blissblogger

Well-known member
That is such bullshit – and I'd offer your own excellent book Rip It Up And Start Again as evidence as to why.
.

That seems an uncontroversial observation to me - PiL and Joydiv were easily the most prominent and influential groups. Joy Div were widely imitated, PiL less so cos actually quite hard to copy, but Johnny L's and Wobble's line of patter had a big effect.

Who else was more influential or seen as pointing to a right path?

The Fall were highly regarded, but their influence didn't really come through until the mid-Eighties with all the shambling type groups.

Talking Heads? The Banshees, i guess ultimately did spawn a genre (a mixed achievement)

Same goes for Throbbing Gristle - i don't think they were that widely listened to but nearly everyone who did listen to them seemed to put out music - a mixed blessing, judging by the tapes that have been diligently archived on dozens of industrial blogs.
 

blissblogger

Well-known member
Re less-is-more indoctrination in the Wire.

That's based on my memory of the era and the experience of actually feeling revulsion when I heard a guitar solo - the piece is not talking about loud guitar or guitar-noise, of which there was plenty in postpunk, but specifically about extended, expressive, flashy etc etc solos.

And that was deemed a property of Old Wave during that whole era. Or something that persisted, lamentably, within heavy metal - which was considered reactionary and beyond the pale. .

I mean, the thing about Go4 having anti-solos - gaps - is something Andy Gill said to me. (I actually find the later G04 stuff where he has got into a guitar-hero trip of sorts - probably influenced by touring America - pretty unappealing).

One example of this value-set and how it impinged on judgments that I didn't have space to get into was Prince. The critics really loved Dirty Mind. but then when Prince played his first gigs in the UK they were aghast because instead of just doing the nubile pared-down New Wave meets funk of the records he would keep doing these willy-waving guitar solos that went on and on - like Ted Nugent, but clad in bikini briefs rather than a caveman loincloth. People came around to this element of Prince by the time of "Purple Rain" but even then it still felt little bit de trop.
 

subvert47

I don't fight, I run away
Many thanks for your serious - and polite - replies :)

That seems an uncontroversial observation to me - PiL and Joydiv were easily the most prominent and influential groups. Joy Div were widely imitated, PiL less so cos actually quite hard to copy, but Johnny L's and Wobble's line of patter had a big effect.

Who else was more influential or seen as pointing to a right path?

PiL were big because of Lydon, whose status came from the Pistols, and people followed him into PiL. (I rushed to Virgin Nottingham to buy the first single when it came out.) Joy Division weren't so very big until after Ian topped himself.

It's only circumstantial evidence but if you look at Peel's Festive 50s at the time: 1979 is still mostly filled with punk favourites, but the post punk bands coming through are: PiL, Magazine, Gang of Four, Tubeway Army, The Fall, The Cure. Whereas Joy Division don't figure at all, even though Unknown Pleasures and Transmission both came out that year. 1980, on the other hand, post Ian's death, and Joy Division suddenly dominate.

Also, I'm not sure either PiL or Joy Division were particularly influential back then, not in the sense of spawning copyist bands. The whole ethos of post punk was doing whatever you wanted. The right path, such as it existed, was not to sound like anyone else. Added to which, things were still localized in scenes in various cities (and around different labels) in Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Bristol, as you rightly portray in your book, with more than one scene in London. It was only the rise of indie that saw certain styles becoming established, and from bands like the Bunnymen, Teardrop Explodes, Bauhaus, Orange Juice...

Re less-is-more indoctrination in the Wire.

That's based on my memory of the era and the experience of actually feeling revulsion when I heard a guitar solo

If that's your own experience, fine, of course. It's the "we were all" that I took exception to. Speak for yourself ;) . We (also born 1963/64) were listening to all sorts of stuff, including guitarists like Robert Fripp (with Eno), Dave Gilmour (with Pink Floyd), Jimi Hendrix, Fred Frith (with Henry Cow), and so on. And Joy Division had screaming guitar solos too. Go to 2:45 on this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1cHSoARzS0

Yes, virtuosic guitar wank was certainly non grata in post punk. That attitude came from punk and no one was going to go back to doing that. They'd just have been laughed at anyway, even if they did have the chops (which, as you say, they mostly didn't). But that wasn't less-is-more as a policy. There was plenty of "more" in post punk. It was rather: why would anyone want a ridiculous guitar solo in a post punk context? Where would it go?

Yes, I've read and heard Andy Gill on his guitar playing. But Solid Gold – if you count that as later? – isn't a change in that. The guitar on the Damaged Goods EP is much the same; for example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7xtltFBAMw

It's Entertainment that's the outlier there (and I've never liked that album myself). The substantial move came when Dave Allen left and they attempted a more commercial sound.

Obviously the main reaction against guitars came with the synth bands.

No, I've never much liked Prince either, though that had (and has) nothing to do with his considerable technical skills as a musician.

PS (edit): Nor have I ever before thought of Tom Verlaine's solo on Marquee Moon as "unmistakably a spiritualised version of arousal and ejaculation", and I hope never to think of it in that way ever again.
 
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blissblogger

Well-known member
It's only circumstantial evidence but if you look at Peel's Festive 50s at the time: 1979 is still mostly filled with punk favourites, but the post punk bands coming through are: PiL, Magazine, Gang of Four, Tubeway Army, The Fall, The Cure. Whereas Joy Division don't figure at all, even though Unknown Pleasures and Transmission both came out that year. 1980, on the other hand, post Ian's death, and Joy Division suddenly dominate.

yes they did suddenly rise up very fast in my recollection - one minute, they were a band, and then suddenly they were The Band.

the influence did come though - i mean the Cure for starts, but also lots of not so good bands like Red Lorry Yellow Lorry.
 

blissblogger

Well-known member
If that's your own experience, fine, of course. It's the "we were all" that I took exception to. Speak for yourself ;) . We (also born 1963/64) were listening to all sorts of stuff, including guitarists like Robert Fripp (with Eno), Dave Gilmour (with Pink Floyd), Jimi Hendrix, Fred Frith (with Henry Cow), and so on. And Joy Division had screaming guitar solos too. Go to 2:45 on this:

It's Entertainment that's the outlier there (and I've never liked that album myself). The substantial move came when Dave Allen left and they attempted a more commercial sound.

i'm sure you are right, they were people listening to both postpunk and Led Zep, Hendrix etc at the same time

but i know people whose whole value-set and sonic-tolerance-levels were established then and still wouldn't listen to prog or willy-waving guitar. i learned to tolerate and take pleasure that kind of thing but it took a while and i would still flinch at e.g. a whole album of Zappa guitar solos, or an Allan Holdsworth record.

the less-is-more thing also came through in a general slant towards "skinny" guitar as opposed to fat, fuzzed up tones - this is a refrain i heard from all kinds of people interviewing them for Rip it up, david byrne, mike watts from minutemen, etc etc - a thin, scratchy sound that didn't fill up the soundspace, left room for the other instruments, particularly the bass.

it's a sound you hear across the spectrum from Delta 5 to B-52s to Slits to Echo and Bunnymen - scratchy or skeletal rhythm guitar and only various brief flurries of lead playing.

i vastly prefer Entertainment i must say to the other stuff and i think that was the record that was influential on others

actually another figure who was a Big Influence and pointing the Path Ahead ideologically was Green from Scritti - who very occasionally did play lead flourishes, like the peals of guitar in "Skank Bloc Bologna"

but i can remember there being pieces circa 1983 on the return of the Guitar Hero - about figures like the Edge, Stuart Adamson in Big Country, a few others - it was definitely like, this is creeping back, after a period it wasn't "on" at all.
 

subvert47

I don't fight, I run away
yes they did suddenly rise up very fast in my recollection - one minute, they were a band, and then suddenly they were The Band.

As I said, after Ian killed himself. They were still up and coming before that.

the influence did come though - i mean the Cure for starts, but also lots of not so good bands like Red Lorry Yellow Lorry.

Okay, yes, RLYL did sound like Closer outtakes. But The Cure? Did you have anything in mind there? I mean they started about the same time, their first LP came out first, and it's nothing like Joy Division. Nor are the next two.

i'm sure you are right, they were people listening to both postpunk and Led Zep, Hendrix etc at the same time

but i know people whose whole value-set and sonic-tolerance-levels were established then and still wouldn't listen to prog or willy-waving guitar. i learned to tolerate and take pleasure that kind of thing but it took a while and i would still flinch at e.g. a whole album of Zappa guitar solos, or an Allan Holdsworth record.

Weird. I can't remember anyone being like that. Post punk itself was eclectic so we were all listening to all sorts of stuff. And Peel, of course, who was playing all sorts of stuff. Okay, thinking about it, I don't think anyone ever (said they) listened to Yes or Genesis. And it's a truism that a lot of people stick with the music they listened to as a teenager, when music was important to them, and never progress past that.

the less-is-more thing also came through in a general slant towards "skinny" guitar as opposed to fat, fuzzed up tones - this is a refrain i heard from all kinds of people interviewing them for Rip it up, david byrne, mike watts from minutemen, etc etc - a thin, scratchy sound that didn't fill up the soundspace, left room for the other instruments, particularly the bass.

it's a sound you hear across the spectrum from Delta 5 to B-52s to Slits to Echo and Bunnymen - scratchy or skeletal rhythm guitar and only various brief flurries of lead playing.

Particularly the bass, true enough. The guitar was often more rhythm than lead. Having said that, Delta 5's biggest record, Mind Your Own Business, has a huge guitar solo. And the Slits guitar was scratchy because it was reggae based (at least after Dennis Bovell got to work on them). Talking Heads: yes, Tina Weymouth's bass very much anchored their early LPs, especially the second one (though I'm not sure David Byrne was quite so happy about that).

i vastly prefer Entertainment i must say to the other stuff and i think that was the record that was influential on others

Certainly it's the one everyone mentions now. I don't like it at all. The sterile production strips all the energy out of it. I suppose if it's the first Gang of Four record someone hears, it might sound amazing. (Sort of like your favourite Fall LP being the first one you hear.) But perhaps not if you'd bought Damaged Goods first. (Unless you did?)

actually another figure who was a Big Influence and pointing the Path Ahead ideologically was Green from Scritti - who very occasionally did play lead flourishes, like the peals of guitar in "Skank Bloc Bologna"

Again: really? I love the early Scritti records, but they seemed very much a fringe outfit, at least until Green kicked the rest of the band out and started making pop records.

but i can remember there being pieces circa 1983 on the return of the Guitar Hero - about figures like the Edge, Stuart Adamson in Big Country, a few others - it was definitely like, this is creeping back, after a period it wasn't "on" at all.

Yes, maybe. I'd pretty much stopped reading the music papers by that time. Though I still hear Barney as a guitar hero in Joy Division, especially live. As for the Edge, Steve Hanley in The Big Midweek says that he ripped his style off Craig Scanlon :) . I've not heard enough U2 to comment on that.
 

blissblogger

Well-known member
i thought it was fairly known that Robert Smith had his head turned around by Joy Division and that was led to Seventeen Seconds, and then the intense gloom of Faith and Pornography. i mean i could be wrong but that's how it felt at the time - those two particular albums being post-Closer.

yeah Vini is definitely virtuosic in the extreme - but also an anomaly in that regard. And Durutti were pretty marginal then - i don't recall hearing that stuff until much, much later. in terms of the Factory line-up, it was Joy Division, and then A Certain Ratio quite a distance behind them, and then Durutti really quite a long way behind in terms of a prominence in the scheme of things.

Fantastic records though. i wonder what i would have thought of them at the time - it might have been a little too exquisite and filigreed. By the time i did hear them i had also gotten into things like Jan Garbarek's Paths, Prints and Tom Verlaine and so forth. Getting into the noodly. Also the Cocteaus - i guess Robin Guthrie was a kind of guitar-hero, sort of, in his spidery, texturitis sort of way.
 
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subvert47

I don't fight, I run away
i thought it was fairly known that Robert Smith had his head turned around by Joy Division and that was led to Seventeen Seconds, and then the intense gloom of Faith and Pornography. i mean i could be wrong but that's how it felt at the time - those two particular albums being post-Closer.

Again, we have different perceptions. I don't remember anyone ever saying that, nor hearing any real likeness between the two bands. And iirc Robert Smith said that it was playing with the Banshees that turned his head.

yeah Vini is definitely virtuosic in the extreme - but also an anomaly in that regard. And Durutti were pretty marginal then - i don't recall hearing that stuff until much, much later. in terms of the Factory line-up, it was Joy Division, and then A Certain Ratio quite a distance behind them, and then Durutti really quite a long way behind in terms of a prominence in the scheme of things.

Ah, well, we were very much into all the Factory bands at the time. Too young to follow Joy Division around (the first Futurama was the first time I saw them, I think), but for two years in 1980-82 we hitchhiked all over to see ACR, Durutti Column, Crispy Ambulance, and especially Section 25. (New Order too, but mostly because S25 were often supporting them.) As it happens the first music I "released" were bootleg tapes of Joy Division (with Vice Versa on the other side) and The Durutti Column (with some recordings off the mixing desk at Rafters that Vini gave me).

Fantastic records though. i wonder what i would have thought of them at the time - it might have been a little too exquisite and filigreed. By the time i did hear them i had also gotten into things like Jan Garbarek's Paths, Prints and Tom Verlaine and so forth. Getting into the noodly. Also the Cocteaus - i guess Robin Guthrie was a kind of guitar-hero, sort of, in his spidery, texturitis sort of way.

Vini's first album is certainly very lovely, yes :) . Never much listened to The Cocteau Twins. I had a kind of resistance to Scottish post punk bands, brought on by disliking Orange Juice and The Associates intensely. Though with proper teenage inconsistency that didn't extend to the Fire Engines.
 

subvert47

I don't fight, I run away
Were you into The Chameleons at the time?

No, not at all. And checking them since hasn't improved my opinion either. Script of the Bridge is supposed to be a post punk classic, but I'm afraid I don't hear it. It just seems like a generic indie rock record to me.
 

Leo

Well-known member
fire engines are one of my all-time fav bands, even exchanged emails over the past year or two with davy Henderson. love his nectarine No. 9 and sexual objects stuff as well.

and sorry to say, I love the associates.
 

martin

----
Ah, the small pleasures of revisiting old threads at half past two in the morning.
03:01 now :)

What do you think of them now? I can still listen to Substance, Unknown Pleasures and Still on a loop and never get sick of them. Though now I find Side 2 of Closer really boring and almost a harbinger of the landfill indie dross that was to follow.,
 

subvert47

I don't fight, I run away
03:01 now :)

What do you think of them now? I can still listen to Substance, Unknown Pleasures and Still on a loop and never get sick of them. Though now I find Side 2 of Closer really boring and almost a harbinger of the landfill indie dross that was to follow.,

Unknown Pleasures is superb (y)
Substance is a decent compilation of releases elsewhere (which I mostly have anyway).
Still not so much so IMO.
Closer is no patch on UP but I liked it more than I expected last time I listened to it. Maybe that's just a nostalgia thing if it really is landfill indie dross.
 
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