Monday, February 1, 2010

"Gordon, can this music be turned off?"


On Space Pirate Radio, I loved playing the newest music possible. The shows in the 70s had an emphasis on all of the European bands that had been inspired by Pink Floyd, but hadn't been heard commercially. Germany seemed to have the most variety, initially. My favourites were Amon Duul II, Can, Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel, Klaus Schulze on his own, Embryo, Popul Vuh, Guru Guru, Kraftwerk, Cluster (or Kluster), Harmonia, Neu, La Dusseldorf, Faust and a myriad of artists either doing solo or offshoot projects. Or almost any release from certain labels like Kosmiche, OHR, Brain, Sky and so on. France had Ange, Heldon, Atoll, Mona Lisa, Magma and Malicorne. Italy had Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, Premiata Forneria Marconi, Le Orme and Acqua Fragile. Spain had Granada, Triana, among others. In Japan it was the Sadistic Mika Band, Far East Family Band, Kitaro (in bands and solo) and later...Yellow Magic Orchestra with all of its side projects.

In the 80s, new music got a little odder. I would pick up albums by bands simply because of who produced the album or who the guest musicians were. I discovered the Police only because Sting and Andy Summers had appeared on a very eccentric album by Eberhard Schoener. This is what lead me to Siouxsie And The Banshees, Thompson Twins and (gasp) A Flock Of Seagulls--they had Bill Nelson of Be Bop Deluxe working with them. They had to be cool, didn't they?

So a lot of these artists were initially interesting due to their freshness, connection to other artists and release on independent labels. One didn't expect the commercial success and changes that happened to many of them: Depeche Mode, Human League, Yazoo, Erasure and the twisted mutation of Genesis.

Oh, so the picture. That's Richard Butler of the Psychedelic Furs. I think we're announcing our engagement there. I can't remember. Seriously, though. I thought "Love My Way" was a cool song and Richard was a very smart, friendly and charming guy. None of the showbiz-y pop star affectation. We got along really well. Had a fine interview. And he seemed sincerely grateful and child-like when I told him that he had the talent to be as successful as David Bowie, if he wanted to.