I love the hot nights in Arizona. Can we get that installed in San Francisco?, thanks. Tonight was perhaps my favorite show with the Furs so far. Not only am i loving the set right now but the sound on that big wooden stage was so full of life and well balanced that it boosted everything for my playing; everything felt powerful, tight rhymically but loose in feel. And there was great feedback when i needed it – thank you Orange, thank you Silvertone. Every show is different for each band member but this was electric for me. up there with the other weird favorites i have: Belgium, Glasgow, Indianapolis, Hollywood… Nice people here too.
Oh and i switched to a red shirt. That was probably what did it.
Followed with a round across the street at the Hotel Congress (where The Pleased rocked aided by Devendra and Joanna all those years ago) with My Jerusalem. Good night.
My Jerusalem sounded incredible tonight. The beauty of these slick, overly digital modern rooms is that if you have they can sound great if you have the right person on the mixer. The house guy did a fine job for MJ and it really captured all the nuance in Jeff’s vocal delivery. I could hear people in the audience remarking on it as they blew the place apart. Not bad for a band that just did 1200 miles in the last two days (the last 100 miles without air conditioning in the van. Good job y’all.
I’ve never done a tv show before. Except a tiny thing for a Berkeley local station with the Please back in 2002. Actually i must dig that footage up and digitize it sometime. That was lo-fi but they gave us control of the set and so we used a load of Tahiti Pehrson’s are as our backdrop. Good stuff.
Today was a different vibe. Vegas local Channel 5. Quite relaxed at the Gibson Showroom – just a couple of people manning some seemingly state of the art cameras and recording equipment. We had free reign to use the guitars/amps etc…I was prepared to be lost without my gear but I ended up loving the 3rd Power amp and Blue Non-Reverse Firebird. Now i want yet another guitar. Thanks for that. Anyway, we did Pretty in Pink and Little Miss World and you can see em over here:
Shame about the bright lighting but i guess that’s TV right… knew i should’ve worn the warpaint.
Now i’m up on the 16th floor watching it live. They left out the part where anchorwoman asked me about my upcoming art exhibition in NYC.
I love playing with the Furs. I still enjoy playing Love My Way every night because its a well arranged song with a mysterious lyrical core that still pushes my buttons. It broods, it swings and most importantly, it has that untouchable ambience that gets under your skin no matter how many times you hear its familiar melody. That’s the magic of music at work. Heartbreak Beat, which some hardcore fans dismiss as a lightweight pop hit is also a beautifully put together piece of ambience – i put it in the same period record stack as In the Air Tonight, Lets Dance or Rio. As a music-snob Its easy to dismiss pop songs perhaps because of their natural wide audience appeal, sometime lack of lyrical depth or their effortlessness in how they get under your skin. Love them or loath them they are really tiny 3 minute masterpieces that make people happy. And their longevity is bulletproof to your snobbery. Care to argue with Satisfaction, anyone?
Sidetracked. That’s actually not what i wanted to write about. In fact, quite the opposite.
There’s another side of the Psychedelic Furs which is so interesting because of just how brutal and exploratory it is. Absolutely unconcerned with the all of the above mentioned qualities but rather with a lust for the moment. The first album especially captures this ethic; the songs are musically rudimentary but artistic, angular and pretty unhinged. The recording sounds live and probably is… I know a lot of the first album songs came out of jams that were refined, although not overly so; there’s still this feeling of everyone just getting to grips with the arrangement or the parts/improvisation. I’m not sure whether Soap Commercial is the same but the Peel Sessions version differs a little (well, guitar parts) from the first album so perhaps it was a jam; i’ll have to ask the Tim Butler encyclopaedia about that. But this song has the perfect balance of dark lyrical ruthlessness from Richard that is only, and could only be served by the band matching him at every turn. The no frills melody and unrelenting drive is as unhinged as anything the Pistols ever did, but to me, way stronger because the Furs had the stepped away from blues as the reference point. Their progressions were darker, the three-chord-trick more menacing and more fucking interesting.’Scuse my french. And sorry Mr Lydon; its ok you went on to do PiL – good job.
To me, the Soap Commercial concoction makes for a beautifully raw three-minute wave of musical and lyrical passion that is capped with the tense, hanging chorus that Joy Division would’ve wished they’d come up with. And let’s face it, lyrically this song is perhaps even more apt today.
So, to attempt to tie-up my ramble (did i back myself in to a corner of ‘what is pop?’) its a perfect pop song just like Anarchy in the UK, just like In the Air Tonight, just like Love my Way. How cool that music can speak such different languages but still give you goosebumps in the same way? In my world Soap Commercial is the bands biggest hit and i’ve been dying to play it since i joined up. Yesterday i played it right after Heartbreak Beat. If you watch this video of its first live airing for many years, you’ll hear, despite the pretty rough quality, how it still captures the heart of this young fan. And that is what music is all about.
Canyon Club, Agora Hills. I think this is the best set we’ve had since i was invited to play with the Furs. It flows so well. I’m completely excited. If the wind picked up it could have been very different…