I’ve been in bands my entire adult life. For most of that time, it was the most important element of my identity. Being in a band was not only a crucial creative outlet, but also a social space; it was how I met people beyond what is now the GLONO crew.
The first band I had--or at least the first group of guys who tried to get a functioning, performing band together--was The Silence. We were really only together for a summer, but we played a couple of shows, if you count basements as venues, and wrote and recorded eight songs. The best of these songs was a perfect little piece of electro pop called “Forever Summer,” written by Rick Grossenbacher.
Rick was our keyboardist and sequencer. He loved electronic dance music way before there was anything called EDM. His flavor was more in the vein of Camoflage, Front 242, New Order and Depeche Mode. Man, he loved Depeche Mode. He and Dan, our lead guitarist, would go on and on quoting videos, interviews and studio banter I can only assume came from outtakes and bootlegs.
“Start the tape, Mart.”
At least I think that quote is from Depeche Mode. I don’t really know because that wasn’t my scene. I came from the Brit Pop school and was specifically focused on the Madchester sound of The Stone Roses. Happy Mondays and The Charlatans. The most important Manchester influence for me though was Johnny Marr and he was then in his dance band project, Electronic, with New Order’s Bernard Sumner. So if keyboards, drum machines and sequencers were good enough for Johnny, they were good enough for me.
Riot Fest once again proved itself to be the music fest for grownups. Grownups in black t-shirts.
While all the other big festivals rotate the same dozen headliners, it’s great that Riot Fest has retained its punk rock focus. Maybe not as strictly as during its first several years as a multi-venue festival, but most of the performers still fall somewhere along the punk rock spectrum. And even the ones who don’t play distorted guitars could be said to have a punk rock attitude. Gotta respect that.
Riot Fest sometimes gets accused of cashing in on nostalgia. Sure, a lot of the bands peaked 20 or 30 years ago (or more). But the fact that they’re still around and kicking ass is a testament not only to their survival but to our own. We should all hope we age as gracefully as the most of these artists (Al Jourgensen excepted).
Headliners this year were Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, and a reunited Jawbreaker, playing their first full show in 21 years (other than a couple warm up gigs around San Francisco last month). The headliners get the big font on the poster, but fest diehards know that the undercard is always where the action is.
It was hot and sunny when we got to the park on Friday. You never know what you’re going to get in September in Chicago, but you can usually count on at least some rain. The line to get in was down the block and security was being thorough. I heard one guy complaining that they had opened his cardboard cigarette case the wrong way and wrecked it. A woman behind me was worried she was going to miss X, who she had last seen in 1983 with the Replacements opening up for them! Don’t worry, she made it in with time to spare.
So, yeah…Riviera is back…sorta. As most loyal readers know, Mick and I moved to Portland a while back. Well, this city is just too great to NOT play here. And since we have a ton of stuff to sell still we figured it made sense to resurrect the Riviera name.
You can get all the nitty gritty details on the band’s website or at ReverbNation, but the gist is that we found some great, great players here in Portland and will be playing some shows starting December 4.
In the meantime, enjoy this clip of me and pal Hamilton Sims of Little Beirut covering New Order’s “Love Vigilantes” shot in the GLONO West HQ, La Finca.
We miss the Chicago crew something fierce and could never replace those boys even if we wanted to. But the music calls! Be sure to check out Josh B’s new joint too.
It seems silly now, ludicrous even, but at the time I swear it was not only plausible…it almost worked.
In December 1991 I flew to the UK to meet up with Jake, who was on foreign study in Aberdeen, Scotland. It was my first solo foray out of the country and the realization of a lifelong Anglophile dream. The foundation of my friendship with Jake was based on our mutual love for The Beatles, and by extension, British musical culture. Our obsession for the Fabs morphed into an obsession with The Smiths and eventually Madchester bands like The Stone Roses and The Happy Mondays. High on our list of tour stops was Manchester, the home to so many of our heroes.
Former New Order/Joy Division bassist Peter Hook is writing a tell-all book about his days in the Manchester club scene. It’s called Hacienda: How Not To Run A Club. He posted the libel report from his lawyer, which contains all kinds of juicy yet potentially defamatory details. Hook himself admits that he “thought it read Almost as well as the book.”
This is the account by Peter Hook of Joy Division and New Order of his involvement in and subsidising of the Hacienda Club in Manchester. As there is a considerable amount of drug-taking and involvement of gangs with resulting violence and a fair degree of professional incompetence in the running of the club, there are obviously potential defamation issues.
My favorite bit:
75 We also have a problem potentially with XXXX being called a smack head. Might not she and XXXX also complain about the sexual reference. Again at the risk of sounding pompous, that is a private matter which XXXX could object to and might also claim it was defamatory. XXXX might also say that although she mentioned this to the author in conversation, she would not expect to see it in a book.
Old Hooky’s since removed the posts, but thanks to Google’s cache, they’re still available: Part 1, Part 2. If Google clears its cache before you get to it, you can read the full, unedited text of both posts after the jump…
Uh oh, things are getting nasty over in New Orderville. A brief recap. First, bassist Peter Hook said the group had broken up. Bernard Sumner and Stephan Morris immediately said, “Oh really?”
Well now, old Hooky has responded to Sumner and Morris regarding the idea of them carrying on without him on his myspace blog:
never assume anything! This group has SPLIT UP! you are no more new order than i am! you may have two thirds but dont assume you have the rights to do anything NEW ordery cos you dont ive still got a third! But am open to negotiation.
Just in case you hadnt noticed weve not had a “PERSONAL” relationship for a long time now…years in fact! whenever you contact me its through the management(like hale and pace eh?) i did exactly the same you all knew what was happening re the split! in FEBRUARY! using cannes and mojo as some excuse to at last get your own back is wrong.
Not entirely sure what he’s talking about re: “cannes and mojo” but I’m pretty sure it’s mean.
The film 24 Hour Party People embodies the punk spirit it documents. But before I go into director Michael Winterbottom’s freewheeling, go-for-broke filmmaking style, I just want to say the movie’s kind of got old-fart appeal, being about the beginnings of British punk and the Manchester bands (Joy Division, New Order, Happy Mondays) who succeeded it in the 80s. The very few actual survivors of the Manchester 80s music scene who appear in the film look really, really old. I emphasize that because it seems so amazing that the punk revolution, which sneered at sacred cows from the Beatles to David Bowie, happened so long ago now. That was our revolution – the one that turned out the hippies, rejected wealth-driven spirituality and embraced a primitive brawling yelp. The movie brings back that hedonistic, artistically explosive era and plunges the viewer into its excesses, recreating the scene so successfully that it reminds you of how much plain fun it was (more than it seemed at the time, with all its confusion, drugs and attitude).