Tag Archive: rock

  • Happy Birthday Mick Fleetwood, here’s Chevy!

    Caddyshack, Be The Ball

    Mick Fleetwood, the druid-looking weirdo from Fleetwood Mac, turns 62 today, so will presumably be spending the evening enjoying facepaints, alcohol and lasagna, like any normal person would on their birthday. He might have a little do in a pub somewhere, or perhaps he’s off to a fancy restaurant. We just don’t know. Mainly because Mick didn’t bother inviting us. Oh no, Mick’s a little bit too good for us, with his music industry pals, and his cool beard. Even so, we thought we’d buy him a gift, so we hired bikes and circled a small lake, until discussions came to a close with a simple choice between a lawn mower, or a clip of Chevy Chase being funny. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday Fleetwood!

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  • Great British Band: The Pop Group

    The Pop Group, She is Beyond Good and Evil

    Anyone who’s had the pleasure of visiting the West Country will already be fully aware that sometimes you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover – even though it talks like a farm hand, it appears to be quoting Nietzsche. Above is The Pop Group from Bristol. A fine band.

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  • Interestment’s Top Four: Front Women

    Some excellent rock and rollers just missed out…

    siouxie-sioux

    Unlike disgruntled old men who refuse to board buses driven by women because they might crash, we completely embrace equality. We even celebrate it. In fact, we barely even consider equality to be an issue, because we simply presume it. Not just in the bedroom, but in the workplace, in the kitchen sink, and on stage with hard rocking bands. It’s a shame that, Beth Ditto aside, there seems to be a dearth of exciting rock and roll front women at the time of writing. But, even so, coming up with the four greatest was an emotional and tricky process, with Grace Slick, Bjork, Chaka Khan, Chrissie Hynde and Siouxsie Sioux all just missing the cut…

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    1. Janis Joplin

    janis-joplin

    Without a doubt, the queen of all front women. She lead Big Brother and The Holding Company, then Kozmic Blues Band, then Full Tilt Boogie Band. And then she died of a heroin overdose. It was a total shame, because she was probably the greatest white soul singer of all time, and could challenge Jagger and Prince as the greatest front PERSON ever to take the stage. A genius.

    2. Patti Smith

    patti-smith1

    You can probably thank heroin and cocaine for Patti Smith’s rather sinister looks – back in the 1970s, it was still considered at the height of sophistication to shoot a load up down an alleyway, or on a bench. Yet, drugs aside, she made for an amazing front women for the inventively named Patti Smith Group, which rode the crest of a creative wave from 1974-1979. If Keith Richards were a singer and a woman, he’d be Patti Smith.

    3. Debbie Harry

    debbie-harry

    A former Playboy bunny, Debbie Harry was the sexy face of punk rock. Her band was Blondie, and they were at their peak in the late 1970s and early 1980s. And it’s a testament to how good she was that nowadays pretty much every angular young oik giving music a bash is fashioned on Harry in her prime. A very beautiful woman.

    4. Stevie Nicks

    stevie-nicks

    A tiny little thing at just a fraction over five foot, Nicks put a magnificent stamp on Fleetwood Mac from 1975 until the early 1980s. She was strange and alluring, with her mystical jewelry, nasal voice, and whispers that she appreciated her cocaine in a rather unconventional manner. Rumours also went around that she might be a witch.

  • Album Covers Analysed: MC5, Back in the USA

    How a proper rock band should look

    mc5

    Even at the height of their binges, both The Stones and Led Zep chose to turn the spotlight away from their sweaty faces and frightened daytime eyes, opting instead for arty, conceptual album covers for their records. These would have been commisioned out to dope smoking artists, with a brief to throw something magnificent together in between orgies with their muses, and zany acid trips. Not so with the hard rocking maniacs in MC5 – alongside The Stooges, the greatest band to evolve on the streets of Detroit. For their 1970 Back in the USA album, they used a simple picture of the band staring down the lens of a camera, resulting in as startling and honest an image of a 1970s rock band as you could possibly imagine. With the exception of lead singer Rob Tyner’s wonderful frizzy white-fro, not a single strand of bandmember hair isn’t glued and matted to their sweaty heads, and all of them look absolutely mangled. A hunch suggests that post-photo conversations were either slurred, or expressed violently, using loud shouty noises and frustrated fists. This, people, is what it must really look like to be in a band. Below is a brilliant track from the record…

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  • Album covers analysed: The Byrds

    The Byrds, Ballad of Easy Rider

    the-byrds

    There is nothing in the world more deeply satisfying than a visual metaphor. Students use them all the time, because Banksy uses them, and Banksy is, like, a genius or something. Seriously, man, he uses graffiti to really express himself. He uses it for social commentary and that. Yeah, I’m going to buy a book of Banksy pictures. Then I might get a T-shirt with I’m Banksy emblazoned on it, because no one is one hundered per cent sure who Banksy actually is. God Banksy‘s cool. He’s not even really called Banksy. It’s like his street name. Banksy. Anyway, enough about Banksy, and onto another visual metaphor. One created before the great Banksy was even conceived. It’s from the sleeve of Ballad of Easy Rider by The Byrds, released at a time when rural America was having to come to terms with the mobs of greasy long haired hippies making love on their barn floors. In a small square in the middle of the cover is a picture of a cowboy – the symbol of Hillbilly America – only in this case, he’s riding a motorbike, not a horse. A motorbike. The message is clear. The times, they are changing. Or, indeed, a-changing. Horses are out, man. Here’s a cut from the record…

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  • Interestment’s Top Four: Superior Cover Versions

    Not including food products…

    brabnston

    Copycatting – or, as some people call it, copydogging – is rife. If you write down a list of all of your favourite things – from foods, to films, to drinks, to songs, to clothes, to anything at all – they’re probably all total rip offs from something else. Pasta is one Italian man’s version of Chinese rice, whilst a gentleman’s shirt was originally modelled on the womanly blouses worn by buxom whores attracting incoming sailors. Even Scarface, yes Scarface, was a remake of another film called Scarface from 1932. Both great movies, by the way. And let’s not forget that Heinz Baked Beans have been ripped off and outbrillianted by Branston ones. Everything is a cover version. Everything. So, with that in mind, we peered at music, and deduced the four most impressive copydogs, as decided by us…

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    1. Joe Cocker, With a Little Help From My Friends

    Once in a while, The Beatles would throw Ringo a bone, and he’d get the chance to sing on an album. It was a move akin to Monet asking a hysterical four year old to finish off his lilies for him. It just never worked out. What Goes On (Rubber Soul), Yellow Submarine (Revolver), and then this on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – all the low points on great records. And yet, when Joe Cocker got his teeth into the song, it transformed into a gritty, rock-soul workout. Plus it reminds us of the brilliant Wonder Years. Here’s Ringo’s wrongo attempt…

    2. The Clash, I Fought The Law

    The Clash painted a snarling picture of spitting teens trying to put one over on the police, while the original – by The Crickets minus Buddy Holly, deceased – sounded more like a cheerful inmate regaling his jail buddies with something he’s just written in his cell. This, of course, making him a serious target for The Marys. Here’s that version…

    3. Louie Louie, The Kingsmen

    No doubt about it, The Kingsmen‘s version of Louie Louie is one of the greatest pop records ever made. The 1957 original, by Richard Berry,  isn’t too bad either. It’s a doo-wap song about a Jamaican man explaining his love life to a bartender called Louie. It’s a far more docile affair…

    4. Hey Joe, Jimi Hendrix

    Fourth spot was a close call as ever, with some magnificent songs falling at the last minute – James Brown’s version of Think by The 5 Royales, Johnny Cash’s excellent cover of Hurt by Nine Inch Nails, Labelle doing Wild Horses by The Rolling Stones – but in the end, Hendrix just nicked it for Hey Joe. It was a hit for the garage rock band The Leaves just a year before Hendrix made it iconic in 1966. It was an extra close call, because The Leaves‘ version is almost just as excellent…

  • Album covers analysed: Buckingham Nicks

    New couple in town…

    buckingham-nicks

    Before Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac, the band was a whole different kettle of fish – you can read all about that on The Guardian website. We are far more concerned by the album cover that they chose for their Buckingham Nicks album, which came out a year or so before they joined the legendary pop/rock group. It’s a hugely important moment – the release of a pop debut. Everything needs to be in place, you need the right sound, the right vibe. You need the right look. Remember, this is the picture to mark your arrival on the music scene. It needs to be hip. Unfortunately, Stevie and Lindsey – Lindsey being the one with the moustache, by the way – chose to take their clothes off and pretend to be swingers instead. It’s not helped by Stevie’s intriguing arm positioning, which lends the picture the look of a couple in the throws of a manual sex act. Once you have that in your head, it’s damn near impossible to look Lindsey in the eye. Why is he staring at me like that? What does he want? The album bombed. Even so, it’s a great record. Here’s a cut from it…

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  • Great British Band: Echo & The Bunnymen

    Echo & The Bunnymen, The Game/Lips Like Sugar

    Although, as a child, the bitter disappointment of not seeing a rabbit on guitar or a big brown hare on drums was pretty hard to swallow, we couldn’t fault these guys as a band. Possibly the best British guitar band of their generation. Brilliant.

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  • Great British Band: Faces

    Faces, Stay With Me

    When Steve Marriott walked out on the Small Faces, in came Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart, and suddenly they didn’t look so dinky anymore, hence they became just Faces instead. A fantastic band, they gave the world Wood, Stewart, and Worzel Gummidge hair. Brilliant.

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  • Great British Band: Cream

    Cream, Sunshine of Your Love

    Cream were a supergroup made up of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. The modern day equivalent would be if, say, two members of Girls Aloud joined The Saturdays – that’s right, this was astonishing stuff. Above is their best song. And below is the superior cover by Spanky Wilson.

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  • Thursday Love Song: The Beatles

    The Beatles, Don’t Let Me Down

    Yes! Thursday! We adore Thursdays, because they’ve been recently declared – by us – the official day of love. A time for romance, snogging, and smearing handfuls of treacle into your lover’s soft thighs. Today, The Beatles explain how there’s a woman out there really watering their testicles. Yoko perhaps?

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  • Great British Band: New Order

    New Order, Temptation

    The Jam or The Style Council? The Beatles or Wings? Small Faces or Humble Pie? These are debates that will rage for centuries to come. As will this one – Joy Division or New Order? Both exactly the same band, only one with a strange jerking lead singer, the other with an additional lady. Our vote goes to the latter.

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  • Interestment’s Top Four: Disturbing album covers

    Some really creepy ones didn’t make it…

    millie-jackson

    It never fails to add an extra coil to the spring in our step whenever we hear from a member of the growing Interestment family. Today excellent contributor Debs – a lady with an eye for the absurd – turned her telescope made from a rolled up magazine onto album covers, particularly frightening ones. She had this to say…

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    Intently flicking through racks of 12 inches in some grubby second-hand shop with only a gaggle of trainspotters for company – it’s nothing if not meditational. Until, that is, some artist attempting to shift more units via shock-tactic publicity scares the living daylights out of you by placing a grotesquely disturbing image (which, in some Eastern European cases, can simply be their face) on the cover of their latest EP. Who hasn’t had their browsing zen interrupted by the glimpse of something uncalled for and horrifying? The following pop groups should be ashamed…

    1. Aphex Twin, Richard D. James

    aphex-twin

    It’s a tough call when it comes to choosing which of the Cornish, bank vault-dweller’s covers is the most mind-bendingly odd. But this demonic self portrait is the winner – narrowly pipping the Aphex Kids on the Come To Daddy EP cover to the horror post.

    2. King Crimson, In the Court of King Crimson

    king-crimson

    This trippy drawing of a screaming maniac has been known to make actual grown up men ask timidly about the whereabouts of their mummy, before erupting in hysterical tears.

    3. Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy

    led-zep

    Small naked children, dragging themselves out of holes in the earth, crawling slavishly towards some (undoubtably) twisted and dark power that is emitting light from behind a hill. Shitting heck.

    4. Black Flag, Family Man

    black-flag

    The comic-style simplicity of the Raymond Pettibon drawing makes it all the more appalling. The teddy. The child with the eye-injury. Mum’s leg. And the date? The day after Kennedy’s assassination. It’s everything that’s wrong in the world. Well, America anyway.

  • Album covers analysed: Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I am (etc)…

    Hey there, Smokey Joe!

    arctic-monkeys

    For those who weren’t aware, the Arctic Monkeys are four young gentlemen who were playing ping-pong at youth club one minute, then singing accoustic renditions of their biggest hits to Alexa Chung – who is far too thin, by the way – the next. In many ways, they’re the new Beatles. Although not, unfotunately, when it comes to album covers. Even at their earliest, The Beatles were prone to producing decent record sleeves – both Please Please Me, and With The Beatles made for iconic band images. Yet, this is just some stubbly bloke smoking a cig. Essentially, a teenager’s depiction of what being cool is like. “It’s, like, smoking, you know, with a bit of a beard.” No. No, that’s not cool unfortunately, Arctic Monkeys. It’s just what smokers with almost-beards do. They smoke. With their almost-beards. Nothing visually iconic about this fantastic debut. The opening single was a belter though. Here’s a nice reminder…

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  • Happy Birthday Hugh Hefner, here’s Eric Clapton!

    Eric Clapton Shreds

    Well, Hugh Hefner turns 83 today, and no one could ever accuse him of not having a type. The Hef has bedded scores of women in those years, absolutely all of them identical, with freshly shampooed hair, oily legs, and groin tattoos. It’s just the way he likes them. Today, he’s probably got two or three lined up. Even so, we thought we should get him a present, so we headed to a nearby wasteland, pointed guns at one another, and argued loudly about what to get him until the sun came up. It boiled down to a toss up between an actual rabbit for the mansion, or a brilliantly overdubbed clip of Eric Clapton playing the guitar. In the end we got him both. Happy Sexy Birthday Hef!

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  • Great British Bands: T.Rex

    T.Rex, London Boys

    These glammers were excellent, fronted by the tragic Marc Bolan – him with his frizzy hair, and thing for dressing up all funny. A great band, above is their best song in our opinion. It’s an ode to being in a flamboyant street gang.

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  • Album covers analysed: Television, Marquee Moon

    Lock up your daughters!

    television

    Nothing quite illustrates the gaping gulf between US punks and UK punks like the cover of Marquee Moon. While bands like the Sex Pistols and The Clash looked like gangs of vicious street maniacs armed with guitars, bike lock necklaces, and phlegm, Television resembled PHD students politely queueing to get into a science lecture. Their clothes weren’t torn and hacked, rather they looked like Christmas presents bought by a kindly aunt, and their haircuts were standard regulation – apart from Kevin Keegan at the back, that is. The bloody hippy. As a statement of intent, the album cover told us to get ready for some pretty intense Pythagorean theorem, and yet it masks one of the greatest punk records ever made. This one often tops the most pretentious bong smoking music lists, and is a favourite with exactly the kind of bearded women who claim to adore punk rock music. Here’s the main song…

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  • Interestment’s Top Four: Epic Song Intros

    The introduction is always important…

    handshake

    It’s never anything short of a total joy to hear from one of the Interestment family, and today fantastic writer and observer of humans, Debs, has turned her golden magnifying glass onto excellent pop songs. Her quest – to see which ones grab us by the ears the quickest. She had this to say…

    An intro is not to be underrated. After all, how would we ever get to the middle bit or the end without it? They inspire us to hurry drunkenly to the dance floor, buy certain brands of mobile phone, watch gritty BBC dramas and scrabble excitedly for the pen during particular pub quiz rounds. And there are some intros so good that arguably they don’t need the rest if the song. Here are the classics that shoot their bolt in those first, epic opening bars…

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    1. Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Geno

    Only the utterly deaf could cease to be roused by the triumphant trumpets calling us to ‘pogo’ maniacally… the downside being that you get all wound up and excited, then have to resort to an aggressive chicken dance when it slows down. Great stuff though.

    2. The Who, Baba O’Reily

    Crazy-fingered-organ-slapping opening foray that makes you want to stand up and punch the air – even if you are sitting at home quietly watching CSI New York with Mum.

    3.  Led Zeppelin, Immigrant Song

    Is it just us or does this inspire everyone within earshot to want to dress as a Viking, jump on horseback and go out looking for sheep/women to kill?

    4. House of Pain, Jump Around

    Possibly the joker in this hand of classics but undeniably the most provocative four first notes in pop rap-dom. Even before the squealing brass drags us from the bar we’re turning our caps backwards and throwing gang-signs like billy-oh.

  • Great British Band: Babe Ruth

    Babe Ruth, The Mexican

    A rock band from Hertfordshire who were more popular in America than England, their greatness comes down to one track from 1974, The Mexican. A tremendous rock song, a favourite of Kool DJ Herc in the early days of hip hop, it straddles genres. Hence, brilliant.

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  • Album covers analysed: The Doors, Morrison Hotel

    Not taken with a digital camera…

    the-doors

    To the untrained eye, this photograph from 1970 is absolutely rubbish. And sadly, it’s even worse through a trained eye. But with good reason. Much in the same way that anyone who spots their surname on a shop sign will go berserk and excitedly take an awful picture of it to show their mates, Jim Morrison did exactly that, but decided that the photograph was so good that it should go on the sleeve, and become the name of, his band’s fifth album. Unfortunately, the meanies who ran the actual Morrison Hotel in Los Angeles didn’t want The Doors using flashy cameras in their lobby, so told the hippies that there was no way in hellfire that they could shoot the cover there, so the band did what any group of 12-year-olds would do – they legged it in, sat in the window while their buddy with trembling hands hurriedly clicked away. The hotel itself was closed in 2007, while Jim Morrison only lasted until 1971.

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    Here’s a cut from the album…

  • Listen to Interestment on Last FM!

    Anyone fancy a dance?

    dancers

    Last FM, to those who don’t know, is an excellent website where you can design your own radio show playlist. We’ve saved you the trouble by making up one of our own. Simply click here, listen, enjoy, and feel free to recommend any artists you think we might have overlooked.

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  • Great British Band: The Coral

    The Coral, Dreaming of You

    Of course, Merseyside has a great tradition in churning out fantastic pop groups, and this is one of the best since The Beatles. Above is their most catchy tune so far. Fabulous.

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  • Album covers analysed: The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses

    Great British band’s ode to France…

    stone-roses

    The best thing about bands and pop groups in the 1980s was that loads of them might have looked glitzy and glam, but they were spawned of a deeply thoughtful political ideology. Wham, for example, were rampant Stalinists. Culture Club were Thatcher’s favourite transvestite cod reggae band. And Bananarama were total lefties. Not to mention these guys, The Stone Roses. Painted by some as the kind of tough Manchester street kids it was best to avoid, their 1989 album was oozing with strange artistic and political influences – the cover was the lead guitarist’s homage to both the popular squiggly line artist Jackson Pollock, and French riots from the 1960s. Hence the tricolor creeping in from the left. Plus, for those baffled by the lemons, seemingly flung willy nilly into view, they are rumoured to be the perfect antidote to tear gas. The same tear gas used on those angry French hippies on that fateful day in May 1968. A deep, political – almost confusing – piece. Fantastic record.

    Here they are singing some if it…

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  • Happy Birthday Jon Bon Jovi, here’s the alphabet

    Patti LaBelle, Sesame Street

    Look at Jon Bon Jovi. Damn it, the man has everything – a brilliant soft rock voice, feathery hair that drives women wild, and sculpted nooks and crannies in his home where he can stash bed partners. What on earth could he want for? We argued like maniacs for an entire weekend, one half of the think tank furiously demanding that we should send him a great big sherry trifle, while the others argued the case of an alphabet lesson from Patti LaBelle. In the end, we put our swords down and decided to give him both. Happy Birthday Bon Joves!

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