Wednesday, 20 May 2009

How Do You Say I'm Lonely To An Answering Machine?

Jim Walsh's "biography" of the Replacements, "All Over But The Shouting"


Lest any of you think this blog is my first foray into the "Did I ever tell you about the time I met...." style ramblings of which, you'll by now have gathered, it comprises, well, you'd be wrong. I have previous in this field. Back in 2001, I posted the following on The Skyway http://www.theskyway.com/ If you read on, and please do, remember this was aimed at those more than a little familiar with the Replacements, though I've added a couple of notes and references for (shame on you) the uninitiated.

"Way way back, we're talking mid 1980's here, I dabbled in the world of fanzines, released a couple of compilation albums, and basically, as I had no musical talent, got my kicks by association with a number of "leading" members of the alternative rock revolution.

Some of you guys may know that at one time Paul was a big fan of a band called the Jacobites, especially of Dave Kusworth, and in particular their album "Robespierre's Velvet Basement" and name checked them regularly in interviews etc. They were at this time signed to Glass Records, run then by good friend and guiding influence Dave "Elvis" Barker. Nikki Sudden and Dave Kusworth were and are to this day The Jacobites and I'd known Nikki since 1980 when he rang me as a local-to-him saddo fanzine editor in the heart of England.

Nikki's brother, the late Epic Soundtracks, and I reckoned ourselves to be the only fans of the Replacements in the whole of the United Kingdom, but Nikki, despite knowing Paul's fondness for his music, did not reciprocate, and just couldn't get the Mats. So as Epic and I trumpeted the magic of the Mats to anyone who'd listen, I made contact with those very generous folk at Twin/Tone who furnished me with all manner of Replacements goodies (including THAT TAPE)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shit_Hits_the_Fans

and other bits and pieces that Twin/Tone released. Inevitably I eventually confessed to the folk at Twin/Tone that I knew Nikki and Dave, and I was asked to act as some kind of unofficial representative in approaching them on behalf of Twin/Tone who were keen to release what eventually became "The Ragged School" by The Jacobites on Twin/Tone.

http://www.twintone.com/projects/8669.html

Now, and no disrespect to my good buddy to this day Mr. Nikki Sudden, (who sadly passed away in March 2006) the real thrill of this for me was the reciprocal step taken kind of on my recommendation for Glass Records to release the very first UK edition of a record by The Mats, namely "Boink" which came out in 1986, and included the then unreleased "Nowhere Is My Home" produced by that other hero of mine, L X Chilton (but that's another very long story).


Now where is this leading us other than to universal recognition of the importance of my role in the career of Paul Westerberg...?? (I jest, of course.....). Well, leading up to all this, I was in fairly regular contact (by post and phone) with Lori Bizer at Twin/Tone (later for a period Mrs Paul Westerberg) in the hope that I could get a solo track, "Pour Little Kim", (which I never got to hear) from Paul for one of my albums, though this was proving a little difficult as the band had just signed to Sire......and so it came to pass one night somewhere in Minneapolis that Paul Westerberg was getting merrily plastered, and decided to make a transatlantic phone call. I was living with my parents at the time, and 6.30 am one morning, I'm dead to the world when my mother wakes me up with the news that someone called Paul is on the phone....still half-dead I pick up the phone to hear this distant echo of a voice announcing himself as Paul Westerberg calling to say Hi and to find out more about that man Kusworth....

I've always been a little in awe of musical heroes when I've met or spoken to them and this was no exception. 16 or 17 years later, the details of the call are no longer recalled, but suffice to say, I dined on the tale a coupla times over the years. Anyway, "The Ragged School" did okay in the States, "Boink" very well over here, Dave Barker of Glass Records


no doubt getting the better side of the deal, and no doubt failing to pay money (lovable rogue that he is) owed to Twin/Tone before he eventually joined up with Alan McGee at Creation.

I'll happily write more Mats related stuff, but in conclusion just say that I will always love them, and whenever I listen to their stuff, I will always think of my great friend, much missed, Mr. Epic Soundtracks.


Play it for Epic.

Chris 17"

I never did write any more about 'em, still listen to and love 'em, and never travel far without a little Replacements.....


John Weller - 28th November 1931 - 22nd April 2009


Paul Weller and his father John Weller


The fourth release on Terri Hooley's Good Vibrations Records was the legendary Undertones "Teenage Kicks" EP, but the very first in 1978 was "Big Time" by Belfast's very own Rudi.

Lead by Brian Young they later released the I-Spy EP also on Good Vibrations and then two singles on Jamming! Records, the label set up by Tony Fletcher (biographer of Keith Moon and editor of Jamming! Fanzine http://www.ijamming.net/Moon/KeithMoon.html) and funded by Paul Weller.

Rudi never released an album and split up late in 1982, though not before supporting The Jam on several dates of their Transglobal Unity Express Tour in March and April of 1982.



I'd been in touch with Brian for a while and interviewed him (by phone) late in 1981 for issue four of my Stringent Measures fanzine, and continued to keep in touch, receiving an invite to meet up with them at Leicester's De Montfort Hall on 22nd March 1982.
Arriving at this fine venue, I picked up my ticket and backstage pass at the box office, and proceeded to seek out the band. Blithely wandering round behind the stage, I tried this particular door, and found myself in a room full of guitars – very soon after entering though, I was accosted by an irate middle aged gentleman asking me what the fuck (probably more “what the fack”) was I doing in there, that I should leave at once and, by the way, hand over my backstage pass. Which I did, and thus began and ended my one encounter with Mr John Weller, father of Paul Weller, who sadly died in April.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

U2 - Postprandial At The General Wolfe

It may have been September, it may have been October 1980 but it was definitely on the A429 between Warwick and Wellesbourne where I first heard U2's “I Will Follow”. To these immature ears this was a thrilling tune, an anthem they'd call it these days, that hurtled along at 90 miles an hour, with what was to become the Edge's trademark guitar sound setting the pace. It was a pivotal moment signposting the direction my musical tastes were to go in for a few years to come, flying in the face of the tastes of many a friend and acquaintance, as I became an oft ignored advocate for the group.

Between 1980 and 1992, I saw them 14 times in concert, hung around backstage for autographs on innumerable occasions, got to interview Bono for my fanzine Stringent Measures, met him on a couple more occasions, joined the official Island Records approved fan club (membership number U2133), and eventually, fell out of love with the band – no longer were they my band, they now belonged to everyone else. I've not bothered much with their last four or five albums, but I wouldn't shoot them down in flames. True, there's many other folk out there today making vastly more stimulating and challenging music than these four middle aged guys (who are the same age as me, to be fair), but back in the day, they really did matter to me.

Above & Below - U2 at the 77 Club in Nuneaton 6th June 1980
(previously unpublished)


I had initially planned “doing” U2 in several chapters, dragging out my encounters with the world's biggest band along the lines of “Chapter One – The First Time”, “Chapter Two - My Bono Interview” etcetera, but, the Lord save us from such bragadaccio, I've decided instead to tell all in one fell swoop.

Chapter One – The First Time (....cough, cough....)

I first saw U2 at the General Wolfe Public House in Coventry on Saturday 6th September 1980. This was before I'd heard and fallen for “I Will Follow”, and was a fairly spontaneous attendance. I guess I'd read about them in either the NME or Sounds, but went along with little in the way of expectation – my regular evening DJ John Peel never ever liked U2, refusing sessions from them on more than one occasion, indeed they didn't record their first Radio One (Richard Skinner) session until a year later, and the BBC rarely played songs that weren't in the charts (the internet of course was still in the future).

The General Wolfe is a dominating Victorian building just over a mile north of the city centre on the corner of the Foleshill Road and Station Street West, in an area now, and then, replete with Asian Restaurants, Sweet Shops and General Stores. It was not, in 1980, the most salubrious of hostelries, but its back room was a popular venue for developing bands, mostly of the local persuasion, who'd perform, as U2 did this night, to no more than 100 people.

I reviewed the show in my first ever fanzine OneOff;

“They came on about 10.45 – a 4 piece comprising: blonde bassist in specs (good looking): lead guitarist in paint stained jeans: drummer with earring: vocalist in leather with mass of hair. They play a very powerful set with few bad numbers. When they play fast and loud they're excellent – hard hitting drums, powerful multi style guitar breaks, solid bass and eccentric vocalist obviously enjoying himself. But the slower numbers dragged on a bit. Much of the vocals were inaudible but the lead singer's antics and enjoyment did a lot towards nullifying that complaint. They were on for an hour and did two encores. The national music press says they'll be the next big thing and for once they could be right”

Certainly prescient to a degree if somewhat short of being a rave review, but what I really remember now of that evening is that as I'd promised her parents I'd get my girlfriend home at a respectable hour, we had to leave as soon as U2 left the stage after their two encores. The layout of the back room meant you had to go out through a door to the side of the stage, which we duly did, following the band as they too used the same exit. There was no indoor back stage area for the band to hang around and wallow in the applause, just the small car park to the rear of the pub and so we had to pass them as we walked out onto Station Street. A cheery “Goodnight” from us as we went by, got a friendly “Thanks for coming guys” from the nameless and rather sweaty lead singer.

Whether or not such bonhomie had any impact, before the month was out, I'd seen them again at Coventry Polytechnic and within a couple of months, U2 were my new favourite band. By June 6th 1981, I was fan enough to travel south to Aylesbury, with my girlfriend and my sister Sue, to watch them at Aylesbury Friars, arriving early with radio cassette recorder in the hope of getting an interview with the band for the second issue of my fanzine, Stringent Measures. A three page transcription of the best of a 20 minute chat starts thus:

“Waiting patiently outside the back door to the Civic Centre, as Bono walked out into the loading bay, I seized my chance and pounced, shaking him by the hand and asking him if he'd mind answering a few questions. Clad in torn sweat shirt, pedal pushers and flip flops, apologising for smelling, he indicated he didn't, and we stepped outside to commence the interrogation.....”




An excerpt from the interview tape 6th June 1981



Support for the gig were (unusually) the Hungary vs. England make or break 1982 World Cup Qualifying game which was won 3 - 1 by England kick-starting their eventually successful campaign.



and the loveable Altered Images, and I reviewed the show (football included) alongside the interview in the magazine.

I'm not planning to go through every show of theirs I saw, though in October 81 at a much bootlegged show at Warwick University
http://www.guitars101.com/forums/f90/u2-warwick-university-1981-a-52058.html
I managed to get the whole band to sign a copy of Stringent Measures 2 (see above) and later post gig backstage hanging around got me my various scrapbooks (though I tend to publicly mock these “sad” archives, I secretly still treasure them all) signed by all or some of the band (Larry Mullen often choosing to be absent).

Serious hobnobbing though had to wait until June 1992, and specifically the ZooTV show at Birmingham's NEC. Around this time my friend Nikki Sudden was spending a lot of time with Radio One DJ Annie Nightingale, a relationship that gave him the opportunity to meet and befriend some fascinating folk, and to attend some interesting events – not least later in June as Nikki and Annie suited up (in the background) as U2 protested for Greenpeace at Sellafield


That's Nikki in the middle at the back, U2 members up front

I tagged along on occasion as the opportunity arose and so it was that, on the understanding she and Nikki could stay over at my house in Coventry, and that I'd provide the transport, Annie wondered whether my girlfriend and I like backstage passes to watch U2 at the NEC? Go on then.

Having persuaded her to record a pretty cool answerphone message for me, we set off for Birmingham, parking the car right outside the back of the hall at the NEC (no half mile walk from the car park tonight) and there we were, watching a show on a tour that is seen as genuinely ground-breaking, from the official photographer's pit. Meandering post gig through a maze of subterranean corridors beneath the stage lead us to the backstage area and the aftershow gathering, where Bono took pity on my girlfriend, cradling her broken hand whilst we reminisced (really, we did) about our previous meetings, which he admirably claimed to remember, not least that first encounter some 12 years earlier in Coventry, a gig he recalled particularly for an Indian meal he'd had before the show in a restaurant round the corner from the venue.

Hence, postprandial.

Coming Soon - Alex Chilton's Awkward And Alienating Genius

Thursday, 7 May 2009

John Peel, Kid Jensen, And Peter Powell Says Fuck

I spent many pre-satellite TV and pre-internet hours listening most evenings to BBC's Radio One. This was some while before it was regularly broadcast on FM, so 8.00 till 10.00 pm was the muddy medium wave of “275 and 285” and David 'Kid' Jensen's show. Admittedly come 10 pm, Radio One transferred to the John Peel show on the somewhat more glamorous stereo FM frequency, and truth be told it was here, in the late 70's and early 80's where I picked up on much of the music that holds me in it's clutches to this day. I was one of those who heard John Peel play the Undertones “Teenage Kicks” EP for the very first time, was genuinely captivated, and the second time he played it, had tape recorder at the ready to record it for repeated, and I mean repeated, listening, until getting hold of the actual record itself.


Radio One First XI including Jensen, Peel & Powell

So these inevitably were the two shows to which I sent the various Stringent Measures and What A Nice Way To Turn Seventeen fanzines I came up with. Whilst John Peel was generous enough to mention them on several occasions, the more enthusiastic response came from Kid Jensen, who from the first issue of Stringent Measures on would regularly read out the address for folks to send off for copies, as they did, in their tens....so I got to thinking I'd write in and ask him if I could come down to the BBC studios in London and sit in on a show. To my complete surprise, a few days later he called in person (Mum - “Chris, someone called David Jensen on the 'phone for you” was the shout. only bettered some years later by “Chris, someone 'phoning from America – Paul Westberg or something?” (yup, an early morning call from an inebriated Minneapolis based Paul Westerberg of The Replacements......yeah yeah yeah, some other time) and all of a sudden I'd got myself an invite to visit Broadcasting House on Tuesday 6th September 1983.

I drove down to London, arriving at Egton House around 7 pm, strolled hesitantly into Broadcasting House, approached reception, introduced myself, announced the purpose of my visit, and some 10 minutes later was greeted by “the Kid” himself. The relevant passes were produced and I followed him through the rabbit warren that is the BBC up to the studio itself. Peter Powell was coming towards the end of his show in the next studio, I'm full of nervous chatter and looking forward to watching how the BBC broadcast to the Nation. Shortly before the handover at 8.00 o'clock, having spoken to his producer, Jensen poses the question “Chris, would you be up for doing an interview on how you go about producing a fanzine?” This genuinely wasn't what I'd expected – yes, I'd hoped he might acknowledge on air that I was there so all the folks I'd told would hear proof of my presence, and I had taken an album with me from which I'd hoped he might play a track, but a live interview, no way Jose. But, when the British Broadcasting Corporation comes calling, you do your duty, so I agreed and thanked the Lord I'd asked family back home to record the show, just in case.......


Front Page of Production Details booklet for 6th Sept 1983 Show

So, as the show starts, if I wasn't a little anxious before, I am now. Kicking off with the ShangLas “I Can Never Go Home Anymore”


one of three tracks during the show from them, then a touch of A Flock Of Seagulls. Session-wise I guess I got a little unlucky – the night before it had been a classic Smiths quartet:

Accept Yourself (Kid Jensen 5/9/83) [Hatful of Hollow]
I Don't Owe You Anything (Kid Jensen 5/9/83) [Sign Here boot]
Pretty Girls Make Graves (Kid Jensen 5/9/83) [The Smiths at the BBC]
Reel Around the Fountain (Kid Jensen 5/9/83) [The Smiths at the BBC]

This night though, it was The Farmers Boys and The Farenji Warriors in session, neither especially memorable. And so it was that I was told we'd chat just after the 8.30 news, and as we got nearer that time, so nerves increased and my tongue stuck ever faster to the roof of my mouth. No doubt sensing my anxiety (ever the professional broadcaster) the Kid delayed the moment and I calmed down a little, until as a Farenji Warriors session track fades out and we're off.

After about 7 minutes of me expounding on the art of editing a fanzine, it's time to play the track I'd requested (which had been tested for suitability by the producer) and with my spontaneous dedication “Play it for Epic”, it's “You Get What You Deserve” by the mighty Big Star – remember, this was a long long time before the likes of Primal Scream, Teenage Fanclub, REM et al claimed Big Star as their own and the song and band meant nothing to either DJ or his producer. In the same way he later introduced them to the likes of Bobby Gillespie I'd got good old Epic Soundtracks to thank for a full introduction to the genius of Alex Chilton and Chris Bell – as the song finishes another 4.5 minutes of chat, thank-you's and goodbyes said on air, and it's “Good Technology” by the Red Guitars. I play along with the tradition of guests departing on air by going nowhere and sit there through the rest of the show. Andy Peebles (most famous as the last broadcaster to interview John Lennon) wanders into the studio to say hello to David Jensen, and as we near 10.00 pm, in comes the mighty John Peel himself to read out the football scores.

6 September 1983
Liverpool 1-1 Southampton
Coventry City 2-1 Notts County
Ipswich Town 3-0 Everton
Luton Town 2-2 Norwich City
West Ham United 3-1 Leicester City
Birmingham City 1-0 Stoke City
Arsenal 2-3 Manchester United
Queens Park Rangers 1-1 Watford


Plonks himself down next to me, says hello as I'm introduced to him, acknowledges he's familiar with Stringent Measures and the (more recent) first issue of What A Nice Way To Turn Seventeen, and much as I'd love to report of how I joshed with him about the respective results for my team Coventry City and for his beloved Liverpool, I didn't, as that's about all she wrote: having read out the scores he wanders off into the next studio to prepare for that evenings show.
Dropped from the playlist as a result of my inclusion were “This Is The Day” by The The, “Warriors” by Gary Numan, “High Noon” by Two Sisters (?), “Bruises” by Gene Loves Jezebel and “Chance” by Big Country – so nobody got short changed there......the show finishes with “Robot Man” by The Gymslips



and I'm out of there, beginning a two hour drive back up the M1, listening, of course, to John Peel.


Listening back to a tape of the show, whilst nothing too embarrassing pases my lips, I hear a very nervous and just a little too precious soul, though truth be told, it's a pretty reasonable introduction to producing a fanzine, not that I'm suggesting it's that technical a procedure. Ultimately I guess it was good practice for sitting one Saturday afternoon a couple of years later in a self operated studio at BBC Pebble Mill in Birmingham for a live interview with a London based Andy Kershaw (......the tales just keep on coming).

Oh, did I mention hearing drive-time DJ and ex-Mr Anthea Turner, Peter Powell say (admittedly off air) “Fuck”? Hard to explain how shocked I was at the time - shocked enough to remember to this day and to recall, fast forwarding a few years to the U2 Zoo tour, backstage at the NEC with the rich and famous, and there's our foul mouthed friend again, effing and jeffing to Paul McGuinness while I chat with.........(and on and on and on he goes). Talking of which.....


Coming Soon –U2 - Postprandial At The General Wolfe

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Late Night Shopping For Pets With Sonic Youth

Seeing the nigh on ageless Sonic Youth on Jools Holland this week – great new song “Antenna” and the classic “Teenage Riot” (with Steve Shelley excelling on drums) – it takes me back to a couple of encounters with them in the mid to late 80's.

Epic Soundtracks - Photo by Valery Lorenzo

I was good friends with Epic Soundtracks who was in turn pretty close to the band – viz their 1988 John Peel session of Fall songs which Epic guided them through, being the only one who properly knew all the songs through – going as far as to sing (mixed very low) vocals on one track – (This session was released as the 4Tunna Brix bootleg EP) and Lee Ranaldo, Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore all played on Epic's 1992 Rough Trade album “Rise Above” (...as did Dinosaur Jr's J Mascis....). And so it was that Epic acted as conduit for my “adventures” with the influential New York Alt-Art-Rockers.



Two evenings stand out, the second of these in September 1990, when Epic's band These Immortal Souls (with Rowland S Howard, brother Harry Howard and Genevieve McGuckin) http://theseimmortalsouls.anteeksi.net/
http://theseimmortalsouls.anteeksi.net/
were supporting Sonic Youth at the Hummingbird in Birmingham and with a guest list invite coming my way, I hung around backstage. Although I'd met SY before, I was hardly inner circle material, so chose largely to keep out of the way – though I did boldly venture in to the crappy graffitti ridden dressing room to partake of a paltry rider – and eventually enjoyed Sonic Youth's performance from behind the stage. Once again, it was Steve Shelley on drums who stood out – Epic, himself an exceptional drummer (check out his performance on the Jacobites “Shame For The Angels” as an example) rated Steve very highly and it was he that Epic was closest to in the band, as members of the drummers union I guess. I've always liked the rocky Sonic Youth rather more so than the experimental side and it was a rare privilege to witness close up as Steve knocked out a pulsating rhythm on the likes of Silver Rocket, Kool Thing and Teenage Riot.

It had been 1986, 13th May to be precise (confess I had to look up the date), a Tuesday night, when things had got a little weird. I wasn't feeling at my best as I had the most excruciating toothache and but for having promised a lift to Epic, would probably have ducked out of traipsing east to check out Sonic Youth. But, a promise is a promise, and so it was that, dosed up on paracetamol (me, that is) we took the short drive from Coventry to Leicester to check out the Youth at a place called The Fan Club. This would be the first time I actually met the band, and, a creature of habit where such meetings were concerned, was a little anxious at the prospect of talking to the four hip New Yorkers. Inevitably of course all of them turned out to be perfectly charming. You've only got to look at Kim now, some 23 years later and still the archetypal rock chick, to imagine how cool she was back then. Lee was pretty quiet, Thurston charismatic and Steve, the new boy to the band, extremely approachable.

Although I've a vague recollection but cannot be sure, that the support was Pavement, eventually it came round to Sonic Youth taking the stage. Unfortunately, painkillers have a tendency to wear off and so it was that I proceeded to endure the extremely loud and shrill intensity of the likes of Expressway To Yr Skull (how apt......) through a fog of sheer pain –eventually a second dose of tablets kicked in, senses numbed a little, and I was ready to wander the streets of Leicester with a hyped up post show band reluctant just yet to return to their digs.

With a vague knowledge of the centre of Leicester (from day release studying at the Polytechnic), I acted as some kind of tour guide. Now the East Midlands is not the Lower East Side of New York, and this dissimilarity became clear as the band tells us how in New York you could go into an all night pet shop to buy a snake in the early hours of the morning, and, not that a serpent was on their shopping list, but did they not have such facilities in England? Needless to say, bar a late night off licence or two, everything was closed and our search would be in vain. The band masked their disappointment well.
There's no doubt that wandering the streets of Leicester with (probably) the coolest alternative rock band in the world put all thoughts of toothache to the back of my mind, and having walked them back to their hotel, I drove Epic back to Coventry on a mixture of natural and painkiller induced high.


Coming Soon: John Peel, Kid Jensen, And Peter Powell Says Fuck

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Nikki Sudden: The Sex Pistols “Spunk” Cassette

You have to realise that I was a na├»ve and somewhat immature 20 year old, and this was my first actual contact with a professional musician, a (forgive me Nikki) “minor” star in independent music circles, and what was more, he'd sought me out.
(Picture, left, shows Nikki & bother Epic on Swell Maps last tour, in Milan on 31st March 1980)
Somewhat in awe at first, as I was for some time to come, I spent the first of many evenings over many years in his engaging and charmingly egocentric company. My specific memories of that first meeting include mild astonishment at the number of books and records crammed into his room, in particular his mighty collection of T Rex records, tapes and of the books of both Captain W E Johns (Biggles et al)


and of Franks Richards (Greyfriars/Billy Bunter).

But what stands out most was learning that I was in the company of someone who'd actually seen the Sex Pistols at the 100 Club and The Screen On The Green back in 1977.


Sitting here nearly 30 years after that first meeting, it's hard to relate how important the music of the Sex Pistols and specifically the Never Mind The Bollocks album was to a 20 year old self confessed part time punk. It had been the very first LP I'd bought when I'd gone in to gainful employment, and I make no pretence of the childish satisfaction received from taking over my father's Bang & Olufsen music centre and playing “Bodies”, for the sheer thrill of hearing the “language”. Many better tracks of course on that timeless album – go on, listen to it again if you've not heard it for a while; a classic rock album, born out of and taking inspiration from the punk rock movement, but a timeless rock album through and through – but hey, I was busy “rebelling” against my parents (albeit in a relatively inoffensive fashion....).

Not only had Nikki been part of the scene at the gestation of punk rock, he actually had a copy of the Pistols infamous “Spunk” album, the bootleg of Dave Goodman produced pre ...Bollocks demos featuring Glen Matlock on bass, and what was more, he was happy to do me a cassette of it. Remember I'm living in sleepy mid Warwickshire, such items were unobtainable outside London, and this was verily the Holy Grail of Punk. And so in the early hours of the morning, I leave Harbury in my Austin 1100,
tape player blaring out what were, truth be told, poorer versions of the NMTB album, not that anything could then diminish my delight at hearing this historic bootleg.

Though Nikki would later introduce me to all manner of (possibly, probably, no definitely) more crucial music, this very first “gift” could not have been more thrilling. Moreover, there was the prospect of further advancing my musical education with a promise to compile a tape of the best of T Rex and, the first of many, a various artist compilation tape both of which he'd drop round on his first visit to my home a few days later. The “Spunk” cassette has long gone – eventually got a copy on vinyl myself – but I still have the other two near on 30 year old cassettes, the first of which introduced me to lesser known T Rex gems such as “Venus Loon”, and the second, to the likes of The Desperate Bicycles


of Big In Japan, of Can and, for the very first time, “Bangkok” by Alex Chilton
– whose band Big Star would eventually nigh on dominate my world. But that will be a tale for another time.

It wouldn't be long before there would be a Swell Maps compilation, and all manner of other delights, along with the inspiration to take my fanzine, eventually, to a slightly more ambitious and certainly a higher level.

Coming Soon - Late Night Shopping For Pets With Sonic Youth