Happy Birthday Scott Walker!

9 01 2013

Scott_Walker_2

 

You know, I could rant about my love for Scott Walker until I ran out of words and time escaped me; and I wanted to go to sleep. I’ll keep it short, and try to explain my love for Scott in a non-ranting kind of way. I do feel I will mess it up. It’s alright. I must remind myself that no one will see this.

Of course The Walker Brothers were one of the best bands ever. Timeless and divine. Scott Walker’s voice is out of this world. Has anyone else managed to do what he does? No. Has anyone else possessed a voice like that? No. Could anyone else make a record like Bish Bosch and still be taken seriously? No. Bish Bosch is fucking insane. It is mental, completely mental. And I loved it so. The lyrics are genius and mad. That’s just Scott though.

I have a story to tell about Scott.

I was raised on The Walker Brothers, and I dabbled in Scott’s solo work. Scott and Scott 4 are my favourites. I think I’d put Bish Bosch there just because of how mental it is. Anyway, a few years ago I was miserable and living in a shit place. That shit place was sadly, Stoke On Trent. The only good thing about it was that it was easy to escape to Manchester or London. I thought I could hack it, I thought I could get a job and get out. I ended up being a boomerang between there and where I am now. I have never felt at home anywhere. I have never felt like I belonged anywhere. Maybe I never will; and it partly why I don’t get attached to objects and why I am so far from being materialistic, because one day I hope to leave it all behind and start my life. For real. But I am 26 and I fear it will never happen for me. I am made up of mistakes, false starts and a want to just make something of myself. I fail even when I think I’ve done alright.

So I was struggling. Nothing was working. I wasn’t working. I was stuck. I feared I was going to be thrown out of where I was living at any point, so I never said a word about the broken washing machine or the leaking bath. I had nothing, but I carried one.

One day I got a package from my mum. A care-package I guess. I opened it, and in the parcel was a photo of Morrissey and Scott Walker’s debut record. All I did that day was listen to Scott Walker. I wandered around and just listened to Scott Walker. That debut record means more to me than anyone will ever know.

So a very Happy Birthday to Scott Walker. You gave this hopeless case some kind of lifeline.





Top 10 Male Singers (of all time..sort of.)

13 10 2012

I frequently have internal battles with myself about my favourite songs and records of all time. I place them into categories to make it easier, such as Favourite Debut Record of All Time to BEST SONG EVER PART 1 OF 100. Stuff like that you know? But earlier, I managed to come up with a solid list of my favourite male singers of all time. I basically narrowed it down to singers that were around before I was born because if I did recent ones, I’d firmly place Brandon Welchez from Crocodiles as my number 1. Maybe I’ll do a list for that.

So, I’m going to attempt to list my favourite male singers of all time (that existed before I was born..I was born in ’86. The golden era of Hip Hop.) Of course I may change my mind at some point, but hopefully I won’t fret and lose sleep over this. I’m a born worrier; but I keep it well hidden. Obviously I’ve just admitted to it, so it’s not a secret. Oh well.

10. David Johansen (New York Dolls.) I hate that I’ve had to put this in order because I want to jumble it all around. However, the love I have for David Johansen goes beyond him being my number 10. What I love about him is his flamboyant style and distinctive drawl. I remember my mum playing their first record round the house when I was younger. I didn’t know it was the Dolls but I was hooked on Jet Boy. I probably used to sing it, and get the words mixed up. Nothing has changed. Into my teenage years, I saw a copy of their debut record at my uncle’s. I was drawn to the cover, and I always stand by it being my favourite album cover ever. The sheer beauty of it just drew me in straight away. Utterly gorgeous. So, what is it about David Johansen that makes me adore him? I think he’s one of the best front-men of all time. His charisma and charm just leaves you in awe. The way he moves makes you want to emulate him in a dramatic fashion. He’s one of a kind, and undoubtedly inspired so many to express themselves in a way no one else dared to do so.

9. Townes Van Zandt. My love for Townes started only a few years ago, and it wasn’t his voice that got me hooked. Before I even heard his voice, I read his lyrics. His lyrics were that of a troubled soul. You couldn’t help but connect with him, yet at the same time feel uncomfortable that you connected with his words. Then when you heard his voice, you TRULY got all the pain. Some singers become actors and don’t believe in what they do. Some just want the money. With the likes of Townes, you could tell that music was everything to him. His life was dependant on making music. It didn’t really matter how the listener felt; he just needed to get it all out. We all need an outlet, music is one of the most powerful ones. Townes possessed a unique voice that no matter what, just sounded so vulnerable. He didn’t have to put on an act; everything about him was truthful. At times some of his songs became too painful to listen to, but at best- you just knew someone else understood some of the perils of every day life.

8. Nick Cave. Some singers you remember falling in love with, because it just stays with you for the rest of time. Nick Cave is a prime example of that. My gran used to look after me when I was younger, before I went to primary school. Before chewed up and spat out my soul. Or you know, before I ate paint and sobbed before swimming lessons. My uncle used to live with her in this house, and I always remembered going to his room when he was at work and staring at a poster of Nick Cave on one of the walls in his room. I’d stare at it in utter awe. I don’t know what my toddler mind was thinking, but it was fixated on this person. I felt like I was looking at something untouchable. I guess I knew of Nick Cave’s genius before I even heard his voice or read his lyrics. Fast forward to about 10 years old and I’m hearing Into My Arms and Henry Lee on MTV. Something was happening in my mind. I knew exactly what it was. I knew what I wanted to be. A writer. I wanted to write words like this; but the thing is, no one can write like Nick Cave. The man is a genius. Sure enough his vocals may not be to everyone’s taste, but his lyrics…I fail to find a song that anyone couldn’t relate to. Everything about him just makes you want to expand your mind and explore other worlds.

7. Leonard Cohen. One of the greatest writers of all time regardless of genre. Leonard Cohen and Morrissey were the two song-writers that truly made me care about words. Poets such as Poe and Rimbaud got me hooked on words too. But these two singers just made me see everything in the world in a different way. The darkness and love and romance of everything around us was made clearer by them. Leonard Cohen for me just creates a different world. A world that is free of everything but full of questions. I think that’s a good way to live. It’s hard to live that way, but it gets you through. I always place Leonard Cohen as a poet before anything else, but his voice is so powerful. Some may seek singers that hit high notes and have a stupid range. I don’t want that. I want you to sing in a way that makes me feel like you are telling a story to my soul. Leonard Cohen does this, and so much more. I’ve many reasons as to why I adore him, that’s just one of them. I don’t think I could put the rest into words to be honest.

6. Otis Redding. I’ve found a pattern in the singers I love; they all basically sing songs about loss and pain. I’m a cheerful soul. Of all the Soul singers in the world that have existed, it was Otis Redding that I truly found a life-long love for. Everything about his voice makes you wish you were around when he was starting out. Imagine being one of the first to have heard his voice all those decades ago. His sad songs could break the hardest of hearts, but his joyful songs could bring tears of happiness to your eyes. He had the power to make you feel every single word he sang. He died far too young, everyone knows that. And I also think most know that Otis, although he had a short career, he was truly one of the best. I’ve got a bit of an issue with the term “Soul” music because all music should come from there and you should feel music right in your soul, but regardless- Otis oozed more soul than most.

5. Joey Ramone. No idea how to get into writing about Joey because let’s face it- he possessed the greatest voice in Punk. The way he towered over the mic stand. Pulling it to and fro like a man under a spell made you want to start something of your own. Easily one of the most distinctive voices of all time. His voice was like no other. His stage presence has obviously been an inspiration to many over the years. From how he stood to how he dressed. He wasn’t just part of a band, he was part of a movement that fuelled the souls of so many lost people. Myself included, and also justifies why I was born in the wrong era. To be in New York in the 70s would have been perfect. What do we have now? Of course we do have wonderful things, but imagine being part of one of the most powerful movements in music (and possibly society.) One of my most prized possession are my Ramones records. I rarely play them as I don’t want to ruin them; but when I do, I can truly hear all they stood for. Joey was the voice for so many, and you know what, he still is.

4. Lou Reed. I’m going to try keep this as short as possible because I truly have no issues with writing a massive essay about my love for Lou Reed. However all I want to say and could say about him has been said before. Again, this is another genius my uncle got me into. He got me into Velvet Underground then after he saw my love for them he told me to listen to Transformer. Is Transformer one of the best records made? Damn right it is. Wagon Wheel is one of my favourites for sure. I just love Lou’s style of writing. He’s a genuine story-teller who takes you into the underworld of all around you. You think all you see is all that exists, then you listen to a Lou Reed song and it’s like you fall into a different world. Something quite dark, wonderful and weird. You never want out of it. I think, once you listen to Lou- that’s it for life. Once you give yourself over to his words, you feel part of something that no one or nothing could tear you from. You even forgive him for that Lulu record because Transformer exists.

3. Scott Walker. I guess like most I have already mentioned, Scott Walker is an acquired taste. His debut record is by far one of the greatest records ever made. My Death is probably my favourite Scott Walker song, you know, with me being a ray of sunshine and all that. But in all seriousness, my love for Scott Walker came from of course, The Walker Brothers. His solo work is just a work of art. Every record is a masterpiece. You really cannot deny that he’s a genius. The way his mind works, the way he writes, the way he sings- he’s just out of this world. He’s an enigma, for sure. I cannot wait for his new record to come out in December. Every record of his sounds entirely different from the last; but they always remain timeless and as important as each other. To have a career that reads like that is rare, and something that should be treasured.

2. Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart.) A strange soul who made even stranger music. Safe As Milk changed a LOT for me. I think it honestly changed how I listened to music, and the ways it affected me. It opened up my mind. What did Trout Mask Replica do? Well, it freaked me out in the most pleasurable way for sure. I think it is one of the weirdest records I’ve ever heard.  I loved the way his mind worked. From his songs to his paintings- everything about him just oozed freedom and creativity. The two go hand in hand, but not many can make them work as perfect as Don Van Vliet did. He was a rare spirit that made you feel so free. When you listen to Safe As Milk, whether the first time around or if you’re a new fan, everything about it just gives you something you are never going to get again. I guess you can only get it from a Beefheart record. Certain musicians give you certain feelings, I think what Beefheart gave you is something that goes beyond words you know. I’ve tried so many times to pick a favourite song by Captain Beefheart, but instead I’ve narrowed it down to a moment. It’s when he says, “A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast ‘n bulbous, got me?” at the start of Pachuco Cadaver. No idea what it means, but it’s wonderfully strange.

Okay so for Number 1 I just couldn’t decide. Bob Dylan or Morrissey. I can’t choose. There’s no way I can do that. So, joint first place are Bobby and Morrissey. So I’m going to keep it brief.

1. Bob Dylan. Where do you begin when attempting to write about your love for someone so inspiring? I have my mum to thank for my obsession with this man. I’m proud of my Dylan tattoo on the back of my neck. It’s of a song that guided me through hell and back. Through hell some more, and back again. His words provide guidance through life- the good and the bad. It is like he is reassuring you every step of the way. My mum used to sing Forever Young to me when I was a baby before I went to sleep. His music is perfect for long train journeys or just walking around on your own. He makes you feel okay with whatever is going on. You stare out to all you see with his words echoing delicately in your ear, and you’re to restart/carry on. I hold Blonde on Blonde very dear to my heart, and I think it is possibly my favourite Dylan record. But with so many, I think it is hard to choose a solid favourite yet it seems to always be the one I go to for various reasons.

1.Morrissey. I’ve always declared Morrissey as being the one true love of my life. Mainly because his words/songs have been there when I thought I had nothing else. Speedway has been the song that sums up my life for the most part, as does Alma Matters. Everyday Is Like Sunday fully describes where I unfortunately live. I could honestly write an essay about every Morrissey song and still feel I had more to say. His words are a safety net and a force of hope to guide you through. He manages to release every unwanted and wanted feeling you have ever had, and will have had. Dismiss him as a moody sod all you want; but maybe you are scared to see yourself in his words. Seeing him live..every single time feels like a healing process. For some reason, every time before I have seen him- something shit has gone on in my life, and I’ve seen him and it all feels okay. His music goes beyond just being music, and I know every Morrissey fan feels like that. He’s not someone you just stick on as background music. He’s the soundtrack to all you do. He’s someone I don’t think I could actually sit and listen to with. It’s a very personal experience, mainly because I relate to a vast majority of his lyrics. I just adore everything about him, he’s the reason as to why lyrics are so important to me. I wear my Morrissey tattoo on my arm with unconditional love and pride. He changed my life and saved my life; that’s why he’s my number 1.





“Vicious, you hit me with a flower. You do it every hour. Oh, baby you’re so vicious.”

13 08 2012

Patience can be a weakness or it can be a strength. People will use it against you. People will always for the most part, use your good traits against you. Example, say if you have a kind heart- people will bruise it. If you seem to be the kind to help others, they will take advantage. What good comes from being bad? I wish I was tough, but then if I was I wouldn’t be who I am. And who I am, well I don’t know if it is good or bad. My heart is too big, and I should break away some pieces so it shrinks and contains all that matters. What exactly matters? Well, you can only find that in your heart. So maybe I’d be defeating the object if I did something like that.

You give parts of you away. Sometimes you give them to the wrong ones, sometimes you give them to the good ones. Maybe you only learn your lesson when it is too late. You can go back in time in your head which causes you to break your own heart. Then what do you do? You simply owe it to yourself to not mourn the things you had no control over. We all seek some form of control. It can be in good things, it can be in bad things. Do not judge them. Never judge. We’re all different but we all fight to stay alive. Sometimes it can be such a drag, but it’s alright. It’s quite alright.

As I get older, I don’t mind it. I don’t mind it at all. Sure my body feels bruised and broken at times (I think 80 minutes on the treadmill today may be a vital part in this) and my head feels like it may explode from frustration- but if I let it all matter, then I won’t know what to do. You’ve got hide sometimes. The panic attacks may increase over here, but I’ll get out.

So why long for something that just isn’t there? Is it even there? That’s why I love old old old music you know? It is like THEIR frustrations and their love and their lust and all in-between was written in a much deeper tone. It went beyond all that is around now. I mean sure I love the bands I listen to that are new, of course. I love the euphoric journey they send me on. But there is something about hearing something from the 60s about losing something/someone that just sound much more vulnerable than anything around now. I admire anyone who writes so honestly that they are pretty much letting every raw feeling out. Maybe that’s why I write like I do. The things I write here are the things I say to nobody. Why would I? I have no need to. I don’t wish to. I’m too stubborn, but I use it for the good rather than bad. For the most part. I’ll always believe I was born at the wrong time, always. However, I’m not going to dress like a hippie, spin around a few times and hug everyone. No no. I’ll stick to what I wear and listen to what I like.

I have no idea why I wrote any of this, maybe I had to let it out. So to the one person who may happen to read this. I’m sorry, here are some songs to make up for my idiotic ramblings that are far too frequent yet scattered.





Scott Walker.

9 01 2012

69 years ago today, one of the greatest singer/song-writers of all time was born; Scott Walker.

I honestly do not need to go into great detail about inspirational and talented Scott is. That’s evident in his music. Solo, with other artists and as part of the Walker Brothers. Scott was one of the voices I frequently heard growing up, my mum was a huge fan.

His debut album, simply titled Scott, is one of my favourite records of all time. The album was evidently in a league of its own when it was released. It still is now. Obviously I wasn’t born when it was released, but when I listen to it now. No matter how many times I have played it, it still blows me away and just leaves me in awe.

I hate the word “cool.” It’s such a pointless word, but I guess if one had to list those that were cool- Scott Walker would be there. Right next to Lou Reed and Patti Smith. For me cool is just being comfortable with who you are, and not being afraid. I guess it isn’t cool- it’s just a sense of self security.

Anyway, enjoy some Scott based tracks. Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY SCOTT!