Aug 072009

This thread won’t apply to everybody. For younger record nerds who have come of age in an era when downloads of just about any obscure album can be found for free on the web if you search long enough, there’s little risk in accumulating all the mp3s your heart desires. The anxieties that older rock nerds have experienced may not ring true. It must be nice.

Some of you have already walked down the endless path of the hardcore record collector. There’s no stopping you now, and if that’s the case, more power to you! A part of me wishes I hadn’t been scared off this path, but I was, by two once hard-to-find purchases I made when I was 18: a bootleg of the Sex Pistols‘ last show at San Francisco’s Winterland and Iggy Pop and The Stooges‘ semi-bootleg document of that band’s last show, Metallic K.O. As I said, today you could probably download these albums in the comfort of your home in less than 20 minutes. In 1981, a teenage boy without much cash to spare had to make a great investment of time and money to locate these albums and bring them home, with no opportunity to sample selected tracks for free on some blog. What if this bootleg I’m tempted to spend $20 on sucks? What if I hear more of the dude who illegally taped the show hooting and hollering for his favorite songs than I do the band?

Worse yet: What if the bootleg was a dreaded, DOA board mix, with little more than vocals and kick drum?
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Jul 062008

In round-robin fashion, let’s share our rock ‘n roll regrets. I’ll start. Your regrets do not have to mirror my initial example in form or content. The regret could be over the buying of a particular album, like one of those Style Council lps. The regret could be about a public expression of rock beliefs among the wrong crowd. Just be honest.

I regret not buying Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols on vinyl within a few years of its release. For years I was content to listen to friends’ and roomates’ copies, saving my precious few dollars for buying other records that no one in my circle of friends owned. Then, by the time I felt I should own the album myself, CDs were out and I didn’t want to be confused with some yuppie asshole who was coming late to the party. Cool record store clerks keep track of that stuff, you know. To this day I do not own Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. I keep thinking I’ll find a used, worn copy at some out of the way location, where my latecomer purchase may not be recognized and reported by The Cool Patrol.

Feb 082008

I’ve been everywhere, man.

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!”

Chris Spedding, “Motorbikin'”

I first read his name in college as I became enamored with Brian Eno’s Here 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 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.


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