Aug Stone talks to graphic designer, comics artist, and author Rian Hughes about his mammoth new book XX, punk rock, unique London nightclubs, book cover vs album sleeve design, and much more
Aug Stone talks to graphic designer, comics artist, and author Rian Hughes about his mammoth new book XX, punk rock, unique London nightclubs, book cover vs album sleeve design, and much more
Aug Stone talks to The Jangling Man himself, Martin Newell, about his upcoming reissue of The Off White Album, the new record he’s just recorded, writing a libretto for Rip Van Winkle, his thoughts on The Kinks, Slade, and White Reaper, the cluelessness of ‘the music biz’, and much more
Young Southpaw talks to musician and raconteur Mark Reeder about his film B Movie: Lust & Sound in West-Berlin 1979-1989, putting on Joy Division’s only Berlin gig, illegal punk rock shows behind the Wall in East Germany, and much more
IG: @ markreeder.mfs
Young Southpaw: You were Factory Record’s man in Berlin?
Mark Reeder: Well, I knew Joy Division, I knew Ian Curtis even before he was in a band. Rob Gretton, who became their manager, was a DJ at one of the clubs in Manchester. I used to work at a record shop and I’d supply these DJs with all their records, make suggestions and stuff. And when Joy Division actually made their first single, they came into the shop and asked me if I’d put it in the shop and sell it, which I did, of course. An Ideal For Living. So I knew the people who were involved, and I knew Tony Wilson as well. He’d come in every Saturday evening and ask me to put some records aside, any cool ones. So I got really involved with them. And when I moved to Germany, the first thing Rob Gretton said was ‘can I send you some records and you can send them to the radio stations and maybe we’ll get some airplay? You never know, we might get a gig.’ And no one was remotely interested (laughs) in this miserable band from Manchester. They didn’t care. We didn’t get any reaction at all.
YS: And you put on their one show in Berlin. What was that like?
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE TO FIND OUT
Young Southpaw talks to Dutch artist, Hanco Kolk, about his new Meccano book, Billy Wilder films, his soundtrack choices to suit his different working methods, and much more
Hanco Kolk: When I’m sketching, it’s different than when I’m inking. When I’m sketching I need to clear my head. There’s this little voice in my head that says ‘you’re never gonna be there. You’ve fooled the public for 30 years but now it’s over.’ So I have to have real loud music, just to put those ideas out of my head. But when I’m inking it’s just nice lines so different music, soundtracks mostly. I love Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone soundtracks. It has to be a bit theatrical, it has to be big. But when I’m sketching it could be hardcore rap, or metal, or anything. Anything that keeps my blood going.
Young Southpaw: What have you been listening to recently?
HK: A Dutch artist called Spinvis, who is a bit arty but his production is fantastic, his songs are great, and I really love his music. Sometimes you have music that you feel under your skin, like ‘oh yeah, this feels good’. This is that kind of music. He’s also a friend. We met when I was doing artwork for him. Apparently he always wanted to be a comic artist and I always wanted to make music so we live each other’s dreams. What I liked about him first time we met was I was working on artwork for a song of his that is really melancholic, a deep and poetic song, and he came in and took his guitar and made a carnival version of it. Someone who takes himself not too seriously, I love that. That’s how we became friends. Sometimes I draw live onstage with him and the band.
Young Southpaw chats to Aussie indie pop legend Mark Monnone about dressing up as KISS, the Lost & Lonesome Recording Co.’s incredible output, getting cassettes from the rubbish tip, his favourite albums of all-time, The Lucksmiths, and much more
Mark Monnone: When I met the guys in The Lucksmiths in high school, I really clicked with them. Even though musically it was probably a little bit different than what I was listening to. But it was getting together with people who were quite, I guess, organized and really keen to rehearse and just write songs as much as possible. Up until that point I was basically playing covers and trying to write a few of my own songs, but when I met Marty Donald in high school, he just had notebooks upon notebooks full of lyrics. And I was captivated by that whole aspect. I didn’t realize that people were actually dedicating all their free time to sitting around writing songs. So that was a turning point.
Young Southpaw: What stuff were you listening to then?
MM: Oh man, just like your mixed grab bag of teenage boy stuff. Jimi Hendrix, The Ramones, Rolling Stones, basically bands with great back catalogues that you could dive into. I was really into Creedence. The Kinks. A lot of 60s stuff. Whereas Marty was listening to more 80s indie pop stuff. A lot of The Smiths and Lloyd Cole. So that was interesting, being opened up to a different world of music as well.
YS: Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?
MM: Uh yeah (laughs). Ok so, when I was in about Year 7 or Year 8, through my sister again, I started listening to Midnight Oil. I’m not sure how much you know about Midnight Oil in the States but... So when I was about 13, 14, I sort of fancied myself as a bit of a political activist (laughs) and I got really into what Midnight Oil was espousing - land rights for indigenous people and nuclear disarmament, things like that so...I didn’t really understand the mechanics of it all, I just had this real surface level passion to fight the power. And I started writing a fair few horrible (laughs) sort of anthems. They were pretty terrible. I mean I’m sort of embarrassed to even tell you that much. I think the lowest point, and my friends bring this up occasionally, was one song that was called ‘Butcher Baker Uranium Miner’ (laughs) and it was just really horrific.
Young Southpaw talks to Peter Coviello about his upcoming book ‘Vineland Reread’ and the wonderful - very funny and very prescient - world of Thomas Pynchon’s novels
Buy the book - https://cup.columbia.edu/book/vineland-reread/9780231185219
Peter Coviello: As you know, there’s a certain kind of dude who would, like, push Pynchon on you, you know? As a dude who knew a lot and had a lot of information and things like that. And those were not always my dudes. So I was sort of wary. You know what I mean? There’s a certain quality of a very dude-ish delectation around Pynchon that was not really my thing. And so you’re heard of him because you’re in school and you’re reading things, but then after graduation a clutch of my friends had moved to Chicago, I’d moved away and I came back and I got to see them. That was a tremendous joy in the way of being 23, and seeing your friends that you haven’t seen for years, so you’re drunk all the time and you’re just very happy to see each other. And what I realized with this set of friends - John, Laura, and Enrique - is that they’d all been reading this one book. And that book was ‘Vineland’. They were just delighted by it in the way like the way that you’d be delighted by a record. They just wanted to talk about it, and they wanted to fight about like what track was coolest, and I was like ‘alright’. So the first Pynchon I read was ‘Vineland’, which was shattering to me not because I understood it or anything, I just thought it was so funny. There hadn’t been a book I’d read where I had laughed so hard and so self-endangeringly, I thought I was going to rupture something internal. After that I read ‘The Crying Of Lot 49’, which, of course, is smaller and easier to digest and funny. And then I went back to ‘Vineland’. And then it lifted off from there. But ‘Vineland’ was really my first immersive experience. And it was with a handful of other people and that was a way to stay close to them. It was totally like how you fight about a record when it came out. And this was 1994, we had lots of records to fight about, 23 years old as we were.
Young Southpaw chats with writer Jeremy Allen about his excellent upcoming Serge Gainsbourg biography, Relax Baby Be Cool. We talk about his meetings with Jane Birkin, Anna Karina, and Mick Harvey, amongst others, for his research. There was so much to cover it us took 38 minutes to get to ‘Je T’aime...’
Jeremy Allen: He was so musically voracious, and acquisitive. He stole from everywhere. And for me, it’s probably that point, from writing about Serge, that I really got into jazz, and I’ve been getting into reggae more. It’s almost like Serge is the touchpoint and I’ve gone further into some of the stuff that he got into, that I probably should have got into before, really. Everything he did really, he kind of stole from black music and Frenchified it. Jazz, to begin with. Then he goes through his rock n roll period, he gets quite into the yé-yé writing, and he does it in a quite cynical way, actually. I guess the only time when he’s sort of listening to white music is when he’s copying swinging Carnaby Street, which is coming from America anyway, coming from rock n roll and rhythm & blues and all that sort of thing. Also, he made an album called Percussions where he ripped off a load of drum beats from Olatunji, this famous Nigerian drummer. It was very naughty because he didn’t credit him or tell him, but he built songs around his rhythms. And then he does reggae... So he did this throughout his career, stealing from black music. And from classical music - Chopin, Ravel, Dvořák...
It was very meta, very Dada-ist. I don’t think many people had done that in music at that time. If you listen to a song like ‘Contact’ by Brigitte Bardot - just listen to that song! - it was made in 1968 and it’s like techno thirty years too early. It’s incredible, it blows my mind! You just think ‘wow’, he’s looping, and he’s playing with musique concrète. He was working with Colombier at the time, who had been working with Pierre Schaeffer, I think, so maybe that was where that influence came in. Serge was brilliant at finding people to work with. That’s a real gift. Bowie had it, Madonna for a while, though maybe not so much in recent years. But it’s a real talent in itself to find the right people to work with. But Serge also made all this great music, all this varied music, and right at the center of it was him so he knew what he was doing.
Young Southpaw chats to comedian and Whose Line Is It Anyway? star Greg Proops about late 70s concert adventures, life in London, Glasgow audiences, AC/DC, James Bond, and much more
Greg Proops: I saw AC/DC in 1978. My cousin Donny and I drove down to San José. They weren’t headlining, if you can believe this. It was Ronnie Montrose. Ronnie Montrose with Gamma, this was after he was in Montrose with Sammy Hagar. AC/DC was the middle act, and that’s who we went to see. We dressed up at my house and I still have pictures of us, Polaroids. I found them again in my garage during the beginning of the containment, cause I was going through everything. We’re being total idiots in the pictures and I’m wearing like a tweed jacket and a long scarf, and Donny’s got a ruffled shirt on. So on the way down we’re smoking weed and Donny goes ‘let’s just pretend to be English the whole time and see if we can fool those motorheads’. And I’m like ‘I’ll do it’. So we get there, we put on these cod English accents, and everybody’s talking to us and asking us about England. And we’re just lying, right? (adopts British accent) ‘oh yeah, Brighton, yeah, it’s great’. So that was 45 minutes in line of just pretending. And because we looked so fruitopian, everybody was like ‘ok’.
So AC/DC comes on and they were just sensational. They’re one of the best rock outfits. The first time I saw The Clash, The Ramones, and AC/DC were the most straight ahead fury. And really good. Bon had no shirt, the tightest jeans in the world, tennis shoes. Angus came out with the schoolboy uniform, the whole thing, with the bag and everything. And of course that’s shed, one by one by one. And there was no chanting ‘Angus’ in those days but we knew who he was. And the part of the show that blew everyone’s minds was, one, their attack. Phil, Malcolm, and Cliff in the back, then Bon up front with Angus as satellite. And they came at you. Angus never stopped banging his head. At a certain point you’re like ‘you must have brain damage’. So then Angus and Bon disappear from the stage and it’s just the three of them banging away. And everyone’s like ‘huh? what has happened?’ Cut to - great commotion towards the front of the stage. He had a sneaky cordless guitar with a radio transmitter, which was like unbelievably high tech in those days. This is the 70s. And Bon is carrying Angus on his shoulders like a child, and Angus is furiously headbanging, screaming away a solo, and he comes right through the crowd. Like the circus, like vaudeville. And people were just like (screams) ‘YES!’ It was the most awesome thing. Better than pyrotechnics. There were no flash pots, nothing. They were a straight, stripped down band with crappy lighting. And it was really exciting. Cause they’re rock n roll. And then Ronnie Montrose came on and we split. To show our contempt for him never being able to follow how awesome AC/DC were.
So cut to the 90s, I’m drunk and I’m in England. I come home late and we’ve just gotten cable. They didn’t get cable until the 90s in England. So now we’ve got all these channels, and there was one channel that just showed old shows. And I’m kinda high, I’ve come home from a gig, I turn on the TV and it’s AC/DC from 1978, at a U.K. university. And as I watch, I realize I saw this set. It was very exciting.
Greg Proops: When I was seven, I had to go to Sunday School that year for some reason. My mother got a notion that it would be real important for me to get some churchin’. They bought me a little navy blue suit, with a white shirt and this clip-on tie. I’d wear it to church with dress shoes. And then when church was over in the afternoon, I’d go ‘can I keep the suit on? I just need to wear it for the rest of the day.’ Then I’d get my Star Trek tracer gun and (sings James Bond theme), all around the apartment building, in the pool, just shooting other kids with the tracer gun. But when you have the suit on, my small mind equated James Bond, Sean Connery, the suit, the gun, it was what you could aspire to be as a seven-year-old. A friend of my dad’s bought me the James Bond kit, this attaché that opened up, a knife came out one end, then there was a radio that turned into a machine gun, and a camera that turned into a Luger. That was pretty hot stuff.
Young Southpaw: What’s your favourite Bond theme?
GP: I’m partial to ‘Thunderball’, only because it’s not popular and no one ever plays it. The words are kinda weird, but I love how Tom Jones sings it. I think the two best are Shirley Bassey ones - ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Diamonds Are Forever’. ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ is a classy little song. I was glad they brought her back a bunch of times, that was great. The other one I really love is ‘License To Kill’. Because it has nothing to do with Bond at all, it’s just so awesome that they got Gladys Knight to do it..... There’s a curry on Dean Street in London that we always ate at, right around the corner from Whose Line’s executive offices. It was cheap and shitty, and we’d just guzzle beer because it was open late, the only places you could get beer late in the those days. I think the only record they had was the album of ‘License To Kill’. Cause every 15-20 minutes you heard ‘License To Kill’. And the first time we went there, my English friend Paul pointed out to me that on every single chorus Gladys Knight goes ‘I’ve got a license to kilt’. So have a listen, cause I’m pretty sure she does.
Young Southpaw chats to Henry Kaiser about his phenomenal new record A Love Supreme Electric, Coltrane & Miles, Thomas Pynchon, guitars on Antarctica, and much more
Henry Kaiser: I really got into music in high school. I think it was the San Francisco music scene, the kind of live gigs we could go to. We could go and see all kinds of great Indian music at the Ali Akbar College Of Music, go to all-night concerts of Indian music. We’d go to The Avalon, Winterland, and The Fillmore and see amazing things. Amazing bills that Bill Graham would book, where he’d put on B.B. King, Charles Lloyd, and Love, something like that. So I just got to see a lot of music, there was underground radio, there was non-commercial radio. I heard 20th century classical music, experimental music. And I fell in love with enjoying music as a consumer in high school. I didn’t start playing guitar until I got to college. Got a guitar in 1971. November 1st. Then I became a producer instead of just a consumer, slowly.
Young Southpaw: Was there something in particular that made you want to pick up a guitar?
HK: Three experiences that happened in the same week made me want to pick up a guitar. I heard an album called Topography Of The Lungs with Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, and Hann Bennink, and I could identify - like Derek Bailey was talking directly to me with his guitar. And I went to a really great John Fahey concert, in a high school auditorium where he played for three hours, played his whole repertoire. And then right after that, I went to a Captain Beefheart concert at Tufts University in Massachusetts. Fred MacDowell was opening. This was before The Spotlight Kid was released, and they played that material. And Elliot Ingber, ‘Winged Ell Fingerling’, guitarist who has also been in The Mothers with Frank Zappa, played the best, most exciting, moving guitar solo I’d ever heard in my life on an instrumental called ‘Alice In Blunderland’. And I went out and bought a guitar the next day. And I still have that guitar. It’s a black telecaster. Actually, I just made a video show about my first three guitars that went up on Thanksgiving. It’s at the Cuneiform Records YouTube page. It’s called ‘A Thanksgiving For Guitars’.
Young Southpaw chats with sunshine pop maestro Louis Philippe about his new record ‘Thunderclouds’, his backing band The Night Mail, the legendary él and Humbug record labels, and much more, with LP offering great insight into his creating such wonderful music.
Young Southpaw: Your press release calls the album ‘the autumnal side of sunshine pop’. Which is a great phrase.
Louis Philippe: It’s not mine (laughs). Or maybe it was, I can’t remember. 'Autumnal' was actually a good word, I think, to choose for the record.
YS: I know I associate certain bands and albums with certain seasons. Do you find that yourself?
LP: Yep. If you say ‘autumnal’, The Clientele are very much a band that I associate with that season. With the spring, I would associate like Roger Nichols & The Small Circle of Friends, which is something which is a little bit niche but there you go. The Meters would be summery. Because obviously you would go for The Beach Boys for summer, yeah, but not all of the Beach Boys are summer, some of the Beach Boys are actually winter. Some of the more experimental stuff. But yes, I associate music with seasons. I wouldn’t go straight into thinking ‘oh yes, of course, this is a January record. This is a March record’. But yes. It’s not forcing to associate a record or a type of music with a time of the year. Not at all. And autumn for some reason seems to be more evocative than other seasons, when it comes to music. I think it’s because in pop there’s always a solar, a sunshine element. But most great pop - I’m not saying my record is great, it is great, but that’s not what I’m saying - there’s an element of melancholy and nostalgia. This is like the leaves turning, and the days shortening, and a different kind of warmth. So yes, I suppose that autumn really fits in very well with my idea of pop.
YS: Evokes twilight as well.
LP: Yep. Actually there’s even a song on the record which is about twilight. The song ‘The Mighty Owl’, which is the owl of Minerva, which only comes out when it gets dark.
(listen to the end to hear ‘The Mighty Owl’)