Saturday, May 29, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
I remember being in the studio and hearing the news, devastating news. We'd all been looking forward to Joy Division's American tour. They were coming to San Francisco in June. The Dead Kennedys and the Mutants each were to get a slot opening for their shows. There was always anticipation for bands coming to town from Europe. Bands were usually known mostly by their music, or the odd interview one might catch in a fanzine. More often than not, the new music papers in the US (Slash, Damage, Search & Destroy, New York Rocker) didn't get their shot at interviewing foreign bands until they actually came to town, so not much was known locally beyond the music. Information was scant yet we knew something great was on its way.
Factory Records was a bit of a mystery to me at the time. They had great bands. Really great ones. Durutti Column. A Certain Ratio. Cabaret Voltaire. And they had Joy Division. It was never clear who was in charge, at least to me. I am sure there were others in town who were connected with the Factory people who would get the facts explained to them. For me that morning in the studio what I understood was that Curtis' mesmerizing voice was silent. The notion that Joy Division's arrival would lead to a surge of new music was not to be, at least in May, 1980.
Today Joy Division has hoards more fans and devotees than it ever did back then. Devotees who never saw Curtis perform or speak. That's the power of music and art, to compel interest and attention for the ages.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Cleaning the checkered, tiled floor always went faster with the great sounds blaring from our jukebox full of classics old and new. We always worked with music whether live, from the jukebox or projected video. It gave life to the cavernous brick studio. The jukebox was our own gem in the pre-streaming, pre-pandora days but like them, it was free. It was stocked with the greatest singles, and they were vinyl. Eddie Cochran, the Shirelles, the Specials, Black Flag, Gang of Four, the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, the Avengers, the Dils, James Chance, Martha and the Vandellas, the Cramps, the Clash, James Brown, Gene Vincent, Flipper, Tuxedomoon, the Mutants and Linton Kwesi Johnson were only a few in the collection. Bands usually came by with their new single and it got added to the collection at one point or another. Let me know if you had your single in the box. I’ve bugged Joe for years look for the box of singles that got packed up after the SF earthquake.
So, back to cleaning the floor. It was usually caked with a brew of cigarettes, beer, gum and sweat. It was easy to sweep up the beer cans and bottles (at least those we didn’t break for recreation), but the coating of goo was a much tougher task. I remember the smell of the process as being a mixture of hexol and nicotine. God awful. Like being in that can of beer you just drank with the butt in it.
Hours after the task was accomplished, we’d cop some cheap Andre champagne and tuna sandwiches at the Asian liquor store on the corner of 18th & South Van Ness. Or maybe we'd hit Whiz Burger. We’d settle in at the Target bar (situated at the entrance to the studio) before heading out into the city.