The drums that kick-start this album are raw, they’re feral, primal, those drums really really do kick-start it, straight in, no messing, a real statement of intent, the drums that kick-start it are so precise, those drums woke me up this morning, couldn’t get them out of my head. “Let’s just nail this from the off” is what those drums say, and with an opening like that, this album can’t fail. Apparently the drums that herald this collaboration of an album, those drums pounded before the filthy guitars fuzz kicks in and joins the frontline, those drums are being hit really hard by Nick Saloman himself – we’re talking those kind of committed drums that fire a Miraculous Mule song in to action with so much powerful colour. An album recorded in two days by Sonic Youth and The Bevis Frond then, my copy is on vinyl, gatefold cover, great packaging, the ritual of the gatefold and pulling the vinyl from the inner sleeve, studying the words, placing it on the turntable, not entirely sure about the front cover art work, that cover art doesn’t quite reflect the primal energy of the music. Seems Bevis Frond and Sonic Youth apparently came together almost spontaneously and gave themselves just two days to do it (or not do it, they were only ever going to release it if they felt it really worked), seems they set themselves the tight deadline and the challenge of taking no longer than a weekend to nail it. And apparently the art was started at the precise time that first drum was hit, the art was made in the studio while the music was laid down. Had to get up this morning and check the record shelf, I did dream all this right?
I never remember dreams, the details of this one are vivid, I’m still half convinced that Bevis Youth album really exists and is sitting on the shelf in that black and white gatefold cover. Sonic Youth and The Bevis Frond and an album made pretty much live in a studio over a weekend, it isn’t on my shelf, I did just double check, Googled it as well, they never made an album together, it was all a strange dream. Well it was better than that dream about the giant six foot crabs on the beach, or the one about all the venues and galleries being closed and everyone who didn’t live on cup cakes and expensive coffee having to leave town. Sonic Youth and Bevis Frond together, what a fuzzed out punk rock album, a real piece of art, bands should come together like that, plug in, just do it, shame this one doesn’t actually exist
We covered The Bevis Frond a lot back in the day, and why not, always had lots of time for Bevis Frond. We’d often see him going about the unrock’n roll business of the school run when we were picking up the sacks of Organ post from our Walthamstow post box back in the days before downloads and internets when soap on stamps were the order of the day and being the only ones brave enough to put Cardiacs on the cover was how it was.. The number of times we had people approach us and offering to fund Organ if only we’d compromise just a little, “this could be really big” said the guy who ran the Marquee once, “if only you guys would stop going on about Cardiacs and put some bands people actually like on the cover then I’d seriously invest!” – that was never ever going to be an option, of course it wasn’t! These days every journalist under sun will tell you how they always loved Cardiacs, busy writing features about re-releases and how they always loved their treasured tapes, where were they at the time though? Where the hell were they when the band needed them? And whatever happened to the Bevis Frond, last time I saw Mr Saloman he was dropping off his latest album for us to review and talking about doing something with Mary Lou Lord, said something about wanting to find a label to put out a single, we expressed an interest, ORG was is full swing at the time, he dismissed it as not being a serious enough label and that’s the last we ever saw of him, that was years ago, shame really, would have been good to do that. See he’s playing that Stewart Lee thing next year, nice one, maybe Sonic Youth will turn up? You have to love the music of the Bevis Frond, vital stuff, well chosen Mr Lee.
We did a couple of great interviews with Mary Lou Lord back in the day, must dig them out, (must dig all that old Organ stuff up one day). spent a great morning around at Gary Wiiija’s, place talking about music and busking and the freedom and importance of street performance and folk music and..
So anyway, Miraculous Mule, in a backroom, or as it a basement, or maybe we were upstairs? We’d been thrown of course by sideways football in the pub down the road and everything going all Dave Sexton on us again, Camden pubs, you can’t find the game for plagues of Madrid fans and Juve shirts. Rush to the basement (or was it a loft) on the full time whistle, the band have just gone on. You see, to really get the Mule you have to be in a room with them, right there, eyeballing them, soaking it up, let it do that thing it does, let it get inside your bones. I mean they’re just a blues band right? Nothing you haven’t seen before surely? A bit of Them, the swagger of the Stones, a primal scream, just a gospel flavoured blues band though right? No, there’s no just another when it comes to Miraculous Mule, there’s certainly just another gig, you can’t be thinking oh I ;won’t bother tonight. We’ve said It before, we’ll say it again and again, Miraculous Mule are a special band, a righteous one, a band plugged directly in – Satisfied, there’s a chemistry, there in the air, electric, raw, a four way chemistry, three of them, the fourth us, the audience, locked in, and they do lock us in, when it all comes together and they hit that sweet spot they really do lock us in, them and everything else in.
What else can we say about Miraculous Mule, they are almost certainly the best live band out there right now, they are the band you need to never miss, a classic three piece, the two brothers up front, trading it, Lemmy and Fast Eddie, Cream, the Experience, no, they’re not just another blues band rocking out in some burnt out backroom bar, this is what it really is about, this is vital, this is swagger, this is attitude, this is proper. Have I gone on about the list before? You know the one, those gigs you had to be at, Webcore weaving their magic at the over-full Clarendon for that Stonehenge benefit that time, Mint 400 when they were making their first vital sky-touching moves, Hugh Baby for those glorious six months back there, Daisy Chainsaw opening for the menace that was Creaming Jesus when word was just getting out about them, those special gigs that stick out ahead of the hundreds (thousands) of others you’ve been to, things you really had to be there for to get, things you still talk about with people who were, that Be Your Own Pet gig, Mudhoney, Triple Nipples, Saint Silas Intercession at the Hope and Anchor that time, these things leave marks, good ones, these things can’t be talked about unless you are talking to someone who was there, the magic can’t be written about, can’t be explained about, these things just exist for ever in the heads of the people who were lucky enough to be there. So Wednesday night at the Black Heart in Camden wasn’t the Mule at their very very best, but hey, even the Mule playing an 8 out 10 gig is better than the very best gig most bands ever played and when Ian hits those drums with so much conviction, so much dexterity and almost violent colour he spreads over his kit it really is a privilege to be there standing before the three of them, standing there just absorbing it all, lost in it all, primal, gospel, glorious, and you share it afterwards with friends who were there and how it can’t be put sown on paper and “that Evil on my Mind song was brilliant, I really felt the intensity from that song, it cut right through me actually almost brought out tears, but I had to distance myself from them and people around me a bit as I found it all too much or too distracting when I just wanted to concentrate on the music”. No, not much more we can say about a Miraculous Mule gig that we haven’t said already (sw)
So Mary Lou Lord posted something on line this week that caught our attention, I asked her about, could we post it? “Cool if you want to use the Roy post”. smile emoticon “thank you and hope all is well in your world”. : said Mary Lou in reply…
“I just had a realization about something, many of you guys know about the Kurt Cobain thing with me….(this was mainly due to Courtney’s big mouth by the way)…. She was the best publicist I NEVER had. Duh. Anyway, some of you guys have asked privately, and publicly “What was Kurt like, and what did you guys do, and WHY you and him…etc…?” Well, He was one of the biggest melody/song/music history and song dorks you’ve ever met. He knew Everything! (honestly, he did), and it was a joy hanging out with him because he knew what I was talking about when I brought it up. I was a huge Roy Harper fan at the time as well as Daniel Johnston, Sandy Denny, Teenage Fanclub, Shonen Knife, etc, and back then, it was not so easy to find like-minded friends who liked the same stuff. So, I joked with him one night and told him he “kind of” reminded me of a young Roy Harper….(Roy was lovely, but kind of a curmudgeonly fucker) Then, we listened to several Roy Harper albums. He had already known who Roy was (of course he did), and he just laughed. Kurt loved “songs” and “melodies”……….such a special time. Roy was pretty “punk” for a folkie. Beautiful music. Led Zeppelin knew, and Kurt did too.
I guess what I am also saying here in this post….is, hey Roy Harper, Kurt loved your music….And it was a big deal, and wonderful to find each other who even knew who you were. It was a big deal. Thank you Roy for NOT selling out (which is exactly what (“Hat’s off”) meant. We found you. And we felt like the coolest kids ever….and guess what…..we were. Because of you. Thanks Roy.
How did some kid from Aberdeen Washington know about all of this? You get on a bus, and you go to the city and you LEARN. The songs Kurt Cobain wrote were not born in the either……They were born in every single note that went into the primal simple language that came out after the listening, knowing, and simply “being a fan” of SONGS…
Here’s something bewitching from Mary Lou Lord‘s most recent album
Of course it is around this time of the year that thoughts turn toward the songs of the late Elliott Smith…
More Organ things later….maybe…probably….