Bit of a random mix today.
Momus has just released a new album, Pantaloon. As usual the wordplay is astonishing. I also love the fact that there’s a home-made video for each song. He doesn’t go for big productions, just an imaginative and effective use of home-shot and stock footage. Minimal budget but it shows what can be done with a little vision.
Seems he’s moved back from Osaka to Berlin.
The old polymath is also all over Twitter with a series of vlogs where he sounds off in erudite fashion about many topics e.g. why he won’t be buying the new MacBook. All in a strange secondhand poncho.
I’ve recently been indulging my love of doing cover versions. A friend in Glasgow who’s putting together a charity album of Bowie covers by various artists invited me to contribute. I recorded a ‘different’ version of Queen Bitch from Hunky Dory. He then sent me a version of ‘Heroes’ that he was working on, and invited me to replace his vocal with mine. I did, but didn’t think it was any better than his, so I just took his track and beefed up the backing a bit. My Sustainer guitar was born for this song! I’m not going to pre-empt the release of Bowie Cover Ups by putting these tracks here, but when it’s released I’ll be crowing about it.
I’ve also started a ridiculous vanity project of doing versions of songs that encapsulate periods of my life, a sort of musical photo album, beginning with Catch A Falling Star by Perry Como. This isn’t a top priority project so who knows, I’ll probably give up at age 8, but you never know.
In a recent email, I asked music friends (it feels a bit pretentious to say ‘fans’) about covers they’d like to hear me do. Results so far:
- May You Never by John Martyn
- When You Rock and Roll With Me by Bowie
- Ballad Of A Thin Man by Dylan
Plus two singer-songwriter friends saying I should do their songs!
Scott Basham pointed me to this regular FB Live broadcast of videos where Colin Gordon plays covers requested by people on a JustGiving page for a charity called Reverse Rett. Scott was a guest on Colin’s show and that may be something I’ll look to try.
Covers and Momus
Why the title? Because I’ve been working on my Christmas single, for once not the blessed Christmas Revolution. I’m working on a version of Momus’s haunting Christmas On Earth. I’d hoped it would be ready this week but events have intervened so it … isn’t. But soon
Dave Clark’s car crash
With no connection other than the fact that I’m the same person, here’s a story I found in an old Mojo that really tickled me.
Remember the Dave Clark Five? Glad All Over? For a short time in 1964, and had hits through to 1967. The Dave Clark Five got their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame moment of glory some years ago so they didn’t do too shabbily.
What I learned from this article is that Dave Clark was wise enough to buy out the rights to all his master recordings in the 60s, something most of his peers never managed to do. This gave him an income stream over the decades. One of the reasons most musicians didn’t achieve this independence from record companies, apart from being doped out and not having any inkling people would still be listening 50 years later, is that it was expensive. EMI wanted to charge him a huge amount to own his own recordings. However Dave hadn’t quite given up the day job – as a stunt man for TV and film!
‘I went to them and said we’d pay for it all so we could be independent, though I didn’t know where we would find the money. By pure luck I got a gig crashing a car as a stuntman. It’s nothing heroic, the car’s got rollbars, you’re strapped in, you go up a ramp and turn over, it’s all quite choreographed. It’s a piece of cake, really. I got 100 quid a night, it was a night call. That first £300 paid for the first record.’
Mojo April 2015 p44
There you are. Momus and Dave Clark on the same page, same day. They said it couldn’t be done.