MARC ALMOND: ‘THE EIGHTIES DROVE ME INSANE!’29 Jun 2007

Marc As one half of pioneering synth-pop duo Soft Cell, Marc Almond has admitted that the ‘80s drove him to the very edge of reason. In an exclusive interview conducted for a supplement entitled 80 From The Eighties that accompanies the next issue of MOJO magazine, the singer admits that his hedonistic lifestyle forced him to seek medical care.

Click MORE button for Almond’s ‘80s confessions…

Quizzed about his career in Soft Cell, he states that the band’s meteoric rise – led by the success of their Tainted Love single and the accompanying Non Stop Erotic Cabaret album in 1981 – Almond states “my life changed when we went on Top Of the Pops. I still loved in a bedsit in Leeds. Next day everyone’s attitude changed. Love me , kill me, fuck me, marry me!”

Asked about the dark side of his fame during that period the singer – whose new album Stardom Road has just been released – details the self-abuse that engulfed him, stating , “Fifteen years later, I was in a psychiatric unit.”

Almond is just one of many Eighties stars interviewed in the supplement which features 80 of the greatest albums of that decade as selected by MOJO writers. Other interviewees include Slash, Adam And The Ants, Dexys Midnight Runners, Peter Hook, ABC, Echo And The Bunnymen and more.

The new issue of MOJO is on sale on July 6 but in celebration of all things ‘80s we invite you to bask in the toga-and-cricket whites glory of Soft Cell’s Tainted Love video that you can watch here.

Posted by Ross_Bennett at 06:05PM | 
PRINCE GIVES HIS NEW ALBUM AWAY AS FOPP CLOSES

Prince Earlier this week Prince allowed his new single Guitar to be downloaded for free via a deal he’d struck with a phone company. Now, he’s going one step further by giving away his new album with a Sunday newspaper. This latest give away coincides with the news that Fopp, Britain’s budget sensitive retail chain, has been forced to close.

Click the MORE button for the full story…

Prince’s decision to give his new album, Planet Earth, with a forthcoming edition of the Mail On Sunday has drawn widespread criticism from the British music industry as a whole, with Paul Quirk, chairman of The Entertainment Retailers Association, declaring it “an insult to all those record stores who have supported Prince throughout his career. The Artist Formerly Known as Prince should know that with behaviour like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores.”

Quirk’s comments, which were made at the UK music industry convention London Calling, resonated further with the news today that Fopp has been forced to cease trading.

A statement from the beleaguered company reads: “It is with great regret that we announce the closure of Fopp. Our store chain is profitable, well regarded and loved by our loyal customers and staff. However we have failed to gain the necessary support from major stakeholders, suppliers and their credit insurers to generate sufficient working capital to run our expanding business.”

Fopp currently owns in excess of 81 stores throughout the UK, following the acquisition of the defunct Music Zone chain earlier in the year, and has made its name for offering product at a discounted price, the cheapest albums being priced at one pound and DVDs at three. This approach to shifting stock has proved popular with music fans but the recent acquisition of further stores has clearly seen the company stretched.

Last week Fopp closed all of its stores for an “exceptional stock take” on Friday June 22, only to re-open on Saturday. This weekend, however, the chain’s stores are likely to remain closed with administration a real possibility.

In this climate, the fact that Prince’s album will be available free has also forced the UK arm of his label, SonyBMG, to withdraw from the global deal with the artist, thereby refusing to distributing it.

“We think it is the right thing to do in the difficult retail market," said a Sony spokesman.

As well as causing a furore within the British music industry, Prince’s choice of media partner has also drawn wry criticism from his own fan-base.

“I am sure all the old aged pensioners, who go down on Sunday mornings to the local news-stands for their Mail On Sundays are gonna be happy with a free copy of Planet Earth!” writes a Prince fan whose nom-de-net is Desire2006, posting on the fan site prince.org, commenting on the conservative nature of the Mail On Sunday’s readership.

Prince – who has already pledged to give away copies of his album to every ticket holder who attends his 21 night sold-out stand at the O2 Arena in August  - is just the latest musician to explore new ways of getting his music to his audience in what is an increasingly uncertain market place. The key question remains, however, is he right to do so in this way? And if so, does this mean the end of the record shop as we know it? Tell us what you think by leaving your comments….

Posted by Ross_Bennett at 06:00PM | Leave a Comment (2)
SEE LAMBCHOP, MIDLAKE & MORE FOR FREE!

Kurtcrop Lambchop have confirmed they will headline the closing night of September’s End Of The Road Festival. Kurt Wagner’s sprawling Nashville entity will join co-headliners Yo La Tengo, Super Furry Animals and Midlake over the weekend of 14-16 September in the bosky environs of Larmer Tree Gardens on the Dorset/Wiltshire border. And MOJO has five pairs of tickets to give away.

Click MORE for a chance to win tickets…

Now in its second year, End Of The Road was voted Festival Of The Year 2006, a prime example of the welcome rise of the “boutique festival”. The site is charmingly idiosyncratic, with exotic fowl strolling freely through Larmer Tree’s English gardens, untroubled by beer sponsors and corporate branding.

Other recently confirmed acts include: British Sea Power, Robyn Hitchcock, Scout Niblett, The Concretes, Jens Lekman, Danielson, I’m From Barcelona, Willard Grant Conspiracy, Kate Maki, Seventeen Evergreen, Zombie Zombie and Loney, Dear.

For a chance to win one of five pairs of tickets, visit the festival home page at www.endoftheroadfestival.com and survey the scene. Which of the following birds is NOT featured in the artwork?

a) Peacock
b) Parrot
c) Kookaburra

Send your answer to Editor@mojo4music.com. Make sure it’s with us by the end of July 20 and that you include your name, address, contact phone number and email address.

If you don’t wish to trust to your avian identification skills and the winds of chance, you can buy tickets via www.endoftheroadfestival.com or 0871 2302605 (24hrs). Adult (and over 13s) weekend (incl. camping) £95 (under 13s – free). Campervan / Live-in Vehicle pass £30.

And here, in alphabetical order, is the full line-up so far confirmed:

Alessi
Archie Bronson Outfit
Architecture In Helsinki
The Bees
Brakes
British Sea Power
The Broken Family Band
C.W. Stoneking
Charlie Parr
The Concretes
Congregation
Dan Sartain
Danielson
Darren Hayman
David Thomas Broughton
David Vandervelde
Devastations
Euros Childs
Findlay Brown
Herman Dune
Howe Gelb
Hush the Many
Hyacinth House
I’m From Barcelona
Indigo Moss
James Yorkston
Jeffrey Lewis
Jens Lekman
Jim White
Joan As Police Woman
Johnny Flynn
Josh T Pearson
Kate Maki
King Creosote
Lambchop
Liz Green
Loney, Dear
Malcolm Middleton
Micah P Hinson
Midlake
Misty's Big Adventure
Monkey Swallows The Universe
My Brightest Diamond
Paris Motel
Pete & the Pirates
Port O'Brien
Post War Years
Reigns
Richard Swift
Robyn Hitchcock
Scout Niblett
Seasick Steve
Seventeen Evergreen
Slow Club
Sons Of Noel & Adrian
Stephanie Dosen
Sunny Day Sets Fire
Super Furry Animals
The Telegrams
The Twilight Sad
Viking Moses
Willard Grant Conspiracy
Woodpigeon
Yo La Tengo
The Young Republic
Zombie Zombie

Posted by Danny Eccleston at 12:48PM | Leave a Comment (0)
LOST WOODY GUTHRIE GIG DISCOVERED!

Woodycrop The Live Wire, an extremely rare recording of Woody Guthrie performing live in 1949 is to be released in September. The recording of Woody performing with his dancer wife Majorie at the YMCA in Newark, New Jersey in May, 1949 has been painstakingly restored from a rare Webster wire filament recording – a process of recording sound onto stainless steel wire – made by Paul Braverman, who donated them to the Woody Guthrie Archives in New York in 2001.

Click MORE for further info, and to see what in heck a “Webster wire filament recording” looks like...

The job of restoring the recordings and transferring them from wire onto reel-to-reel tapes and then on to CD has taken five, painstaking years. Here’s what they looked like in their original state...

Woodywire

The Woody Guthrie Archives website describes the recordings as they first heard them in 2001:

“The tapes show Woody's warm personal performing style, and the enthusiastic response of the audience. Woody sings and talks about the songs, his childhood, and anything else that seems to come to mind. He tells a story about the difficulty of playing live folk music at a dance concert, and how difficult it is to play exactly the same way each time so the dancers can practise. Marjorie plays the part of MC, introducing new songs and asking Woody questions to spur him on.”

Snippets of the recordings will soon be available on woodylivewire.com

The CD track listing will be:

1. Intro: How much? How Long? (15:02)
2. Black Diamond (4:51)
3. I Was There And The Dust Was There (6:56)
4. The Great Dust Storm (3:35)
5. Folk Singers And Dancers (5:28)
6. Talking Dust Bowl Blues (2:16)
7. Tom Joad (6:17)
8. Columbia River (1:47)
9. Pastures Of Plenty (2:39)
10. Grand Coulee Dam (3:33)
11. Told By Mother Bloor (1:18)
12. 1913 Massacre (4:32)
13. Quit Sending Your Inspectors (2:33)
14. Goodbye Centralia (3:11)
15. A Cowboy Of Some Kind (1:20)
16. Dead Or Alive (3:42)
17. Jesus Christ Has Come! (1:35)
18. Jesus Christ (3:46)

See www.woodyguthrie.org for info

Posted by Danny Eccleston at 11:08AM | Leave a Comment (1)
GET PRINCE’S NEW SINGLE FOR FREE!28 Jun 2007

Prince As the debate rages as to whether music should be made available for free, Prince’s new single, Guitar, has been made available at no cost via telephony company 02, sponsors of The Purple One’s 21 night stand at The 02 Arena this summer.

Click the MORE button to get your free download

MOJO users can simply download the track by logging on to the following website http://blueroom.o2.co.uk/2007/the-o2/prince-intro.jsp

Guitar precedes the release of Prince’s new album Planet Earth which is set for release on July 16 via Columbia records.

Posted by Ross_Bennett at 04:52PM | 
BLAIR DEPARTURE CAUSES 1997 TIMEWARP!

Spice After a decade in power Tony Blair stepped down as Prime Minister yesterday, but has handing over the reins of power to Gordon Brown caused a bizarre temporal shift in British culture? Today's announcement of the Spice Girls's reformation suggests as much, adding to the '97-styled vibes already ushered in by the recent return of The Verve, Dodgy and Kula Shaker. But is this the tip of the iceberg?

Click MORE button for further signs of '97 returning!

Of course, we’ve already reported on The Verve reunion below, and today, June 28, at noon, the five original Spice Girls – Baby, Scary, Ginger, Posh and Sporty - congregated at London's recently opened 02 venue (formely the white elephant known as the Millenium Dome) to announce their first tour together since 1998 and a greatest hits album, promising 12 shows comprising “five girls, lights, dancing, the dark side of the Spice Girls and topless dancing”.

Frivolity of a different kind, but hopefully no topless dancing, comes in the guise of the reunions of good time charlies Dodgy and Britpop’s mystic non-scallys Kula Shaker (winners of the 1997 Best Breakthrough Act gong at The Brits).

In the first case, the Good Enough/ Staying Out For The Summer/ In A Room hitmaking team of Nigel Clark, Andy Miller and Mathew Priest playing their first dates since 1998 in November. In the latter case, Crispian Mills’ men release a new album called *Strangefolk on August 20 and tour the UK in October. Classic rock sounds with chanting is promised, as is (further confusing what decade we’re in) one song Super CB Operator that sings the praises of CB radio. For more on Kula Shaker - and to hear their new tunes - visit www.myspace.com/kshaker

With new albums by Smashing Pumpkins and the Hartnoll brothers from Orbital out or out soon, and Underworld’s sixth album *Oblivion With Bells coming in October, the it’s-ten-years-ago vibes look set to continue. But has all this nostalgic activity been engineered by dour but crafty new premier Brown to allow to evoke a time when "things could only get better?" (as D-Ream irritatingly remarked) and distract everyone from questions about the health service and corporation tax, after a word with Prime Minister Harry Saxon (AKA The Master) off Doctor Who? Will reunions of Mansun, Scarfo, Jonathan*Fire Eater and Bentley Rhythm Ace follow? Possibly. Anyway, when’s TFI Friday on, what’s an internet and who’d have thought house music would just keep on getting better?

Posted by Danny Eccleston at 04:40PM | 
HOW TO BUY… THE CANTERBURY SCENE

Soft_machine In the late ‘60s and early 70s, the city of Canterbury was the scene of an extraordinary outpouring of progressive jazz rock by such inter-connected groupings as Soft Machine, Caravan, Gong, Hatfield and The North and National Health. This was music with a whimsicality and eccentricity that almost belied the complexity of what was being played. But how to buy it? Come and argue the toss over, say, Soft Machine One versus Caravan’s If I Could Do It All Over Again I'd Do It All Over You, and let us know which ones you think are the ten  indispensable albums. Then debate if there are a suspiciously high amount of songs in the Canterbury canon about making tea, whether Gilgamesh or Egg should be included, and does the scene even exist, even. The best comments will be printed in the magazine.

Posted by Danny Eccleston at 04:39PM | 
PETE DOHERTY SIGNS DIARIES

Dohertycrop Babyshambles’ bohemian wastrel is to sign copies of his collated diaries, The Books Of Albion – scrawling his moniker across the 320-plus-page tome at Red Snapper Books in Cecil Court (off London’s book boulevard Charing Cross Road) from 5pm today. That’s if he can be arsed to get up by then, of course.

For more info, and a peek inside the Books Of Albion click MORE button.

The Books Of Albion reproduces reams of pages from Doherty’s (often literally bloodstained) private diaries, providing a glimpse inside the disordered mind of the oughties’ most examined frontman. Weird collages – including defaced cutouts of now-wife Kate Moss – enigmatic scribbles and fractured musings make the book eerily reminiscent of the Kurt Cobain Journals (published 2002) and last year’s Dirty Blonde: The Diaries Of Courtney Love.

The text is a scrambled morass of intermittently inspired beat prose and paranoid wibbling. Here he is on 9/2/1999 musing on Libertines co-conspirator Carl Barât…

“MY FRIEND IS RISING. PACKING HIS GUITAR, LEAVING ME. HE IS A GHOST AT THE MOMENT HE WALKS AWAY. DOES HIS SOUL CARRY THE TORTURE FOR PAST MISDEEDS UNPUNISHED?”

Unconvinced? Then check out some sample pages below…

Dohertybook1.jpg style=
Poignant evidence that tabloids can get to you, even if you’re a notoriously unrepentant drug user.
dohertybook2.jpg style=
Self-obsessed, moi? Pete takes a long, lingering look at himself...
dohertybook3.jpg style=
Hmmm. How would YOUR spouse react to your cutting up a picture of him/her and scribbling the eyes out? Thought so...

The Books Of Albion is/are out now in hardback, published by Orion at £20.

Posted by Danny Eccleston at 12:57PM | Leave a Comment (0)
JOHNNY MARR RE-LIVES THE ‘80s! EXCLUSIVELY FOR MOJO!

Marr The architect of some of the finest British music made in the 1980s (and beyond), Johnny Marr looks back at the decade he helped shaped in an exclusive interview conducted for a MOJO supplement that accompanies the next issue of the magazine. Entitled 80s From The Eighties, the 52-page book features an afterword by the ex-Smiths/current Modest Mouse guitarist in which he reflects on the Manchester club scene of the day, Thatcher’s Britain and his own career…

Click MORE button for more Marr-ness…

While received knowledge has always heralded the ‘60s and ‘70s as marking out the golden age of music, Marr argues that the ‘80s created a new invective that powered The Smiths and their peers.

“What’s now known as post punk was the letter A in the new lexicon,” states Marr. “To me, and a lot of people of my generation, punk rock was the letter Z in the old lexicon, just warmed up pub rock. What came afterwards was a reductive, clean, fresh, lean, new aesthetic and that pretty much describes my new early guitar sound.”

As its title suggests, MOJO’s 80 From The Eighties collects the 80 albums that reflect the newfound musical approach detailed by Marr. Edited by Pat Gilbert, the supplement features Joy Division, Dead Kennedys, David Bowie, Siouxsie And The Banshees, Elvis Costello, The Cure, AC/DC, Cocteau Twins, REM and more, and includes exclusive interviews with Soft Cell, Dexys Midnight Runners, The Happy Mondays, Iron Maiden, Adam And The Ants, Echo And The Bunnymen and several other key acts from the decade.

In celebration of The Smiths’ contribution to the decade that knew no bounds, MOJO4MUSIC.COM presents this clip of the band at the height of their powers performing Reel Around The Fountain in 1983. Check back tomorrow when we bring you another slice of ‘80s video gold in the run up to the issue itself.

Posted by Ross_Bennett at 12:53PM | 
MOJO’S MELTDOWN REPORT27 Jun 2007

Jamccrop This week, Jarvis Cocker’s Meltdown line-up united three acts on the comeback trail. Devo, The Stooges and The Jesus & Mary Chain clambered back onstage at London’s Royal Festival Hall, defying sciatica and decades of mutual antipathy, hoping to taste the sweet ambrosia of redemption. Would they fly as of yore or fall flat on their faces?

Click the MORE button for MOJO blogger Keith Cameron’s verdict.

Meltdown is an old hand at the reformation game. So coupled with the current era’s insatiable appetite for recycled versions of our young(er) days, it was no surprise to open Jarvis Cocker’s programme of events and see a plethora of legends, some more living than others. Last week I spent three nights on the South Bank to see if the cumulative effect of all this retroactivity was as inspirational as one imagines it’s intended to be.

As I’m going to write a review of Devo for the next issue of the magazine, I’ll consider Akron, Ohio’s nutty prefab five in more detail then. Suffice to say, this felt more like a fan-club convention than the return of bona fide music legends, perhaps because Devo, now as 30 years ago, are such an eccentric proposition. Even off the stage, cultish behaviour was much in evidence. I watched families queuing at the merchandise stall to buy Devo’s patented ‘energy domes’ at £18 a pop. A friend from Scotland whom I hadn’t seen for 10 years regaled me on the Royal Festival Hall terrace, announcing that he’d bought tickets and booked his train the minute he heard Devo were coming to the UK for the first time in 17 years. I can’t vouch for his sanity. But maybe that’s what De-evolution’s all about.

The Stooges, on the other hand, are thankfully un-evolved. It beggars belief that Iggy Pop is 60 years old. At worst he looks a slightly torn and frayed dude in his late thirties, hanging around with some seriously wonked-out ne’er-do-wells. If he’s consciously dumbing down in the company of the Asheton brothers, you have to say it suits him. It’s impossible not to imagine that this is the best The Stooges have ever been, at least in terms of pure sonic assault. Ron and Scott Asheton are doubtless well aware this could be their last chance to do this. As for bassist Mike Watt, the man’s a pure mensch: generous and committed as a group member, unselfish to a fault, a powerlode of reliability just over Iggy’s right shoulder at all times. Given the unwarranted critical savaging meted out to comeback album The Weirdness, it’s good to see My Idea Of Fun holding its own amid the conflagration of TV Eye, Dirt, 1970 et al, and although they must be wearied of being mis-billed as ‘Iggy & The Stooges’ at least the band is maintaining the historical hardline by not touching anything from Raw Power. That’s right: it could be even better, they could be playing Search And Destroy. But they don’t, because The Stooges have got class. What a privilege it’s been to see them.

Regardless of their other differences, at least the Asheton brothers had mutual feelings of disgruntlement at their harsh deal from Iggy to sustain them over the lean years. No such succour for Jim and William Reid. They were the stars of The Jesus And Mary Chain, and when they finally collided it was hard to envisage a reconciliation. So there’s a real frisson in the air at the Festival Hall. Jarvis makes the introductions from the Royal Box, mischievously noting that “a tidal wave of envy” is sweeping over Glastonbury, and then announcing: “The legendary Jesus And Mary Chain”. Who thereupon shamble on-stage in the time-honoured fashion and effect a pretty lame rendition of Never Understand. William Reid’s guitar sounds tinny, and Jim Reid looks even nervier than is his nervy norm. ’Twas ever thus, of course: the Mary Chain dealt in a fragile sort of power – the testosteroned grind manoeuvres of The Stooges were always beyond them. But shortly after the cocked up intro to Snakedriver things suddenly improve. The molten tones thicken up. Ironically, it’s a jaw-dropping version of Dead End Kids, a Jim Reid song he first performed with his post-JAMC outfit Freeheat, that suggests this is actually going to work. Thereafter, the high-points flood out: an awesome Blues From A Gun, the comic menace of Cracking Up, a version of Just Like Honey that takes three attempts to get going but is worth it nonetheless. They encore with Syd Barrett’s Vegetable Man, a sainted You Trip Me Up and then finally the death’s head spleen of Reverence – essentially I Wanna Be Your Dog with a worse attitude problem.

In the audience I can see Bobby Gillespie and Douglas Hart, who, for all the mixed emotions they must surely feel at seeing this highly approximated version of the group they formed, are clearly enraptured. Never mind a reformation: this must be what a resurrection feels like.

Keith Cameron

Posted by Danny Eccleston at 05:08PM | Leave a Comment (0)