Just What Is It That You Want To Do?

Loaded was the starting point for Andrew Weatherall and in the mainstream it is what he’ll be remembered for I guess. He’d been in the studio before as a remixer- his first named credit was on the Happy Monday’s Hallelujah Club Remix but Loaded is where the story begins. He’d given Primal Scream a positive review of a gig in Exeter at a time when no- one was interested in them. He also raved about their self titled second album, a rock ‘n’ roll, Stooges inspired guitar record that had managed to alienate the fans of their first album without really finding any new ones. In the summer of 1989 I saw Primal Scream touring to promote Ivy Ivy Ivy at a venue in Liverpool called Planet X in front of about thirty people. The Scream gave it their all, Bobby occasionally complaining about the low ceiling. We were right at the front next to Throb and they finished with I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have, Bobby on his knees screaming into the mic. A few months later Weatherall turned I’m Losing More… into Loaded.

Loaded

The first version of Loaded was in Weatherall’s own words ‘too polite’ and Andrew Innes encouraged him to go back and ‘fucking destroy it’. Primal Scream had nothing to lose. At this point Gillespie, Innes and Throb were still unconvinced about acid house despite Alan McGee’s enthusiasm but had met Weatherall at a rave and were happy for him to remix the song. Weatherall set about taking the song to pieces and remaking it.

I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have

Taking the horns from the end section of the original song and Henry Olsen’s rolling bassline Weatherall stitched Peter Fonda’s famous dialogue from The Wild Angels, a 1966 biker film, to the start of the song.

The question, ‘Just what is it that you want to do?’ is asked by Frank Maxwell. Fonda replies with his rallying call- ‘we want to be free, we want to be free, to do what we want to do… and we want to get loaded and we want to have a good time’. The part about riding ‘our machines without being hassled by the man’ was cut. I’ve often thought there should be a version with that part included. Fonda’s declaration had been used before, not least by Psychic TV (Weatherall was a big PTV fan). It sums up the spirit of the times perfectly.

The drumbeat with its massive crash cymbal came from Edie Brickell And The New Bohemians, a bootleg version of their hit What I Am, which in turn had been borrowed from a Soul II Soul record (and that was sampled from elsewhere).

What I Am (Bootleg)

The ‘I don’t want to lose your love’ vocal part, the bit where on a dancefloor or at a gig everyone is singing in unison regardless of their ability to hit the notes, comes from a 1976 song by The Emotions.

The only bit of Bobby Gillespie that made it onto the record is the vocal part at 3.09 where he sings ‘we’re gonna get deep down, deep down, woo hey!’ in response to Frank Maxwell’s repeated question. Gillespie’s vocal is from a cover of a Robert Johnson song, Terraplane Blues, presumably something the Scream had recorded but never released. There’s an ‘ah yeah’ bit at about five minutes which sounds like Bobby, some ace slide guitar and acoustic guitar, some lovely Italo house piano and Innes’ crunchy guitar parts that make the breakdown before we are launched back in.

The song was pressed up onto acetate and then some promos for DJs and as summer turned into autumn people began to notice the impact it had on dance floors. The rhythms evoke Sympathy For The Devil, the shuffling groove, and crowds in clubs began to chant the ‘woo woo’ part spontaneously. Loads of people have described their reactions to being told this monster rave anthem was the work of Primal Scream, the disbelief, the shaking of heads and then the wide eyed joy of becoming a believer. Members of Primal Scream have recounted being phoned by Weatherall and others in the small hours excitedly describing the effect Loaded was having on a floor right there and then. It was finally given its full released in February 1990, Creation finding themselves with a hit on their hands. Loaded reached number sixteen in the UK and propelled the band into the Top of The Pops studios where Gillespie wriggled with his maracas, black leather and long hair, feet seemingly glued to the spot. Ride’s Mark Gardener was drafted in to mime on the keyboards, Throb is resplendent in teddy boy red and Innes pulls all the moves, Les Paul, hippy shirt and long curls. For a song that has such deep roots, that sent thousands of indie kids hurtling to the dance floor and still raises the roof when played at parties, it’s an odd TV performance that doesn’t quite nail it. And of course, the man who made it is nowhere to be seen.

I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love

One of my favourite tunes of last year was Doc Daneeka’s massively upbeat slice of retro-rave, recently repressed on vinyl.

The vocal sample is from I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love by The Emotions, from 1976. Back in 1992 it was used by 2 Bad Mice, a duo from Hertfordshire ‘fuelled by takeaway pizza and spliff’. Hold It Down is a great record, from a time when bedroom producers with some basic equipment, a stack of records and a few of ideas could move mountains. Incidentally, the vocal sample is also the line Bobby Gillespie was singing when Weatherall created Loaded (as posted by Drew at Across The Kitchen table earlier this month).

1991 was the time when the dance scene fractured, with the rise of ‘ardkore. Hardcore/’ardkore developed between 1991 and 1993, new producers, djs and clubbers arriving and shifting things on, with breakbeats rather than metronomic drum machines, increasingly fast tempos, ‘cheesey’ synth sounds, sub-bass and sped up vocal samples. ‘Ardkore also lurched away from the utopianism of early house/acid house towards a darker vibe- but Hold It Down, the title itself a phrase used by people in clubs rushing on E, isn’t too dark, more massive fun. Hands in the air people.

Never Wanna Lose You

A friend tipped me off to this last night, an utterly retro but totally fresh breakbeat rave smash that was made in 2016 but sounds like 1991. That’s an Emotions vocal sample in there. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face.