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Monday, 7 March 2011

Help the aged.

Over the years this subject has rudely pushes its way to the fore more often than is really necessary.
Everyone and their dog seem to have an opinion on it. Mostly a negative one.
What am I talking about?
Reformation of bands, and even artists revisiting their past, that's what.
Latest to get the boot put into them is Peter Hook of New Order and Joy Division fame.
The man hasn't even reformed a band. Just decided to go out on the road with some musicians and perform songs from his past.
Yet in some quarters that seems to be a heinous crime deserving of the same level of disgust usually reserved for kiddie fiddlers, coalition governments, city bankers and those hedge fund wanks.
I mean c'mon. What is Peter Hook doing that is so wrong?
It's a strange subject to discuss as no one seems to have a firm stance and flit from being dead against it or all for it depending on who is being discussed.
Every opinion is teetering on shifting sands. The strongest opponent to band reformations will avoid eye contact and shuffle in embarrassment when you hit on the one band that they really would love to see but didn't and then make an exception and try to justify why this one band is different.
When the Velvet Underground got back together critics and fans swooned alike. Here was this legendary band going out on the road one more time. All the key players were there and without a doubt they could still deliver the goods.
Nary a whisper of cashing in was uttered. In one fell swoop they avoided all those accusations because........well because they are the Velvet Underground, and music fans all over the world have all at one point in their development grooved to them, and this was a one off chance to witness the magic.
That they were crap by the time I seen them play Glastonbury was neither here nor there.
Their sharing of a stage eclipsed whether they were good or not to most people. If Lou Reed had farted in a bottle and cast it into the waves of blind adulation that was beating on the Pyramid stage then the act would have been met with riotous applause.
They had slipped beyond the point of criticism it seemed.
The Specials are another band whose reformation was met with ecstatic ravings.
They couldn't even manage to get the Dammers on board, but it didn't seem to matter.
They, both the VU and The Specials, are doing nothing different from any other band who reforms. or from the artist who decides to go on the road and breathe some new life into their back catalogue.
The only difference is that people are willing to give them a dispensation from a slagging because they personally love them.
There is no consistency from people about this.
Peter Hook is also going out and playing much loved material, but for some reason beyond my understanding this is a problem as he is being seen to be slaying the sacred cow, or at the very least slipping it a length when it wasn't looking.
Why do those fans who are having a dig feel that they have a right to do so when their role in the history of Joy Division is one of spectator?
Hooky wrote material, practised it, fine tuned it and then with his band mates recorded and played it live. He was an integral part of who Joy Division was and yet he is accused of cashing in on the past. His past. He put the work in and if he wants to release a remix of their d├ębut played on a glockenspiel that was submerged in the deep end of my local swimming pool then that's entirely up to him.
It's up to you if you want to buy it, but you cannot remove his right to do it as he has more of a claim on the material than any band that slips one of Joy Divisions tunes in as an encore at the end of their set, regardless of how respectfully it is done.
Over the years I have seen many bands who have been past their sell by date. I've also seen old guys get back together and recapture every single bit of magic that you may have thought was beyond their reach.
What they should all be judged on is the performance. Nothing more and nothing less.
Not that they failed to get the original bassist in the line up because he died of cancer a decade ago.
As really, how bloody difficult would that be, and is anyone really saying that they can't play their own music because an unfamiliar face is on bass.
Get a grip people.
If you ever considered going to see one reformed band, or have drunkenly jumped about to a tribute band who are doing a good job of recapturing your youth, then you have no right to rain on Hooky's parade with some ill thought out fragments of baseless criticism.
In closing I'll just say that if I had conjured up some crap reason not to go and see bands based on the argument that they are cashing in on their past then I would never have seen Iggy and the Stooges reliving Raw Power or Mott the Hoople in their run of sold out dates in London.
How stupid would that have been?


  1. I got given a promo of his freebass cd...Utter shite it was,i think he has became a Mark King type now,eg his bass sound is now soooo fucking annoying.Yes it driove Joy division and New Order to great heights, but please move on Mr Hook :)

  2. I've never heard it. Not one note of Freebass has managed to make it to my ears.
    I don't personally know Hooky at all, but it would seem he has become a bit of a whipping boy.
    He does some Hacienda DJ sets and he's cashing in, he does this tour of Joy Division tracks with a twist and some people are verging on taking a fatwa out on him. He tinkers with and tries to come at some Joy Division tracks froma different angle and it's as if he has personally taken a shit in someones mouth.
    It's all a bit strange.
    Like I said, all these reformations and blasts from the past seem to be judged on a more personal level than is it good.
    Some people don't want their memories messed with, but the majority seem to be a tad hypocrytical dependent on what memories they are.

  3. If its a new twist on the Joy Division songs,well,that's a good thing,too many artists dont breathe new light into the old songs. A good example of this was the last The The performancem only Matt Johnson and Jim Foteus, but my oh my!, the songs were stripped down to bare electronica and sounded bloody great, Duran Duran did the same on the last tour and had an electro set.

  4. I'm quite interesting in hearing them now.
    Even if it turns into a bit of an atrocity exhibition there is no doubt that if anyone has the right to do this then it's Peter Hook.
    That Rowena woman who was an x-factor contestant a few years ago, but we know her better for providing back up vocals to The Happy Mondays is doing some of the lead vocals along with Hooky.
    I expect a soulful interpretation, but whether they work or not is a different story.

  5. Her again!!,ha ha she seems to be jumping on the manchester related band thingy big time!,ah well,i wonder what's next?, Bez fronting The Buzzcocks??? ;)

  6. Only if he can get that guy who used to dance in chains for Howard Jones to back him up on Orgasm Addict.

  7. Ha ha,his name was Jed, he didnt last long with Howard Jones ;p

  8. They should have him on never mind the buzzcocks, but instead of the panel trying to pick him out as him if he can anme the panel.

  9. Strange enough, my friend and i were going to write a book,titled "The Bez's of the music world. Chas Smash, him from Flowered up, Cresa of the Stone Roses and Lol Tolhurst of The Cure,all these dudes had minimal input in the bands they appeared with. But who was the biggest chancer of them all, that's what i am trying to recall. Hmm Gene Clark of The Byrds who was usually seen just banging a tambourine?, or the dancer in Jesus Jones?, or the majority of EMF?,lol :)

  10. to your last comment,pmsl!!!, aye that would of been so funny! :)

  11. You have me thinking now. All of Westlife spring to mind, Jedward to, but in bands that do have what we may consider a greater degree of worth. Hmmmmmm.
    The fella in Frankie Goes to Hollywood had a good run at it, Andrew Ridgley was shown to be dead weight when Wham split.
    Ringo Starr did alright.

  12. Aye!!!!!, that's the one!!, Paul Rutherford of FGTH, aye all he did was dance and sing a wee bit. Andrew Ridgeley could play some guitar, but the Tour Manager used to turn his amp down so people couldnt hear his horrible playing,lol :)

  13. Well said! I've seen Brian Wilson a couple times and at both half times all you could hear in the bog was, "Ach he's looking better, it's great to see." If an audience are willing to pay to see an artists work live, even if they are well aware of conditions that will mean the original experience isn't on the cards, they have a right to bloody see it.

  14. Did you download the acapella version of Pet Sounds that I had up?

  15. My ex bought me that box set for christmas one year, the stack o vocals disk is amazing. as is the stereo remix. Really highlights just how complete those vocal arrangements are in and of themselves. The echo chamber he used is the same one he resurrected for SMiLE and it sounds so natural.

  16. My lad has been asking me to dig out Pet Sounds for him to listen to, but I have literally thousands of CDs. It would be easier just downloading it for him.