Monday, February 14, 2011


The mother in law was in town so I felt obligated to stick around. But when Saturday night arrived, I disappeared for a few hours, retreating to the darkness outside, truck stereo cranked, entering that far off land in a different timezone that a measured flask of tequila takes me.

I received a CD from a friend, asking I take a listen to determine whether I may like the music. First up this evening was a little over a dozen songs played by Gang of Four, 10 off Solid Gold, their second studio album released in March 1981, and five off Another Day/ Another Dollar, an EP released in 1982.

Loved the guitar work on these two albums, and there were times where the band had a Talking Heads feel to them. Now I've got to search and find a few good quality live recordings to see whether that magic carries through to the stage.

Wikipedia describes Gang of Four as such:

Gang of Four are an English post-punk group from Leeds. Original personnel were singer Jon King, guitarist Andy Gill, bass guitarist Dave Allen and drummer Hugo Burnham. They were fully active from 1977 to 1984, and then re-emerged twice in the 1990s with King and Gill. In 2004, the original line-up reunited but in November 2006 Allen was replaced on bass by Thomas McNeice and Burnham on drums by Mark Heaney.

They play a stripped-down mix of punk rock, with strong elements of funk music, minimalism and dub reggae and an emphasis on the social and political ills of society. Gang of Four are widely considered one of the leading bands of the late 1970s/early 1980s post-punk movement. Their later albums (Songs of the Free and Hard) found them softening some of their more jarring qualities, and drifting towards dance-punk and disco. Their debut album, Entertainment!, ranked at Number 490 in Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. David Fricke in Rolling Stone said "Gang of Four are probably the best politically motivated band in rock & roll."

Throw him off their back
Their will can't be overcome
Pyramids crumble

Ideas that take root
Cracking rock they penetrate
From small seeds they grow

Download the two albums here:

As has been the case these last several months, the highlight of the evening was Nirvana, performing live on June 26, 1992 at the Roskilde Festival in Roskilde, Denmark. Excellent quality soundboard recording. The only thing it lacked was Kurt talking to the audience. Silence. Don't know if this was because of his state of mind or the way the show was edited. I suspect the former, based on what is described below.

From Kurt St. Thomas' book, Nirvana, The Chosen Rejects:

Good news wasn't hard to come by for Nirvana as the band prepared to depart for its ten-day 1992 European tour in June.

However, suspicions of Kurt Cobain's drug addiction had begun to fester, causing subtle rifts in the Nirvana camp. In an interview with New Musical Express magazine, Kurt denied suggestions that he had a heroin addiction.

June 23, 1992, a rainy and gloomy day, began with a terrifying episode: Kurt collapsed in convulsions over breakfast. After an uninspired gig at the Point Depot in Dublin, Ireland, the night before, Kurt had forgotten to take the methadone pills he had been taking to battle his increasing heroin dependence. The press was all over the story, some attributing the incident to a drug overdose. Nirvana's management doused the story with unwavering denials, and the tour continued uninterrupted later that evening at King's Hall in Belfast.

The Breeders and Teenage Fan Club opened the show in front of more than ten thousand screaming fans, but before Nirvana hit the stage, Kurt clashed with overenthusiastic security guards. A report for Select magazine saw the frightful-looking lead singer nibbling on food that night, his hair dyed deathly white. Wearing glasses to disguise himself, Kurt looked like a ghost. The reporter asked him about drugs, but Kurt again denied his heroin use.

Nevertheless, after the gig, Kurt was rushed to a local hospital with abdominal pains. He was suffering from what doctors called stomach ulcers, due partly to the strain put on his abdomen from his ferocious vocal technique and partly due to his unwavering diet of junk food.

Download it here:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A note for readers who like the Go4 guitar: Andy Gill has noted his style was inspired by the wild razorcut riffing of Wilko Johnson, first guitarist with UK pubrockers Dr Feelgood - Down by the Jetty, Malpractice and Stupidity are key CDs to find! Cheers, Dave Sez.