Oats wrote, in response to a write-in answer on our current poll:
I’d like to hear more from the Eno-haters who voted in the current poll.
Me too! I don’t think anyone doubts the depth and sincerity of your feelings, but I believe Oats and I are not alone in wanting to hear more about how you arrived at this conclusion, the criteria you feel Eno does not meet for “greatness,” and so forth. Please share. Some may bark, but we will ensure against biting. In fact, we’ve decided to grant to any Townsperson stepping forward in support of his or her poll answer.
I think I can safely say, We look forward to your responses.
At the risk of having this large chunk of rock stride the pond and pummel me with his Flying V, I can’t help but think of Chris Spedding as “The Forest Gump of Rock.”
It seems unflattering, but I really don’t intend it that way. I’m not thinking of him as a borderline short-busser with high-water slacks. I’m thinking of him as a dude who has participated in an AMAZING amount of rock history and yet, other than weirdos like us, he’s fairly unknown. (At least in the US of A.)
“It will be a cold day in hell before you get me to work with Zwol!”
I first read his name in college as I became enamored with Brian Eno’sHere Come the Warm Jets and saw his name on the back as playing on “Needle in the Camel’s Eye” and the “Paw Paw Negro Blow Torch”. I had no idea then and not much more of one until recently that this guy has done a wee bit more than that.
Early on Spedding, with his band Battered Ornaments, played THE Hyde Park concert in 1969 that featured the debut of the Brian Jones-less Rolling Stones. Bridge that with being the producer on The Sex Pistols demos and you start to get an idea of the breadth of experience here.
He has worked with so many amazing people that I’ll only list one for each letter of the alphabet (except x, y & z): Laurie Anderson, Ginger Baker, John Cale, Donovan, Drifters, David Essex, Bryan Ferry, Art Garfunkle, Nicky Hopkins, Kris Ife, Elton John, Dave Kubinec (featuring fifth Rutle Ollie Halsall), John Lodge, Paul McCartney, Harry Nilsson, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Pretenders, Dee Dee Ramone, Dusty Springfield, Johnny Thunders, Vibrators, Tom Waits.
His story is pretty damn cool and there’s some great stuff on his website chrisspedding.com and a 2006 biography, aptly titled Reluctant Guitar Hero, so I won’t belabor it. Rather I’ll just let the man speak for himself as he responds to our questions.
I’m stepping out from behind the door of The Back Office, this one time. And yeah, I know, “the computer guy likes Devo”, ha ha ha. In my highschool there were freaks (outcast, tough kid, pot smokers), geeks (outcast, wimpy-smart kids), and jocks. I was a geek for sure (albeit a film-making, pot-smoking one.) We had an overlap outcast thing with the freaks and oddly our groups coupled more than once. When punk emerged, I felt a place for myself as both an outcast and a geek. And if you look at early Talking Heads, XTC, Modern Lovers, and others, the scene originally had a place for the outcast, arty, geeks.
But unlike Talking Heads, XTC, et al, Devo was more than a band. They were a satirical pop-art piece: aural, visual, conceptual. The whole is better than the sum of the parts. No argument. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t put out some cool tunes that stand up and more than perform their duty now for the future. Continue reading »