Razur Cuts ‘Zine With Derek Steel

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It’s a ZINE! That’s right, it’s that old skool tangible article of articles and poetry, art, and expression with that old DIY feel. Just perfect in these pandemic times, something to grab on to, and swap with others, you know, put in their hands. And now there’s a YouTube channel to help us get through these trying times because unfortunately printing presses are shut down for a time.

I’ve been having a blast with the Twitter account and reading through a hard copy Zine again, an actual papery thing, with several old skool/new skool publications. Remember paper. It’s really important to have that tangible, portable thing when the mass media digital world just gets to be too much. Razur Cuts is the brainchild or obsession of Derek Steel, who tirelessly finds original work and chases down interviews. Derek hails from Falkirk in Scotland. He’s kindly agreed to talk to us about his adventures in supporting music and poetry in the pages of this fun music and arts magazine.

Interview

Derek Steel               WRITER/ARTIST/DIY FIEND

What possessed you to “I gotta make this Zine about_______!” come about? 

I had the idea to begin a magazine after a writer friend read his short stories at a gig in London. This was an event by a magazine called PUSH. After that event, I was confident the idea would work in our own town of Falkirk, but also hoping it would reach out to other places as well. In my humble opinion, Razur Cuts was a breath of fresh air and it has certainly gained interest and a good following of people. Twitter was the ideal tool for that aforementioned reaching out platform. It’s worked so well!

How do we get a copy of Razur Cuts and what’s the Facebook address?

https://www.facebook.com/razur.cuts

We are available to purchase thru PayPal to email: deeko1963@googlemail.com

** I sort out postage depending on where the purchaser lives.

You have a great digital presence and a great following, what made you want to do an old skool ‘Zine?

The old Zine was because of the days of Punk Rock, when all fanzines were in paper hard copy form – there was no internet in the old days. Razur Cuts on hard copy was the only way I’d have issued it. You can feel it, smell it, put it down, pick it up and pass it on. Like a vinyl record, it feels much more personal and it’s what I grew up with. 

What are some future projects you may be developing?

Future Projects; This sounds terribly hypocritical, LOL, but because of Covid-19, we have set up a YouTube Channel and are doing gigs by collating material from artists either in the writing or musical game. We’ll probably continue this as it’s been well received by the viewers. It’s like a visual version of the magazine as the printers are obviously now in lockdown. I have close friends involved in RC also and we’ve put on some live gigs and we hope to keep this going. Lately, I’ve been involved with a band called Vulture Party and being part of the release of their first album. Especially on the vinyl side of things. The album is self-titled and is selling very well. So, now, RC is a corporate marketing tool HaHaHa– if that’s the correct terminology!

What has been your greatest challenge in keeping your ‘Zine full of great content?

Our greatest challenge would be continually searching for new writers/ bands/ artists of any persuasion to submit for an issue – this is an ongoing process which is the most challenging. The ethos of RC is to give everyone a chance to shine, so we need to be on top of our game – everyone knows the ethos of RC and we try to have no repetition of an artist in back to back issues.

Have you met any of your music heroes as a result of your publishing? 

Yes, I’ve met JJ Burnel of The Stranglers, John Robb of The Membranes who runs  the mother of all magazines – Louder Than War. It’s always a pleasure to interview these people as you then realise, they’re as grounded as anyone else you know. They love to chat and exchange the odd email about any subject. I’ve met and interviewed John Duncan, Martin Metcalfe, Paul Research and a few others. Paul’s interview was  a very special one, as it was exactly 40 years to the week I saw him play with Scars. It was completely accidental and a great story to tell. To this day, I’ve never been  knocked back by any artist about an interview. They make time for you, it’s greatly appreciated. 

Any great followers you were astounded checked you out? Bought your Zine?

Not really, everyone who likes the magazine are people I’ve previously approached. There’s a knack to that process also. Patience, sincerity and not being too pushy and trying to kid on you’re their best friend. Having good manners is another.  Please and thank you could be used more often by some people, I think!

What was the hardest article to get data for and why was it so important?

The hardest data is always delving into the past of an artist or band, if that makes sense? When you do an interview, the questions have to be perfect or you look silly. So, we tend to approach artists we know and love because you’re halfway there already. We decided to keep the questions down to 8-10 so that we don’t bog the artist down and we were slightly concerned that an interview wouldn’t happen if we asked too many questions. With an online interview, it becomes a waiting game and you need to be patient as these people are very busy. A polite email to ‘nudge’ them is quite acceptable, if worded properly! When the answers arrive, it’s a fantastic feeling!I hope I haven’t digressed on this question, Janet…oops!

Anything you can tell us about your daily routine to stay sane in our current global lockdown? How have your music habits been affected?

In the current climate, I understand how it’s very difficult for many people, it certainly isn’t easy and we must help those who are struggling as best we can. Personally, I’m finding it pretty simple, as I exercise every day for around 40 minutes. This alleviates the pent-up stress we can endure during the lockdown. Luckily, I have a garden to do this and relax in – weather permitting. So, I get up, have breakfast, check the post, make a few phone calls, check the emails, then play some tunes. I then plan the exercise circuit and think about the evening’s meal! I can easily skip lunch, I haven’t the appetite I used to have, so the evening dinner is enjoyed more!  My musical habits have obviously been affected as there’s no live music at the moment and emails are continually telling me of more postponements. It’s disheartening, but we need to get on with things and be positive about the future.  We will beat Covid-19 and hopefully appreciate things more when we do. I’m still supporting artists by purchasing their material online as I always have. There’ve been great live performances from artists homes to view via Twitter/FB – so enjoyable.  Radio 6 (BBC) Music is always on in the background if I don’t have vinyl on and this is my favourite station for picking up new music on.

What blogs or Zines are you obsessed with right now?

John Robb’s blogs on all things music are always brilliant as well as a few others like writers Ian Cusack who writes football/music/cricket, and Joe England’s mag articles. Favourite mag is Paper and Ink by Martin Appleby. There’s plenty out there – keep searching! Oh, and I buy MOJO magazine every month too.

Where can people discover your media or publication?

People can discover Razur Cuts by following us on Twitter @razurcutsmag and Facebook. I do post-outs to anyone who’d like a mag. We’re working towards issue IX as we chat and hopefully it’ll be released in December. We are in Monorail and Love Music, Glasgow as well as local outlets which we advertise as each issue is released – coffee shops and pubs.

Writer/Artist/DIY Fiend as Consumer Questions:

The first record bought?

First record bought was The Glitter Band ‘Goodbye My Love’.

How did you listen to new music when you were young?

I listened to new music by tuning into John Peel each weeknight from 10pm to midnight on BBC Radio 1. He championed punk rock and any new and creative sound that he’d depict as a tune. It’s how I became a lover of music and the genre of Punk to Post Punk. Our local Town Hall in Grangemouth also had bands playing from 1978. These gigs were promoted by Brian Guthrie, elder brother of Robin (Cocteau Twins). As a 15 to16 year old, you can imagine how amazing it was to have bands like Ultravox! Simple Minds, UK Subs, The Rezillos all playing your own little town. Quite a privilege, looking back. 

First gig you went to? Who were you with and what did you wear? 

My first gig was the aforementioned Rezillos supported by Scars at the same Town Hall.  I wore tight jeans (skinnies), baseball boots, plain white tee shirt and a Harrington jacket, this was a bomber style fabric jacket with front zip and tartan lining. I’m so pleased to tell you they’ve now made a triumphant ‘Retro Return’ and I own two!

Favorite bands or artists in your youth?

Stiff Little Fingers, The Stranglers, The Clash, Kate Bush, Scars, The Zones, Ultravox! The Psychedelic Furs and many more. It was an explosion of young people getting up and doing DIY music for themselves and being creative. This scene stuck their fingers up to the establishment and detested the old sixties hippy movement. It was time for change – and it happened. It made me the person I am today. A game changer. The true creativeness was in the lyrical content of the songs as well as the clothes and hairstyles. DIY fanzines exploded onto the scene telling everyone of the new singles and albums newly released. Tony Drayton’s ‘Ripped and Torn’ was fantastic, a home-made fanzine stapled together after being photocopied – an incredible DIY process which is so fondly remembered.

What are your favorite new artists?

I love many new bands and support them as often as I can…Evi Vine, Gnoomes, The Everlasting Yeah, Filthy Tongues, Emily Capell, Sleaford Mods, Vulture Party and The Media Whores.

What books did you read in your formative years, and what are you reading these days?

At the moment I’m reading ‘Ireland The Propaganda War’ by Liz Curtis, then moving onto David Ross’s ‘Last days of Disco’.

My formative years consisted of John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’ and ‘The Winter of our Discontent’ plus ‘Ivanhoe’ by Walter Scott. Oddly enough, when I was young, I used to randomly pick up the dictionary – select words and try to remember their meanings.

I’ve revisited Robert Burns over the last twenty years and ingested the vernacular used in everything he wrote as best I can, as it was written in the 1800’s. A genius.

I’ve also read all of Irvine Welsh’s novels, my favourite being ‘Maribou Stork Nightmares’.

What Twitter or other social media accounts are you hooked on lately?

All of my favourite bands and some humorous ones. ‘Limmy’ and ‘He’s a C***’ are excellent. Writers and poets are especially good on twitter with their turn of phrase. Stephen Watt, Jim Higo, David Ross are all prominent and have become friends of RC.

Favorite music venues?

I’ve always been in love with smaller venues and always will be. There’s an intimacy you cannot buy in those little pokey holes we see our bands in. You’re up close and personal – nothing beats that as a music fan. I love Broadcast, Nice n Sleazy in Glasgow. The Mash House, Leith Depot and the amazing old church Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh. My all-time favourite venue is Glasgow Apollo. The stage was 8” high and had the most amazing atmosphere. The crowd would be from all over Scotland and the bands always got a thunderous reception. There was a stalls area, circle and upper circle – it held around two thousand people and the whole place would virtually bounce as a band delivered their set. Everyone loved that theatre. I wish it was still here today. Again – great memories.

Music venues you are dying to go to?

I’m actually planning on visiting venues around the world, but mainly Europe as I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to retire early, which was last year. I have no  preference as to which one because they will all hold a special memory for me as I fondly look back. Once we have a vaccine for Covid-19, I can begin to pick gigs and book hotels and tickets. I was at the Hollywood Bowl last year whilst on holiday with my wife to see Cindy Lauper. That venue was superb and certainly a box-ticker! We had a great music chat to an American couple in the bar area before we entered the arena and we found we had very similar musical tastes. Lovely people who made us feel so welcome.

What would be your fantasy gig if space and time continuum allowed? 

Great question! My fantasy gig would be all the bands I’ve mentioned starting with the newer ones building up to the headline act who would be Kate Bush. She’d play everything I love in her catalogue and then personally invite me to interview her…now that IS fantasy land!  LOL

If money were no object, who would you go see and where? (If you were the booking agent)

I’ve been so lucky to see so many bands and solo artists and I’m not that big on large scale venues, such as enormo-domes or massive festivals. I’d most probably enjoy seeing a new band in a small place in Berlin, Los Angeles or somewhere where there’s a great underground scene going on. The intimacy, in those places, is for me,  what it’s all about. You’re up close and personal – the feeling you get from that is absolutely wonderful. Unbeatable.

Links: 

YouTube Channel 

Razur Cuts Magazine 

Interested in sharing your creation in poetry or articles with others, contact Derek

Participate!

To submit to the You Tube Channel is :
Mag submission:
Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/razurcutsmag/

Unknown Pleasures, Tim’s Twitter Listening Party and Hooky

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What could be better! Tonight, or today, May 22, 2020 at 10pm GMT+1, PST 2PM Tim is inviting us all to spin our copy of the classic Joy Division Unknown Pleasures. Peter Hook will be on the feed.

What to do, it’s easy. Get on #TimsTwitterListeningParty on Twitter, start your turntable or digital album of Unknown Pleasures. Ask questions. Oh, find the album first if you have it, click on links below if you don’t.

What, haven’t you participated before? Who is Tim Burgess? You haven’t forgotten that band The Charlatans have you? He’s singer, songwriter, musician, record label man, and currently just released a new record, I Love the new Sky.

Links:

Tim’s Listening Party links at Tim’s Together Apart site https://timstwitterlisteningparty.com/

Got Apple Music https://music.apple.com/us/album/unknown-pleasures-remastered/544363171

Unknown Pleasures Spotify

So This is Permanent: Ian Curtis 40 Years On Celebration

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Photo copyright: Kevin Cummins

Monday, May 18th will mark 40 years since the passing of Ian Curtis, lead singer for Joy Division, one of the most influential post-punk alternative bands. Ian’s passing at the young age of 23 has created a cult following over 40 years in the making. This week the remaining members of Joy Division are marking the occasion with talks and streaming concerts. In the time of pandemic shut-in, many music and indie film outlets have been helping us all to survive in these trying times. Some are making the performance free with encouragement to donate to epilepsy charities.

Peter Hook

Bassist for Joy Division if promoting his concert is featuring his film So This Is Permanent, help at Christ Church in Macclesfield, UK, Ian’s hometown. It sold out in 20 seconds. Peter is asking that you donate to The Epilepsy Society at https://www.epilepsysociety.org.uk/

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Article Peter Hook is streaming a marathon Joy Division tribute gig next week

So This Is Permanent – Peter Hook & The Light 24 Hour Live Stream

Concert movie premiere from Monday 18th May 2020 – 12 Noon BST

Since the postponement of The Light’s May 2020 “Joy Division 40: A Celebration” gigs which were due to take place this week, Peter Hook & The Light & Surdevan Creative have been assembling the footage from the May 2015 Christ Church Macclesfield event for broadcast.

The three-hour plus video of the event will be available across Joy Division’s YouTube channel and Joy Division’s/The Light’s Facebook’s from noon this Monday until noon Tuesday.

The stream is entirely free but if you are able, donations are encouraged to Epilepsy Society here >> bit.ly/SoThisIsPermanentESDONATE

Join the Facebook event here >> bit.ly/SoThisIsPermanentFBEvent

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Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris Online Event Moving Through The Silence: Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Ian Curtis.

Dave Haslam hosts this live event with the two 8PM and 10PM UK time on United We Stream and making the Mental Health Awareness Week. They are raising funding for Manchester Mind.
Check Out the information here:

 

 

 

Vinyl Revival Interview With Author Graham Jones

vinyl revivalTo start off my series of social media sites and blogs that I follow and highly recommend, I asked a few contacts on Twitter to tell me about their adventures in music and record store worship over the years. I felt that during this time of lockin music blaring and worship we could all use even more entertainment to help us get through. Please check out their films, blogs, and all other goodies listed.

My first kind victim is Graham Jones, author of The Vinyl Revival And The Shops That Made it Happen, a documentary based on the book The Vinyl Revival. He’s created two other fun books, The Last Shop Standing and Strange Requests and Comic Tales from Record Shops. He has a great presence on Twitter, where he shares some of his tales, and a podcast. Actually, he’s got a lot going on.

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So how did the “I gotta blog/write book about record shops!” come about? 

Back in 2009, I had been working as a record company sales rep for 25 years and so many of the shops I was visiting were closing. Not only were they losing their business but some of their homes. It was a very depressing time for record shops. In the UK 540 had closed in just 4 years. Nobody seemed to be noticing the record shops vanishing from our High Street, so I decided to do something about it and write a book. My Auntie who was in her 80’s told me when she was a child the High Street had coin shops, stamp shops, and candlestick makers yet nobody talks about them anymore. I wanted to document the stories of record shops before they all closed. I toured the UK and interviewed 50 record shops who I thought would be amongst the ‘Last Shops Standing’.

How did you first get the push that writing and blogging just weren’t enough, it had to be a documentary? 

Much to my surprise, the book did well, it seemed to strike a chord with music fans. It also brought an amazingly lot of publicity for record shops. Many had features in their local paper, many did radio and TV interviews thanks to the book. I was approached by a film company to turn the book in to a film which again I knew would bring lots of publicity for the shops. The film company struggled to get the film financed so we ended up going down the crowdfunding route. The money was raised by music fans. We were grateful to the artist Richard Hawley who organized a fundraising evening for the film. Along with a soundman, a cameraman, the producer Pip Piper and myself piled into a car and drove around the UK interviewing musicians in their favourite record shops. The film became the Official Film of Record Store Day 2012 and was screened in over 90 venues across the world on the day.Strange Requests and Comic Tales From Record Shops

What are some future projects you may be developing?

My third book ‘The Vinyl Revival and the Shops That Made it Happen’ was also turned in to a film. It features Nick Mason of Pink Floyd and Phil Selway of Radiohead and updates the situation. It had a cinema release at the end of 2019 and came out on DVD last month. Bad timing as all the shops were shut. It is also available on Vimeo.

I have just started a Podcast telling funny stories from the crazy world of record retailing. You can listen on Spotify https://open.spotify.com/show/5k0WMLkk9sjtxs5N8hR54l

What has been your greatest challenge in keeping your books/blog/FB/Zine/Twitter full of great content?

It is not difficult; the world of record shops is ever-changing. Being known as the man who has visited more record shops than any other human plus the three books and two films have made me a magnet for record shop tales. Most days I will get an email from a record shop somewhere on the globe with a funny tale of what has happened in their shop.

Along with meeting some great record shop owners and, have you met any of your music heroes as a result of your publishing? 

Interviewing Paul Weller, Norman Cook, Richard Hawley and most of all Johnnie Marr was a thrill. Johnnie Marr spent ages with us and was full of very funny anecdotes. It is always lovely when somebody you admired turns out to be even nicer than you could have hoped. I also spent an enjoyable weekend in the company of Andy McClusky of the band OMD in Oslo. We were both talking at a music festival and we were both from the same area of the UK. Andy was a big record shop fan, so we had a lot in common.

Any great followers you were astounded checked you out? Bought your Book? Wanted to be in your Doco? 

We were coming to the end of filming “Last Shop Standing” when we received a message that Paul Weller had asked if he could contribute. We were thrilled to have him. Record shops always tell me when a famous musician has bought the book and various people in the music industry mention it too. I have had messages that the likes of Elton John, Roger Taylor of Queen, Colin Blunstone of the Zombies had copies. Biggest thrill was meeting Johnnie Marr and his first words were ‘Loved the book’. I could have retired then.

Anything you can tell us about your daily routine to stay sane in our current global lockdown? How have your music habits been affected?

I am furloughed from my job as it involves traveling around the country selling to record shops. As they are all closed, I have no work. It had given me the chance to listen to lots of records I have not heard in ages. I also started the podcast and have been writing a few things on my record shop blog.

https://grahamjonesvinylrevival.blogspot.com/

What blogs/Zines/Books/Documentaries are you obsessed with right now?

I have been reading a lot of late. Just finished biographies of Robert Johnson, The Go – Between and my favourite was Viv Albertine of The Slits.

Where can people discover your media or publications?

I hate to say it but unless you are in the UK were my books and DVDs are available in record and book shops, Amazon is your best bet. All the books are available on Kindle.

 https://www.facebook.com/vinylrevival1

https://www.thevinylrevivalfilm.com/

Check out on Twitter @revival_vinyl

Message for the world at large right now?

Keep calm and carry on listening to records. Music is here to make the bad times better and the good times even better.

The Writer as a Consumer

The first record bought?

‘Ball Park Incident’, a single by the band Wizzard. First LP Sparks – Kymono  in my House

How did you listen to new music when you were young?

My early memories of my Dad who was a big Beatles fan and used to play them on his record player. Before I bought my own I utilised his. On the radio I listened to DJ’S John Peel and Johnnie Walker who introduced me to new bands. I still get excited today when I hear something new that is brilliant

First gig you went to. Who were you with and what did you wear?

I went with some schoolmates to see the now-disgraced Gary Glitter at Liverpool Empire. These were pre-punk days so I am sure I would have been wearing jeans

Favorite bands or artists in your youth?

Mott the Hoople – though I do remember going in to a record shop with my Mum and her saying ‘He wants a Dr Hoople poster”.

After that, Queen – first time I watched them it cost me 75p

The Beatles

David Bowie

Then punk came along

Buzzcocks

Joy Division – first watched them supporting The Buzzcocks. So many bands I enjoyed during then.

The Stranglers

The Clash

The Smiths

Julian Cope

The Waterboys

The Saw Doctors

Of Monsters and Men

First Aid Kit

What is your favorite new artist/s?

Jade Bird – Best female singer-songwriter I have ever seen. Dynamic live and superb lyrics. The first album came in the charts at number 10. I would expect her to make a big breakthrough with the next.

What Twitter or other social media accounts are you hooked on lately?

#loverecordshops – promoting record shops and helping organise 20 June as a day full of exclusive vinyl releases.

Favorite music venues?

Barrowlands Glasgow were I watched the Saw Doctors and Waterboys play together on New Year’s Eve. The last number featured a pipe band and as I left the venue fireworks lit up the sky – magical.

Eric’s in Liverpool where I watched so many punk bands.

The Vinyl Revival Film

The Vinyl Revival from Blue Hippo Media on Vimeo.

Watch on Vimeo

DVD Out of Print Documentary The Last Shop Standing

Books:The Vinyl Revival And The Shops That Made it Happen, The Last Shop Standing, Strange Requests and Comic Tales from Record Shops

Vinyl Revival Podcast on Soundcloud

Vinal Revival on Facebook

Joy Division’s Closer 40th Anniversary Edition Clear Vinyl Out July 2020

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Joy Division’s second and final recording turns 40 this year. Pre-release sales are now on at the New Order Store and include the re-issues of singles Atmosphere, Transmission, and Love Will Tear Us Apart.

Closer was recorded in March 1980 at Britannia Row Studios in Islington, London. It would be finished prior to Ian Curtis’ passing on 18 May 1980. Produced by Martin Hannett. It was released in July 1980 as FACT 100, and reached number 6 in the UK charts.

Pre-Order New Order Store

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39 Years of Faith in The Cure and RSD2020

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I remember the first time I heard the music of the new Cure record, Faith, on the college radio station. It was another night of me staying up late to catch the beginning of a student-run set and getting new TDK 90 and longer cassette tapes ready. It was damned difficult for a 16-year-old to find the great imports coming out of the UK. And if you did, it wasn’t the one you had been looking for. Or because it was so costly, as, in a Japanese Kimono sleeve, you wanted to make damn sure you liked as much on the album as possible before you lay down that kind of cash. So most of my early favs were of course taken off the radio. Lucky for me, some of the kids spinning would play the whole record and tell you the tracks off each side so you could edit. It was a way to survive until you could get a clean factory copy. When I heard “Primary” for the first time, it was all I could do to not start dancing on the bed. Frowned upon at 1 am in the morning. Still, it would take a few years before I got a good copy of Faith on CD.

So it was when Faith was released by The Cure on 14 April 1981. Many of us “alternative” kids had another step into the new genre of Gothic music that was evolving out of Post-Punk.  It was a great follow up to their 1980 release 17 Seconds and tour. It was filled with more moody chords and lyrics in the same vein, but as discordant as the mood of the band. The recording took place at Morgan Studios in September of 1980, without Matthieu Hartley, who left under that creative differences mist.  The recording started at the studios, but the remaining members of The Cure, Smith, Gallup, and Tolhurst, with Former Member Porl Thompson back for cover design, would try several studios after not getting the sound right, including Abbey Road. It was a turbulent time of transition for the band. Did you know that there was a soundtrack to a short film involved? “Carnage Visors” only made it to an extended cassette version and would finally turn up on a 2005 reissue with the single only “Charlotte Sometimes”.

So this record in its 39th year this week will probably get a 40th-anniversary reboot. But I’m happy to have the original track lineup on 180 vinyl. If you’re feeling a little dystopic in these trying times try a little Faith for some classic The Cure dirge. It will make you melt and dance at the same time. Perfect for your home COVID dance club.

Will COVID-19 kill the Independent Record Shops?

Not if we can help it. Americans get their stimulus checks rolled out this week. We know it’s hard, as many are laughing at how little it will cover to pay rent and bills. But if you can spare a few dollars, try to find a local record shop that is doing curbside. Here in Portland, it’s Music Millenium and a few other smaller shops. Others have had to close up. Call up with your list of wants, help keep someone employed in this insanity.

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Record Store Day 2020 Update

You’ve probably heard by now that RSD has been moved to June 20, 2020, due to the COVID-19 shut-downs around the world. While it looks like this terrible virus and the country may be shut down through mid- June, keep an eye out on their website. Many artists have decided to go ahead and sell the RSD releases via their own sites. Here’s to a socially distanced line, that will go for blocks. As if anything else couldn’t get more muddled this year.

Record Store Day New Date

How Record Stores are Getting Vinyl To You During the Pandemic

‘A grinding halt’: Record stores struggle to stay afloat amid coronavirus crisis

Support your vinyl shops! Check and see if they are taking phone orders and either doing curbside or shipping. Keep small businesses alive!

Peter Hook and The Light: The Setlist Acquisition

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A new gig mystery in which Lapsed Vinyl Goddess acquires her first set list after going to shows for 40 plus years.

One of my Twitter followers from the UK kept bugging me. He noticed that Peter Hook and The Light were hitting Portland this fall. The tour included playing New Order’s Technique and Republic, with a Joy Division and New order mixed set at the end. He kept nudging, you should really go! I had noticed that Peter had been touring with the band the last few years and some of his other bands, Ad Infinitum and Monaco.  I had been a bit skeptical about Peter Hook and The light as they were touring with New Order albums themed shows at their start and wasn’t sure about it. Sometimes the retro tours work and sometimes they don’t. Also, at the time I wasn’t living in a music town, yes, that 13 years of hell. I couldn’t get to see them play.

I should have known better, that one of the founders of Joy Division was driven to play music from the past he helped create, and that he just loves to play shows. It was totally evident in this weeks show on November 7, 2019 at The Wonder Ballroom. It was a complete sellout show and absolutely pumped.

What was tantalizing was a promised Joy Division set. I was a fan of the early days of New Order, but after Brotherhood their music wasn’t doing anything for me anymore. I had hoped that a live show would prove different. It certainly did. I arrived early, near the head of the line. I managed to make it up to stage front and continued hanging out up front with people I had met in line. I found myself right in front of vocalist and guitarist David Potts (Monaco), who was a bit of a card and teased me about my photo taking. Got him back for a tease later. Peter was all over the stage and on top of speakers surfing his instrument.

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I glanced over the top of the stage and when the stage hand taped down the set lists, we were all craning to see, upside down, what the music was. Dead Souls (Joy Division) was at the top of the last set. I was emboldened. You see I have Twitter fiends who have been snagging set lists for years. I have never been so bold. But it was tantalizing me. After the last set where we all belted out and sang horrendously along, and Peter flung his sweat soaked Fact Tee shirt into the crowd, the house lights went up and the hands were clearing up. I couldn’t quite reach the set list so I pointed and smiled. And I got it. I promptly took a snap when I got home and copied Peter on the Twitter posting, thanking them all for a tremendous show. He used it the next day for SF show reminders. 

The tours is finishing up this week in the US. However, Peter announced that they would be doing a 40th Anniversary Joy Division show starting in Spring 2020 in the UK. It will feature Unknown Pleasures and Closer, with a New Order set. If you are traveling to Europe in the Spring, especially try to get to the legendary Barrowland in Glasgow, Scotland, the tickets are selling quick! Here’s hoping they bring it to the US next Fall.

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That’s MY setlist. 

Peter Hook on Joy Division’s 40th

 

Echo and The Bunnymen: The John Peel Sessions 1979-1983

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If it weren’t for John Peel, the champion of musicians on airwaves through his Radio 1 BBC show, Echo and the Bunnymen would never have made it past gigging in the UK in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Like many of their contemporaries, getting airplay was difficult and meant making tapes, recording a single or two, and sending it into John Peel, and any other radio station that you hoped would play it. If he really liked what he heard, thousands of UK and European teens would hear your music. Then you would come in and play live on the show and get recorded. Many bands over the years have recorded for John Peel Sessions, some of the best quality live performances and recordings to be had. If he didn’t like it, it would get pushed aside. Better luck next time.

Echo (Ian McCulloch, Will Sergeant, Les Pattinson, and Pete De Freitas) was lucky in that they were invited back on several occasions. This last September, the band released the collection of recordings from these sessions through Warner Bros/Rhino Records on a limited run (500) hot red 2 x LP, black vinyl, and CD. The records include all of the John Peel Sessions recordings from their early years with commentary by Will Sergeant.

I fought hard and after originally being denied access to buying a red copy, due to some online SNAFU at Rhino Records. I was given a second chance and secured a copy in pre-sale. After waiting 4 weeks and since it was my birthday, it showed up, I was thrilled. Sadly, every corner of the cover was mashed up, Rhino does not ship in really sturdy record boxes like other online vendors do. Luckily the records themselves were alright and I could play them. Unfortunately because there had been a limited run of 500, I could not exchange the records and hopefully have them ship a nice, clean copy with less cover damage. I will be writing to Rhino shortly.

For more John Peel sessions, which came out usually after they aired on the Radio 1 show and can often be found at second hand shops, you can search online for reissues by other bands like The Cure. If you’s like to hear a good sampling of them, check out my friend Scots Post-Punk radio show.

UNAMERICAN Radio Ep 35 John Peel Sessions

 

Talking Heads Fear of Music Turns 40

IMG_3104It’s the first solidifying album of Talking Heads, 70s and 80s New Wave Art House band. Their second album, More Songs About Buildings and Food, was a step away from the debut record, in that they were starting to find their feet. The band, David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth, and Jerry Harrison, decided that the record should not just be a bunch of singles, or singles driven. The next one needed to have more of a theme going on, and actual direction. They also wanted to produce on their own and have more control over the project. This would prove to be an error as they bit off a bit more than they could chew.

After original demos were not going so well, they called back legendary Brian Eno to produce and help get the record on track. It appears that the teenage independence wasn’t working to their advantage. It’s a good thing they did. Fear of Music became Talking Heads transitional album, taking them from their beginnings into young adulthood and expanding audiences.

Fear of Music is still not a polished product, that’s exactly why it’s my favorite Talking Heads album. It still has that angst going on, that reality of life not being what the Great American Promise said it should be. It’s messy and strange. The first Single did not perform well on the charts, however it has been a cult classic, “Life During Wartime”. I always felt that this song was a great discussion of a dystopic future after the apocalypse. Themes of the late 70s and early eighties were surviving the years long cold war and living with Thatcherism and Reaganism on the horizon. George Orwell was being read again, and the fact that this time period should have been the best of times, it was only so for the privileged few. One of the reasons this song is still valid today. It contrasted with “Heaven”, the bands iconic slow favorite. It’s a story about a place you can go, a bar, a place where you know everyone, and can feel you can go.

There are many great songs that talk about the shock of life and reality after you grow up and the teen years fade away. I like to think of this album as an intro to adulthood record. It’s also one of the records my crazy art teacher in high school drummed into our heads while we threw paint at each other. I guess that left an impression.

RSD Black Friday Finds 2018