When Heroes Die ~ David Bowie (January 8, 1947 – January 10, 2016)

Admittedly, I am adding my voice a bit late to the millions of others expressing shock and grief over the death of David Bowie (nee David Robert Jones) on January 10. My reasons include the inability to come to grips with my emotions and to make sense of the flood of confusion and depression that has washed over me, the likes of which I haven’t felt since losing Daniel, my beloved husband, over 3 years ago.david-bowie-174

There have been sad, hateful people who have belittled those of us in the throes of grief, not understanding the powerful hold this man held over us, and the positive influence he brought to lives wracked with hopelessness and despair. I feel sorry for those wastes of space and oxygen, for they will never know the joy that a lyric, the bend of a note, the croon of a voice, the sight of magnificent oddity can bring, when all a lost soul is looking for is some light toward which to travel with hopeful anticipation.

400full-david-bowieMy own story involves musical salvation from the darkest period of my life that included an inexplicable and debilitating addiction born of self-loathing. Something in Bowie’s music hit me at a time (late 70s/early 80s) when I could very easily have checked out on life in a drug-induced haze of oblivion. It spoke volumes to a lost soul who felt very different in an uncaring world. Suddenly, “different” was OK–acceptable and cool, even–and the earth shifted back on its axis, instead of tumbling haphazardly toward reckless destruction.

David Bowie taught me to have the courage to face down my demons, much as he had accomplished with his move to Berlin. He held my fragile psyche in his arms night after night, as I fell asleep in huge headphones, plugged into the stereo piled high with his vinyl platters, lulling me into fitful sleep and the healing needed to get back on track. His words lifted me, his music inspired me, and his lion-like courage was the model that I used to find my own way back to a world that no longer seemed as cold and full of rejection as I had once perceived it to be. I felt validated, renewed, and determined.

Mr. Bowie gave me back my life. And Daniel, when I met him years later, continued to anchor me and gently guide me along all the right paths. How can one damaged-yet-renewed soul thank another soul for a second chance? I’ve never felt that I adequately thanked either one of these brave and brilliant men during this physical phase of existence, but I hope to have another chance when I, too, begin life among the stars.david-bowie-2013-superpride

Rest in peace, David Robert Jones Bowie (and Daniel, my true love). You’ve both earned your wings and the opportunity to shine your love radiantly, beautifully, and eternally upon us all as we somehow attempt to navigate the rough seas of life without your physical presence. Every tear we cry waters the tree of your memory. Long may it grow tall and strong, sheltering us all with branches made of the endless beauty and joy you gave to the world.

Gary Numan’s Machine Music Tour 2012 ~ A Review

My friend and sometimes-guest author Mark Ryan was lucky enough to attend two performances of Gary Numan’s latest Machine Music tour. Mark wanted to share his impressions with other Numanoids via Rave and Roll. I am honored to present his review here. (Photography by Karren Bailey and Vikki Churchill).

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Photo by Karren Bailey

On May 22nd of this year, Gary Numan started another UK Tour. Those fortunate to see him live will never regret it. Those who have not seen him live are missing something special. In this short piece I am going to try and give you a small review of Gary Numan’s Machine Music tour. I saw him in 2 places (Sheffield & Birmingham) and will try to give an unbiased opinion of the live show, along with all of the plusses and minuses.

The Machine Music tour was billed as a singles tour with songs Numan had either never done live, or had only performed onstage once before.

The opening song was Berserker (Berserker, 1984) – I was really looking forward to this having heard it last in 1984. For the 2 shows I attended, the vocals were better if you stood in row 4 or 5; however, the guitar and female vocals were great.

This was followed by Metal (Pleasure Principle, 1979), a brilliant song that’s even better live. This made it seem as though the live show had finally started.

The Fall (Dead Song Rising, 2012) – This is a great song and Gary did the song proud. There are rumours that it’s written for an ex-band member. This was one of the crowd’s favourites with people jumping up and down during the chorus.

Bombers (1978) – This is an old Tubeway Army song that included a video of old airplanes as a backdrop. For this piece, Gary played 2nd guitar and made it seem as though he rejoiced at playing one of his old punk numbers. Also, there was great bass guitar.

Crazier (Hybrid, 2003) – This is one of my favourite Numan songs, and Gary really did the song justice. This song reached the Top 15 in 2003 and the crowd lapped the song up. Gary was truly great on this number.

Photo by Vikki Churchill

Call out the Dogs (The Fury, 1985) – First of all, I have no idea what this song is about, and I have not previously witnessed him sing this live. However, it was brilliant. The drums more or less took over this song especially at the bridge where it seems keyboards/ guitars are fighting for the drums in equal billing. This was the best song/performance so far, in my opinion.

Dominion Day (Sacrifice, 1994) – This was the turnaround song for Gary professionally and once again this was brilliant. I can actually remember hearing this song originally and thinking “wow”. Now, all I can think of is “brilliant”.

This Wreckage (Telekon, 1980) – I was surprised that Gary included this particular song as Telekon had some other awesome songs (Aircrash Bureau). That said, “This Wreckage” came across brilliant live, even the Japanese vocal (which Gary forgot to sing in the 1st part; however, he did seem lost in the moment).

Absolution (Exile, 1997) – This is from my favourite Numan album and written about people’s faith (although it has also been called a love song). This was excellent, although the background video put me off fully enjoying the song.

That’s Too Bad (1977) – This was Numan’s first release. To my knowledge he’s never done this live and it makes you wonder, why not? This was truly amazing with great guitars. I actually remember the words and there people around me who were also familiar with it. If you see any footage of this live, make sure you pay close attention. This was legendary

In a Dark Place (Jagged, 2006) – This was a brilliant song that featured some great keyboards, along with and the keyboard player on backing vocals. This can be included as one of his best songs in the show.

Photo by Vikki Churchill

Down in the Park (Replicas, 1979) – This started of the whole Gary Numan craze for me. Once I heard this back in the day, I was hooked and still am. No matter how many times he performs this, I will never tire of it.

RIP (Pure, 2000) This was a perfect song. The band were on form at this time. Especially when the chorus approaches.

Love Needs No Disguise (1981) This has never EVER been done live by Gary before. So obviously I was looking forward to it, knowing it could possibly be the highlight to the show. Before the song he dedicated it to the Memory of Cedric Sharpley who was Gary’s previous drummer and who passed away 6 weeks ago from a heart attack. He then introduced Rrussell Bell (guitar) & Chris Payne (violin) who were in Gary’s backing band at the start of his career and are still loved by longtime, faithful fans. This seemed almost surreal. It absolutely delivered live as Gary sung it with so emotion. This was indeed the highlight of the show so far.

Warriors (Warriors, 1983) Although I love this song, it did not work for me. Good song and lovely guitar work; however, the original featured some electric slap bass and live it did not work or connect with me.

I Die You Die (1980) This is probably my favourite Numan song. Every time he does this live it makes the hairs stand up on my arms and this was no exception. Gary seemed to really enjoy this.

Photo by Vikki Churchill

We are Glass (1980) This was released as a single and reached the Top 5. However, this song doesn’t sound right live, almost as though there is something missing. It’s almost anticlimactic. This actually left me disappointed.

This was the end of the live set but high chants of NUMANNNNNNNNNN echoed throughout the venue as we waited for an encore……………..and they did not disappoint.

Healing (2007) This is an Ade Fenton Song where Gary sung vocals and it got considerable airplay on some music stations. However, this did not fit in with the rest of the show and I wonder why this was included. There are so many other songs he could have played in this spot.

Cars (Pleasure Principle, 1979) This was the usual Cars performance but I wish he would not do it live. It’s a great song, but when you have heard it for the 100th time (?) live………nothing wrong with the performance, though.

Photo by Karren Bailey

Are Friends Electric (Replicas, 1979) was the final song of the show. This is /was all things great. As a special treat he again invited Rrussell Bell (guitar) & Chris Payne (violin) onto the stage which surprised the audience. This was, without doubt, the highlight of the show. “Are ‘Friends’ Electric” was sung with effort and emotion, along with a backing band that raised their Game. This was a perfect ending to a great night’s entertainment.

The Secret Life Of Numanoids ~ Part Three

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Paul Chandler ~ UK

Paul Chandler was kind enough to agree to be interviewed about what it’s like to be a Numanoid. A fan since 1978, he is one of the core, long-time group of fans that have followed Gary Numan since the very beginning of his career.

When asked, “What drew you to Gary Numan?” Paul had this to say:

“The early electronic sound and Gary’s vocal and image style is what drew me to Gary Numan. I was into music from an early age and was quite happy listening to bands like Slade and other glam rock artists. I did get bored quickly with the pop moulding that seemed to always happen; nothing different was going on, and I needed something that was not mainstream. Punk hit me straight away as it was a great escape from the humdrum. When I first bought (Tubeway Army’s) “That’s Too Bad,” I didn’t think that this was just another punk record. The music may have been of the same trend, but it was Numan’s vocals that drew me, and I felt that this was not quite right for a ‘punk’ record. “Bombers” confirmed that Tubeway Army were not typical punk at all, and something else was waiting to be unleashed! Replicas and The Pleasure Principle were the type of music that I had been waiting for! Ever since, I have filled my life with so much music and all because of Gary Numan and his style and uniqueness.”

Paul continues with an explanation of what Numan’s music means to him. “His music means everything to me. After hearing “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” it blew my mind! His music from the early days still means as much to me now as it ever did. It was like having someone be there for you at a difficult time and they came through for you; a friend who is always there for you.”

“Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” via YouTube user scruffyonion:

Asked to provide the name of his favorite Gary Numan LP, Paul candidly responds, “Can I have 3? The Pleasure Principle, Replicas, and Telekon.”

Fortunately for Paul, there is not a limit in this series for how many favorite songs a Numanoid might list. He cites the following as his favorites:

“Here goes… Listen to the Sirens/Steel and You/Something’s in the House/Me! I Disconnect from You/Are ‘Friends’ Electric?/Praying to the Aliens/You Are in My Vision/We Are So Fragile/Airlane/Metal/Films/M.E/Conversation/Cars/On Broadway (Live)/This Wreckage/The Aircrash Bureau/Telekon/Remind Me to Smile/We Are Glass/I’m an Agent/I Dream of Wires/I Die: You Die/Slowcar to China/She’s Got Claws/Crash/I Sing Rain/Love Needs No Disguise/Music for Chameleons/This Is My House/We Take Mystery (To Bed)/Noise Noise/Warriors/The Iceman Comes/This Prison Moon/My Centurion/Sister Surprise/My Car Slides/Berserker/Cold Warning/Pleasure Skin/Creatures/Tricks/God Only Knows/Anthem/No Shelter/My Breathing/Unknown And Hostile/This is Emotion/Hunger/Voix/Respect/I Don’t Believe/Soul Protection/Confession/The Skin Game/A Question of Faith/Scar/Love and Napalm/Dominion Day/Prophecy/Dark/An Alien Cure/Pure/Walking With Shadows/Rip/My Jesus/Listen to My Voice/ I Can’t Breathe/Hybrid/Halo/Slave/In a Dark Place/Haunted/Before You Hate It.”

Paul recalls his most exciting Gary Numan moment as, “The first time I heard “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” and waiting for new albums!”

As for his favorite way to express his love for Gary Numan, Paul states, quite simply, “Loyalty.”

Paul continues, “When you follow an artist who has changed your life and given you an opening to absorb various other music, you do feel the highs and lows of their career. You want them to rule the world of music and to climb back into the limelight,when all goes dark and comes to perhaps a point of no return. When times were bleak for Gary Numan, regarding record sales etc., I always knew he would find his way again! With each record that was released, I kept hoping that this would be the one!

“Some may not approve of his vocal and music style, but there is much more to Gary Numan than meets the eye. You can hear on tracks such as “Crash” and “This Wreckage” that his vocals can be stretched. Often, because of his distinctive vocals, Numan is dismissed for having a high vocal range. I think that this is far from the truth! These vocal tones are what make him unique, and the great artist that he is and always will be!

“’Nuff said.”

80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/Band ~ Pop Will Eat Itself

The 80’s band Pop Will Eat Itself (PWEI) formed in Stourbridge, England in 1986. This band is definitely not for the faint of heart. In a huge departure from this site’s usual spotlight on 80s New Wave, Gothic, and post-punk bands comes a hard-core, cutting edge group that defies classification. Using elements of punk, New Wave, industrial, and alternative, flavored with a healthy dose of angst and fury, Pop Will Eat Itself couldn’t be any further removed from “pop,” which makes their nickname, the Poppies, ironic indeed. Think anti-Milli Vanilli in its most extreme form, and you will only begin to scratch the surface of the sound that PWEI generates full steam ahead.

PWEI produced a lot of music that seemed destined for a very narrow audience. It was definitely ahead of the 90s proto-punk industrial wave curve, but the path the band was forging remained largely ignored. Consisting of highly trained and experienced musicians from diverse backgrounds, Pop Will Eat Itself stormed into the music scene, oblivious of trends, and making music that suited their own creative needs. Little did the world know that these raw and unrefined musicians were forming a strong foundation for the 90s.

Check this band out. It may not be your taste, but listen with an open mind. It’s a trip to go back with a fresh set of ears and see how a raucous, noisy, and vital band “quietly” influenced a genre of music that was evolving and at the ready to take its place in the next decade. PWEI are unsung visionaries who contributed a whole lot more than the mere sum of their parts to the music industry.

Purchase Pop Will Eat Itself music here.

Def Con One” via YouTube user apesgrapes:

Their Law” (cover) via YouTube user tabanger:

Bulletproof” via YouTube user Smoggychris:

Can U Dig It?” via YouTube user DEFFX39:

Not Now James We’re Busy” via YouTube user 1michelemichele1:
 

Discography

Box Frenzy (1987)
Now for a Feast! (1988)
This Is the Day…This Is the Hour…This Is This! (1989)
Cure for Sanity (1990)
The Looks or the Lifestyle? (1992)
Weird’s Bar and Grill (Live) (1993)
16 Different Flavours of Hell (Best of) (1993)
Dos Dedos Mis Amigos (1994)
Two Fingers My Friends! (1995)
Wise Up Suckers (BMG best of) (1996)
The Radio 1 Sessions 1986-87 (1997)
PWEI Product 1986-1994 (Anthology) (2002)

80’s Music Rules ~ More from Retrospect CFRC-FM ~ 02-01-11


Ed challenged us all to put our obscure thinking caps on tonight. Mine got a real workout as I scrambled to identify the unidentifiable. Even Googling the lyrics let me down. Thank goodness Ed graced us with detailed back-announcing, otherwise some of tonight’s tunes would still be languishing in the alternate universe cut-out bin.

Be sure to tune in to Ed and his ”I dare you to ID this song” 80’s Retrospect show on CFRC-FM from 8 pm until 10 pm on Tuesday nights. Ed takes requests by phone: (613) 533-CFRC (2372) or email: retrospectcfrc at yahoo dot ca. Indulge yourself in some “80’s Music that doesn’t suck.” I guarantee die-hard 80’s New Wave/Post-punk fans will not be disappointed.

CFRC-FM Playlist February 1, 2011

Basement of Carruthers Hall in Queens University, Kingston, Ontario

ED-FM ~ Retrospect
80’s Music That Doesn’t Suck
If the “Listen Live” link on the CFRC Website doesn’t work, copy and paste this URL into your Windows Media Player: http://sunsite.queensu.ca:8000/
Join us in the Chat Room during the show – either click the link on the right menu under the Rave and Roll graphic, or here.
To listen to any shows that you may have missed, go to the CFRC website and look up the archives under the “Programming” drop-down menu. You can enjoy Ed’s previous shows in one-hour increments.

New Regime – I Won’t Let You Go
Hush – Now Reality
Short Wave Mystery – Pilots
Room 9 – Angels Sing
B-52s – Planet Claire
Extras – Hip Hop Hip Hip
Sex Pistols – Bodies
Xmal Deutschland – Mondlicht
A Split Second – Cold War In The Brainbox
It’s Immaterial – Ed’s Funky Diner
Gang Of Four – He’d Send In The Army
Neo A-4 – Say This To Me (12 inch)
Yello – Call It Love (12 inch)
Viva B – Man From China
BB Gabor – Metropolitan Life
Blue Fantasy – Evil Places
Databank A – Etiquette of Travel
Rational Youth – Bang On (12 inch)
Martha & The Muffins – Paint By Number Heart
XTC – Generals & Majors
Neon Judgement – I Wish I Could

80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/Bands ~ Jesus & Mary Chain

The Jesus & Mary Chain was an interesting alternative band from Scotland. They officially formed in 1983, and toured/recorded up until 1999. The founding members were brothers Jim (vocals, guitar) and William (vocals, guitar) Reid. Although classified as “alternative,” the band was heavily influenced by punk bands such as the Sex Pistols, the Stooges, and the Shangri-Las.

The brothers started out by recording and then shopping their demos. Within the first year they added band members Douglas Hart (bass) and Murray Dalglish (drums).

Jesus & Mary Chain didn’t exactly endear themselves to their audiences; their early gigs were short (at times only 20 minutes), intense, amphetamine-fueled exhibitions, often with their backs to their audiences and having no contact with them whatsoever. At one late-1984 gig, some bottles were hurled, the press blew it out of proportion, labeling the incident a “riot,” and the band was unfairly banned from playing in many venues.

Dalglish was replaced by Bobby Gillespie in 1984. This year marked a tumultuous time for Jesus & Mary Chain. There was admitted drug use and accompanying arrests. Add to this the stories of violence and band indifference during gigs, and all of these ingredients defined a long, uphill climb to success.

Things began to look up in the latter part of 1985. The band released the LP Psychocandy. They also scored appearances on John Peel, The Tube and Whistle Test, adding to their exposure. After the release of Psychocandy drummer Gillespie left the band, replaced by John Moore. No matter how hard they tried, violence followed the band to their gigs, with many sets being interrupted by bottle-throwing and smashed equipment.

The next couple of years brought more personnel changes and more brushes with violence and the law. Despite all of the obstacles, Jesus & Mary chain managed to release two more albums, Darklands and Automatic before the end of the decade. The 90’s produced 3 more collections, before the band called ti quits in 1999. They had a brief reunion in 2007.

It’s true that Jesus & Mary Chain had their hands full with controversy and internal instability, but they still created and released some seriously competitive and vital 80’s punk-influenced music. I guess it’s easy to imagine that with the proper management, and avoidance of illicit substance and violence-riddled shows, Jesus & Mary Chain would have been more wildly successful. But, it also may have made them just another 80’s sell-out hair band without any soul or substance.

In retrospect, Jesus & Mary Chain is a band that deserves more recognition. Check them out if you haven’t already. Even if you have, they are definitely worth the time to revisit.

Buy Jesus and Mary Chain music here.

Read more about Jesus & Mary Chain here.

“Head On” via YouTube user RhinoEntertainment:

“Happy When It Rains” via YouTube user RhinoEntertainment:

“Just Like Honey” via YouTube user RhinoEntertainment:

“April Skies” via YouTube user RhinoEntertainment:

Discography

Psychocandy (1985)
Darklands (1987)
Automatic (1989)
Honey’s Dead (1992)
Stoned & Dethroned (1994)
Munki (1998)

80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ Paul Weller, The Jam, and Style Council

This installment of “Criminally Underrated” features a man of many talents that fronted two equally criminally underrated bands, Jam and Style Council.

Paul Weller started Jam just outside London in 1976, which lasted until 1982. Weller played bass along with Steve Brookes (lead guitar), Dave Waller (rhythm guitar), and Rick Buckler (drums). Jam’s style was a punk and mod hybrid that gave it a unique and appealing sound. It also gave the band the ability to move into the wonderful world of post-punk and New wave, ushered in by the 80’s.

Shortly after the Jam formed, they experienced personnel changes. Bruce Foxton replaced Waller on rhythm guitar, Brookes left, and Weller and Foxton swapped guitar duties. The band consistently broke into the Top 40 with their first few singles, hitting the Top 10 with the single “Eton Rifles.” In 1980, they actually hit the coveted Number One spot with the single “Going Underground.” They had a great run of singles with  “Town Called Malice,” “Precious,” and “That’s Entertainment.”

The swan song for the Jam would be the single “Beat Surrender.” The band broke up in 1982 after a successful series of farewell concerts.

Paul Weller went on to form his next band, Style Council, with Mick Talbot (keyboards). They were joined by Steve White (drums) and Dee C. Lee (vocals). Weller set himself free by experimenting with multiple musical genres. Style Council ran the gamut of song styles with pop, jazz, R&B, house, and ballads. The band’s first break-through singles in the US were “My Ever Changing Moods,” and “You’re The Best Thing.” Style Council was wildly popular in Australia, but their popularity began to fade in the UK. Their record label refused to release their final album in 1989 called Modernism: A New Decade, and Weller called it quits.

Weller has successfully performed solo from the 90’s until the present. If you’re not familiar with Weller, or his two fabulous groups Jam and Style Council, it’s definitely worth your while to do a little digging.

Purchase Jam music here.

Purchase Style Council music here.

Purchase Paul Weller music here.

“Eton Rifles” (Jam) via YouTube user sidsings:

“That’s Entertainment” (Jam) via YouTube user preistguy:

“My Ever Changing Moods” (Style Council) via YouTube user kewl0008:

“Speak Like A Child” (Style Council) via YouTube user thecatkeaton:

Jam Discography

In the City (1977)
This Is the Modern World (1977)
All Mod Cons (1978)
Setting Sons (1979)
Sound Affects (1980)
The Gift (1982)

Style Council Discography

Introducing The Style Council (1983)
Café Bleu (US title: My Ever Changing Moods) (1984)
Our Favourite Shop (US title: Internationalists) (1985)
The Cost of Loving (1987)
Confessions of a Pop Group (1988)
Modernism: A New Decade (1998, recorded 1989)

Paul Weller Discography

Paul Weller (1992)
Wild Wood (1993)
Stanley Road (1995)
Heavy Soul (1997)
Heliocentric (2000)
Illumination (2002)
Studio 150 (2004)
As Is Now (2005)
22 Dreams (2008)
Wake Up the Nation (2010)