was a bit of a 'wigga', I was all over the latest Biggie Smalls album like a big fat rash, maaaaan that was a good summer listening to The Pharcyde and reading The Hobbit at the same time. When I was 17 I started listening to more respectable music and by 18 it's safe to say that my days were spent listening to Joy Division and Nick Cave and my nights were spent listening to Joy Division and Nick Cave. I got to see Nick live in Liverpool on one of his solo tours, it was pretty flipping cool, if only I'd heard The Birthday Party before then I would have appreciated piano versions of Wild World and Dead Joe a lot more. In 2001 And No More Shall We Part came out, I thought it was pretty sucky, but seeing as I now loved The Birthday Party and every other album by 'ol Nick I went to see him three times in a single week, pretty obsessive behavior, I booked my tickets, one for Manchester and two for Brixton Academy.

The first London gig was good, the second was even better but neither was as awesome as Manchester a few days before. Although I was now twenty Joy Division was still high on my list of fave bands so when in Manchester I went to visit Ian Curtis' grave, it was pretty special. I got to The Academy and there was no queue so decided to hang out round the back by the tour buses, I got a glimpse of Blixa getting into a taxi and nearly had a heart attack, then spotted Warren Ellis, he looked like a tramp. Ages later Thomas Wydler came out of the bus, he looked in the reflective glass and combed his hair, he was meticulous, he then turned to walk, took a massive sniff and gobbed all over the pavement, it was soooo cool! Me and a few other obsessives went over and asked him if Nick was in the bus, in his strong German accent he said "vait and you vill see". A bit later the door opened and he came out, Jesus Christ walked out of the navy coloured tour bus and I jumped to my feet and practically ran at him (smoooooth!). It was a weird experience, he signed a piece of paper for me then even posed for a picture, I put my arm on his shoulder pad and felt a little bit gay for a moment. I couldn't believe how small he seemed, I was convinced he was the same height and build as me, not the imposing beast I'd read about for years. When I got the photos back it was obvious that I'd clearly lost my mind as his head is as big a small car and I look like a six year old next to him. I look disgusting, all smiley and vile, and no that is not a bloody tie, its a reflector on my coat!

The day couldn't really get much better but if you've ever seen Nick live you'd know that it did get better, the gig that night is probably the best gig I've ever been to. He was on top venomous form, he flew about the stage like a bat, towered over the crowd like a spindly, dead tree and he even pointed at me (at least I'm going to believe it was me). The set was a healthy mix of old stuff and tracks off the new album, I actually left that night loving the new songs, I can't believe I ever doubted And No More Shall We Part cause its great; I will never feel the same way about anything after Nocturama though cause that stuff is just wack. I recorded the show that night, it's no soundboard quality but it really captures energy and essence of the night, The Mercy Seat was just out of this world, building up to a crescendo (is that the word?) that had me thinking my ears would explode in two fountains of hot blood. The other standouts for me were Oh My Lord, Red Right Hand, John Finn's Wife and The Curse of Millhaven.

Check out the setlist then have a listen to a sample track or just go ahead and download the whole bootleg in a zip file. (Please note that I took this off the minidisc years ago and have cut out the chat and clapping between songs cause I wasn't interested in that shit back then)

Manchester Academy, Manchester, 02/05/2001
As I Sat Sadly By Her Side
Oh My Lord (MP3)
The Boatman Calls
Red Right Hand
We Came Along This Road
Henry Lee
Do You Love Me?
God Is In The House
Fifteen Feet Of Pure White Snow
John Finn's Wife
The Weeping Song
The Mercy Seat
And No More Shall We Part
The Ship Song
The Curse Of Millhaven

Download all songs: Zip (no need to sign up for free membership!)

p.s Back in 2001 I set up a trade for this recording with someone on a Nick Cave forum, you sent me my tapes but I never sent yours, this was due to depression taking my life, job and internet connection for the first time, I still have your tapes if you want them :-p

(Update: adding DIG, LAZARUS, DIG!!! download in words only to come up in searches, pretty sneaky! If you are actually looking to download the 2008 album you'll have to look elsewhere).

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Big Black - Pigpile

Many, many, many, many moons ago I didn't get Big Black, then one day I was on the bus home from work and in a moment of madness put my iPod on shuffle, everyone knows this is the girls way to listen to music but I suppose I was feeling girlie that day. Just before Battlehill, Powder keg by The Fall (another band I didn't get) came on and suddenly I got them, when I got in I played the two albums of theirs that were on the shelf and loved them, I thought to myself "if I've suddenly got The Fall maybe I'll like Big Black as well now" and by golly it was true! If you don't believe me just check out this picture, not only am i wearing a hat thats three times too big for me but I'm proving my love for the band in the most classic of ways by sporting the "band t-shirt", I even have two of these now cause my guns out grew the first one and I got the next size up for Christmas last year off my lady.

me, me

So for about 3 years or something I searched ebay for a copy of the Pigpile VHS, I'd almost given up cause the odd ones that were listed were selling for about 40 quid a time and nobody in their right mind pays that for a VHS. Maybe all the other Big Black fans actually gave up cause I eventually got my copy for only twelve bucks, possibly the bargain of the century, or not. The thing is this video really sucks, seriously, its an embarrassment, I mean just look at this lame Myspace "me in the mirror" style photo I found in its room...

pigpile, myspace style

...oh, ok! I can't lie this video is amazing, unfortunately for you it's not getting any less rare so you'll probably never even get to see it, at least you may not get the satisfaction of actually finding a new friend that owns a video player, putting the tape in, rewinding it and praying that that it doesn't get chewed up. YouTube has pretty much everything including Pigpile but the problem with said site is that there are only two choices, small and bad quality or full screen and terrible quality.

Today is your lucky day cause over on stage6.divx.com some dude has uploaded the whole damned thing at pretty bloody good quality, much better than YouTube, still not as good as glorious VHS but wharrewwant?

Lock your kids in the bathroom for an hour and head over there NOW!

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Jeremy S. Gluck interview

Words and photos by Tyron Francis

A few years ago I got talking to a couple of girls outside a club through some dude I sort of knew, we all ended up at the same house party. There was this guy there who I'd seen playing wacky acoustic guitar once and I said to one of the girls that he was like the Rowland S. Howard of Swansea. She was all "my dad made an album with him!" Obviously I was a bit unsure of whether to believe such a statement, I ended up back at her place and she and her friend played me some songs on piano by Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, The Velvet Underground and a bunch of other greats. I decided to believe her claim. Jeremy Gluck was the lead singer of The Barracudas, the legendary surf punk band from the early 80's; they enjoyed some commercial success including a memorable appearance on Top of the Pops before breaking up in 1984. Jeremy went on to record a solo album that has been credited with inventing alt-country 10 years before the term was even created. He recently answered some questions for me about his early influences, what he's up to these days and some of his high points in the music industry.

Jeremy S. Gluck

THB: What kind of bands were you into growing up in Canada?

JSG: The decisive moment for me came when, at twelve' my older brother gave me his needle-worn copies of the Velvet's 'White Light White Heat', The Stooges' 'Funhouse' and The Who's 'Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy'. At that time, I already had good taste, naturally, but this killer trio of classics pretty much dictated the course of my musical taste thereafter, especially The Who, who became idols of mine (and still are, I am not ashamed to confess!). Add to the core trio The Beach Boys, and you have my cornerstones. In addition, there was alot of fabulous Canadian pop and rock little known beyond the border, artists like Michel Pagliaro and Murray McLauchlan, whose singles I adored. I got into a lot of good music courtesy of my friends the Jones brothers: The Kinks, the Flamin' Groovies and many more. We lived for British imports. I saw some awesome shows, too, including early Bruce, loons like KISS (Simmons' hair caught fire during the fire-breathing stunt and a roadie had toi extinguish it!) and many more like Roxy Music, Alice Cooper, prime Bowie...it goes on and on.

THB: How old where you when you realized that you wanted to make music as well as listen to it?

JSG: About twelve is when I left behind my childhood concerns and embarked upon an obsession with music that in a few years made me certain I was not likely to become an accoutant.

THB: Tell me about the journey from then until forming The Barracudas.

JSG: "Journey" is a rather exulted term, "stumble" or "stagger" might be more apt. In my later teens, I formed a few bands. They were basically punk bands, and we even had a few decent songs, including one entitled 'I Got Nothing' which name I later found out also graced a Stooges number! Probably the pinnacle of my teen moments was performing an imprompru 'Dirt' at lunchtime to a bewildered audience of my high school peers. I continued to scheme, and when I lived in Toronto I tried to form a band, too; we got as far as rehearsing Link Wray's 'Rumble', which to me still seems a classy achievement.

THB: You had some commercial success with The Barracudas, tell me everything there is to know about your time in the band.

JSG: No. A substantial amount happened, really. I hate to be a pain but a very good source of info on this is at http://www.nkvdrecords.com/barracud.htm. As far as commercial success goes, um, well, after a summer of hyping it our debut EMI single did get to thirty-seven for a few weeks, but in those days that meant like 50,000 sales! Then a lot of things fucked up (e.g. pressing plant strike etc.) and our next EMI singles did poorly. I did, however, during a TV session, emerge from the studio to see the cast of Coronation Street walk past. And then, mystically, not long after there was a scene in the pub on the show and...there was a Barracudas poster on the wall! How can I top that???

THB: You were writing for some music magazines at the time as well weren't you, did that help at all?

JSG: Yes and no. Most music journos are suspicious of musician-journos...after all, they have done it. We did get a little sympathetic coverage. I mean, we were on the cover of SOUNDS prematurely because I knew Tony D. (of Ripped and Torn fanzine fame) who at the time knew Sandy Robertson who was big at the paper then. But we got better press abroad regardless. The French for a time rejoiced in calling us the new Groovies, which experience was for a long while better than sex.

Jeremy S. Gluck

THB: How did you come to work with Rowland S. Howard on I Knew Buffalo Bill?

JSG: The genesis of my working with El Howard has some curious roots. Back-in-the-day when I was first living in London and launching The Barracudas, I'd often hang out at Rough Trade in Ken. High Street. We mursed hopes of the label adopting us, but weren't precious enough for them...lovely as they were. Anyhow, one band that did record from was the impenetrable Swell Maps, with whom we did a memorable show at The Nashville. One of the key maps was Nikki Sudden; we became quite good friends and by '83 were discussing recording together, as we shared a huge interest in vintage country music and early rock'n'roll. We did some demo's and then adjoured. Meanwhile the Maps and Barracudas split. Nikki and I kept in touch, hung out and wrote some songs. On a parallel timeline The Birthday Party had scorched London, imploded and spat forth Rowland S Howard, who Nikki got to know through is brother Epic, whose bands Crime and the City Solution and These Immortal Souls Rowland led. I had met Rowland a few times in my journalist role, but knew little of him otherwise, whereas he and Nikki had become big friends. In late 1986 Nikki and Rowland were ensconced in Fairport Conventioner Dave Pegg's studio Woodworm, knocking out junk for Creation, when I received a call from Nikki: Should he tag another week on the session and make an album with me? I was understandably excited at the prospect, having one of the greatest guitarists in human history dumped in my lap, plus in Epic a legendary drummer. We recorded and partly wrote the album in two sessions. Rowland played largely from instinct, we planned so little of any of the record. He did some remarkable things, though. I spoke to him last when Nikki died. Epic was already gone; I gather Rowland is now resurrected from a battle with Hep C and I hope he lives a long time...no way I want to be the last man standing.

THB: I Knew Buffalo Bill was recently re-released, did it make the top of the hit parade?

JSG: No, it didn't do that, but it enjoyed respectable sales and rave reviews. It's been re-released twice, in 1999 and 2006. The closest I got to the hit parade was co-writing the opening track on Ronan Keating's last. It wasn't - as planned - the first single (though the album did respectably by star standards) and then the final single it might have been ended up being something else and to top it all a digital downlaod which is ofttimes an artist's way of smothering their own child. The history of the song is quirky but so anal as to make its retelling here impossible.

THB: What are you up to these days? Are you still making music?

JSG: Is the Pope sitting atop the biggest porn stack on the planet? (Apparently down Vatican way they've been collecting since centrefolds were mere cave paintings!) Yes, I am. I never stopped. Hmmm. Well, I spent a good five years as "Datawhore" messing with electronic mania-mayhem; the first Datawhore album as such has just come out on iTunes, with artwork as it happens by a certain Tyron Francis. Three more will follow. Then will arrive my first solo album since 1987. Then a limited edition collection of rarities. Then another collection of rarities, though probably iTunes only there. Over the past few years I've contributed to compilations for Nikki Sudden and French band the Dogs, plus throwing oddments at other walls. I intend to record some more, perhaps electronic crud again. I also took some time out to write a book...but that's enough for now.

THB: Are your influences different now than they were when you first started out, what kind of stuff are you listening to these days?

JSG: As you young people are aware, who know me at all, I listen these days even more to what I used to listen to when I first started out. In a way, it reminds me of my father and his capacity for and love of re-reading great books: Not long ago I devoted literal weeks to listening to 'Who's Next'. At the moment I am Brian Wisloned again. I know next to nothing of modern bands. I hear them for seconds and get bored. I listened to those Monkeys people briefly, for example, understood their appeal and gifts, yawned and passed by on the other side. Eventually one is no longer "influenced", one has become what the influences wrought. Largely, I still seek to create the kind of music I did when I was twenty or thirty.

Jeremy S. Gluck

THB: What have been some of the highlights of your career in the music business?

JSG: 1. Hearing myself on the radio for the first time. A peak experience for any recording artist, needless to say, made more sweet for me in that J. Peel was the first DJ I knew to spin my disc (which he didn't like much!).

2. Writing songs with Chris Wilson, whose emigration from the Flamin' Groovies to my band was a tremendous thrill, and writing with the man who had already co-written some the greatest rock'n'roll songs ever rather excited me.

3. Meeting and interviewing Brian Wilson, whose Beach Boys I had loved all my life and whose songs are five miles higher than even The Beatles'. That McCartney's choice for ultimate song is 'God Only Knows'...McCartney is mighty, but BW is the only Mozart of pop music.

THB: Any words of wisdom for the people?

JSG: Be good to your mother, she's been good to you.

Jeremy can be contacted on jsgluck[at]gmail.com
Jeremy on Myspace
Datawhore on Myspace
Top of the Pops clip on YouTube

Buy Jeremy Gluck albums on Amazon, the Boxing Duck! gets a percentage of whatever you spend so get your hands in your pockets!


Meeting Daniel Johnston

The Comedy Store, Manchester
Monday 21st May 2007

Before the gig I was taken Daniel's dressing room, pretty quickly I noticed that he was really quiet compared to the supports who were also in the room, they were all having a good time and Daniel was just sat, hunched, chain smoking and drinking coke, he didn't even lift his head.

Daniel JohnstonAfter the supports left to go on stage I said hello to him and said that his brother said I could take some photos and he just went "uh-huh", didn't look up, I asked him how ATP went and he said "uh-huh", I asked if he minded me taking some photos and he said "uh-huh", not once lifting his head. I gave him a set of comic badges I'd bought for him with "pow" and "zapp" and stuff on them, he said he really liked them and right away just zoned out again. I snapped one pic of his reflection in the mirror and left him to his thoughts.

Daniel JohnstonI spoke to his brother upstairs who said he was ok during soundcheck but had just gone out of it. He said that he ended up playing both days at ATP and an outdoor show as well and that he'd had a really good time. He said he'd probably be in better spirits after the gig so I decided to leave him to it until then.

During the gig he was on top form, he was joking, smiling and seemed really happy. I went backstage right after the gig and he was sat back in his chair same as earlier smoking and drinking coke again, he was pretty untalkative to the supports (who played with him on most of the set), then he went outside for a smoke and was out there a good 10mins, he came back in, hunched into his chair and continued smoking.

Badly Drawn Boy (Daniel had no idea who he was) came in to the dressing room, I can't remember why but daniel said he wanted to get on a major label again and record in the big studios, and that he wanted to be famous, within the next 10 mins BDB bragged about being "the most famous musician from Manchester", being "a millionaire", recording a big budget video in london the next day and (laughably) said "I'm the best songwriter I know". He was 'joking' about all this stuff of course but he very obviously believed what he was saying! A very insensitive choice of things to talk about if you ask me. Daniel seemed to sit silently for AGES before answering people at times, there was this great example where BDB asked him if he wanted to release an EP on his label, there must have been a 30sec pause before Daniel looked up, really animated, and went into this big thing about how in movies and comics you can do things that would be dangerous in real life and thats why he likes them so much, then he just slumped down again. BDB was all Daniel Johnston"I play shows and I say my fave musicians are Bobby Conn, Wesley Willis and Daniel Johnston and nobody knows who they are" obviously pulling out the most obscure dudes he knew to appear cool, so I said to him "but you're a big Springsteen fan, people have heard of him". Daniel said he was a big fan too and that he'd seen him 3 times, BDB of course was better than that, he'd seen him 30 times and actually played with him 5 weeks ago. He was such a twit! His girlfriend made him leave and on the way out the door he went "ahhhhh" like he'd just met a disabled child in a hospital. That really annoyed me cause Daniel very probably heard.

By this point I thought Daniel had had enough hassle for one night so i asked him to do me a drawing and right away he came alive, he asked me what I'd been up to, I said that I'd just been working to which he replied "working is a real drag, I havent worked since 1986, I used to work in Mcdonalds" he gave me my drawing and right away zoned out again. I packed up my gear and said that I liked his full band, studio recorded albums and the direction he was moving in but all I got was "uh-huh" so I said my goodbyes and went on my merry way...

It was not the great meeting with a musical genius that I was hoping for BUT it was certainly a really intimate peak into his life and something I will never forget.

MP3: Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Your Griviences from Yip/Jump Music

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