Sunday Jam

If Friday night was about Weatherall’s Disco Deviant dancefloor mix then Sunday morning is the time for the most recent edition of Music’s Not For Everyone, covering all the bases and all the basses from rockabilly to psychedelia to electronica and beyond. Listen to it here.

Someone reminded me yesterday of Jam J, a 12″ single from 1994 where an already experimental studio jam session with James and producer Brian Eno was then further reworked by Sabres of Paradise into two part thirty three minute outer space/inner space dub with echo and all kinds of tinkering. The record was in four parts, labelled A1. Arena Dub A2. Amphetamine Pulsate B1. Sabresonic Tremolo Dub B2. Spaghetti Steamhammer. This is all four parts, both sides in one handy mp3.

Jam J

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Johnny Yen

Johnny Yen is the main character in Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life- ‘here comes Johnny Yen again, with the liquor and drugs and the flesh machine, he’s gonna do another striptease’ is the song’s opening line, before beating our brains and Johnny’s with a pulverising Motown drumbeat and David Bowie’s beefed up ukulele riff. Iggy borrowed Johnny Yen from a William Burroughs novel- The Ticket That Exploded- where Johnny Yen is described as ‘the boy-girl other half striptease God of sexual frustration’. He is also known for hypnotising chickens. Iggy’s Johnny Yen is a self-destructive hedonist and therefore is partly/mainly Iggy himself.

 

Johnny Yen reappears in the James song of the same name, on Stutter in 1986. For Tim Booth Johnny Yen is a performer- ‘Ladies and gentlemen here is my disease, give me a standing ovation and your sympathy’, before going off and setting himself on fire again. Tim Booth further borrows from Iggy/Bowie by referencing the Jean Genie, and then goes onto suicide pacts, young men itching to burn and waiting for their own star turn. He then gets compared to Evel Knievel, hitting the seventeenth bus, before Tim urges someone to put Johnny Yen, the poor fool, out of his misery, to finish him off. I’m guessing that mid 80s vegan, yoga, indie-poet Tim Booth was despairing of the old rock ‘n’ roll cliches, with their leather trousered frontmen and drug habits, but by borrowing Johnny Yen he’s lining himself up alongside Iggy Pop and William Burroughs to some extent. The James song was from when they looked like a really interesting group, spindly, spiky, uncompromising, almost folky, indie-rock. They went on to become a stadium band, which I don’t hold against them by any means, but they sacrificed something when they expanded their line up and sound and began appealing to a wider audience.

Johnny Yen

Audrey’s Half Century

Today, April the 6th, is Lord Sabre Day, Andrew Weatherall’s birthday- and today he turns 50. The top picture shows him djing in the early 90s. I’m fairly certain it was taken at Cream during the Sabres Of Paradise tour (note gear borrowed off Sandals).

Two decades later…

Having followed him since his earliest vinyl adventures, I’ve spent a fair amount of time over the last twenty odd years tracking down, buying, listening to, and more recently surfing for, his music. I think he’s one of British music’s genuine mavericks, always interesting, always on the move and always worth listening to- on wax and in print. Always looking forward but with the past in view. His remixes from the last few years are among the very best stuff he’s done and The Asphodells album is a contender for album of the year so far. This is a bumper selection of  fairly randomly chosen Weatherall tracks from my hard drive to celebrate his half century…

Any brief internet/magazine biography always links Weatherall and Screamadelica. When the Scream put their collective boot on the monitor and released Give Out But Don’t Give Up many felt that it was a backwards step. It was. But proving you can make a dub purse out a sow’s ear, Weatherall reworked their Stonesisms into a heady twelve minute dub excursion that goes a little Screamadelica-esque in the final few minutes of this Sabres remix of Jailbird.

Jailbird (Weatherall Dub Chapter 3 Mix)

Similarly you get all the references to the artists he remixed in the early 90s. This one took that main keyboard refrain from James’ second best known song and sent a thousand indie kids sprawling across the dancefloor. Confusingly there are two different names for this remix but they are I think the same mix.

Come Home (Weatherall Skunk Weed Skank Remix)

Lino Squares was one of many aliases and pseudonyms Weatherall used during the late 90s, outside Two Lone Swordsmen. As Lino Squares he put out a six track vinyl pack of minimal, electro-oriented  music. These days it’s more linocuts than Lino Squares.

Neuprhique

The first piece of vinyl to bear the Weatherall name as a solo artist was an e.p. entitled The Bullet Catcher’s Apprentice- the lead track Feathers was sold to sell cars, the Ford Tipp-Ex according to Weatherall. This song featured vocals from Weatherall and lists many things that are possible- but how one should never make disco without a Stratocaster.

You Can’t Do Disco Without A Strat

And he followed it with a wonderful solo album- A Pox On the Pioneers- a couple of years ago, drawing on glam, rockabilly, and post-punk. This was a dub of Fail We May, Sail We Must (from the Japanese version of the lp).

Fail We May, Dub We Must

Two years ago he remixed Clock Opera. I’m not sure I know much about Clock opera but remember reading a so-so review of their album. In fact I’m not even sure I’ve listened to the original track despite owning the 12″. But the Weatherall remix is a gem, one of many remix gems from recent times. This is a superb piece of electronic music, crisp beats, lovely synths and a fantastic repeated bit where everything goes all wonky.

Once And For All (Weatherall Remix)

In the last few years there have been a shedful of podcasts and mixes on the internet. This one, for Fact Magazine, remains one of the best, joining the dots over the course of an hour between (amongst others) CircleSquare, Dum Dum Dum, Bert Weedon, Wayne Walker, The Monks, Stockholm Monsters, Mogwai, Durutti Column, Dennis Wilson and The Mighty Wah! Proper stuff this.

Fact Mix 85 (September 09)

Weatherall and Fairplay’s Asphodells lp, Ruled By Passion, Destroyed By Lust, has been sent out to the remixers. This one sees their cover version of AR Kane’s A Love From Outer Space get remixed by Mugwump- spaced out.

That should be enough to keep you going. I could have doubled the size of this post and still only scratched the surface. I don’t what a luxuriantly bearded, Edwardian clothes-wearing, heavily tattooed, dancefloor and leftfield legend does for his 50th birthday but I for one will be raising a glass in his honour tonight, somewhere  in a caravan in north Yorkshire. Happy 50th birthday sir.