Minds Music Monday – In Every Heaven (Early Version)

I fell in love with this version IMMEDIATELY on first play when I got the New Gold Dream box set in the summer of 2016.

I find it wonderful when we are allowed to hear demos and early versions of songs. I love being exposed to that “work-in-progress’ – even if it takes many years to do so.

It always feels just ever so slightly darker and maudlin the early version. I guess because it is a slower pace. It’s more sparse as well. The synth is just beautiful though. So melodic. And even if Jim is just searching for lyrics and a tune with his vocal, it’s haunting and beautiful.

In its early life, In Every Heaven feels much more akin to Seeing Out The Angel in its structure, but it eventually gets its guitar parts, becomes more up tempo and says such beautiful sentiment to its lyrics.

I’ll never QUITE understand what “kissing yourself goodbye” is meant to imply but I guess it doesn’t really matter. Not everything in life makes sense.

My favourite lines?
“Radio plays
Static of love
Stand over by my side
Heaven it bumps
Heaven it grinds
Get over by my side”

He writes such romantic words.

Anyway, they are not on this version. And despite its more…deeper feel, it’s still heavenly.

The photo was taken from my bedroom window a few days ago. It just looked splendid.

Minds Music Monday – Past Present – Magic

Thinking about choosing a track for this week’s MMM, it’s really easy to trawl through their extensive back catalogue to the long past. But as the proposed songs to highlight fluttered through my mind…invariably harking back to the long past, I tutted at myself. “Hey, what about the recent past? What about Walk Between Worlds?”

And with a new album ready to appear on the horizon, I was thinking about the crazy, exciting anticipation I was filled with when we first heard little snippets of WBW and were told of its release date. We are just coming to three years since that flush of info.

On September 29th, 2017, Jim posted about being “busy in rehearsals” and there was news of things to come that he was excited about sharing with us. I usually take those kinds of things with a pinch of salt because…well, promises can be broken, or things…circumstances can change so…

I allowed myself a small flutter of excitement, but that was that.

As November started, he started writing posts about certain songs from the Simple Minds back catalogue and how they came to be. It was all slowly ramping up. And then mid November, the major clues of a release of the new album being imminent started to come through. And then, a week before Charlie’s birthday – BAM! Details of Walk Between Worlds was revealed. But even more exciting was the way the tour was revealed. It was a real tease and got the fans in an absolute FRENZY. It was a masterstroke how it was done.

I remember hearing Magic for the first time and I loved it from the get go. It was so uplifting and such a wonderful piece on how the amazing concoction of self-belief, ambition, determination…and with a little dash of luck – amazing things can happen. That it can, indeed, produce MAGIC.

It was panned by many a fan. Some very noticeably. I will say nothing more than that – because that is all the air certain “oxygen suckers” will get from me! But the lyrics are lovely! They DO tell a story. Okay, nobody loves the old Jim Kerr writing style more than me. The “fragments and ambiguities” that he said he liked to deal in, in an interview for Belgian TV in 1983. But I love Jim the storyteller too. And there is a wonderful story to Magic. That young, disillusioned man, kicking about the big city, wondering what his life was going to amount to. And then, with all those ingredients mentioned earlier all coming into play and alignment…adding some hard work as the final ingredient and…there’s your Simple Minds story right there!

I love Magic. I have done from the first listen and I still do. I see that poor disillusioned young man walking down the street on his tod, looking downcast… “As I walk through the city with my wounded pride and everybody is too busy and you’re wondering why, there’s a hole inside. I need a pill not an alibi.” But it all comes good in the end, young Jim! Keep the faith, beautiful man.

The song just has an indelible spirit and heart. And it lifts me every time I hear it. I will never understand why it has its detractors. But, hey. To each their own. If they don’t hear and feel the magic in it then…

Perhaps it *is* the weakest song on WBW? Well, if it is, then it is testament to what a wonderful album Walk Between Worlds is!

I also thought the video was braw.

Happy Anniversary Sweat In Bullet!

It’s been the inspiration for a few art pieces, and the video is a fave. Jim is sssoooo frigging skinny in this video. He’s got his gammy eye and he is that heady mix of fledgling Laird Dash Fandango in his collared shirt and tailored trousers but with that bit of “gangster rough” with it.

Oh, and him doing all those whipping actions with the mic cord….OMG! It used to have me saying stuff like, “WHIP ME, JIM! PLEASE! WHIP ME!” Lol. Oh…the fantasies!

Anyways! It’s a Happy Anniversary to Sweat In Bullet being released as a single a mere 39 years ago today. Enjoy…art and video… (the first is still a fave, even though I did it yonks ago)

Visuals from Glittering Prize for the last one but words from Sweat In Bullet.

Extra T Rex

After I had done my post about Ride A White Swan last night – I did a thing I usually do not do and posted to SMOG before researching my topic and then proceeded to make a right tit of myself!

Well, I’ll blame being unwell for that because, normally, I’d go out on the web and search for info first. But last night I didn’t. So, I ended up posting to SMOG saying “does anyone know if SM have ever covered a T Rex song?”

Within a minute of the post being approved there was word back that, yes, they had and it was the song linked below.

I even have the Rejuvenation box set – IN BOTH FORMATS and I still forgot about it! I don’t even think I listened to their version until this morning. Or if I had I must have wiped it from memory.

I love that they do covers, I do. But, like in all things…some things work, others don’t. I know my “art” is not always best. I mean, geez, I probably have a “hit” rate of about one in thirty…if I’m lucky! Very much in dream land to think it’s as low as one in thirty – and to refer to it as “art”.

And right now, I couldn’t feel any more disliked by Jim so it hardly matters what I am about to say about their version of Children Of The Revolution – but I won’t slate it! Although, I feel it is a TAD rich that when I shared a link to the Violent Femmes version of it some years back, Jim replied with “Oh God, that’s rubbish!” Lol

UPDATE (Nov 6th): I found it! Looking for something else in Flickr, I found his reply.

All I’ll actually say is – some covers work and others don’t. Simple Minds have done some really stellar cover versions of other people’s songs. My fave of them all is All Tomorrow’s Parties. And with Jim being the massive Lou Reed and Velvet Underground fan that he is, I know that will make him happy to hear that. Just…you know…stroke the old ego before…BAM!

Sorry! Maybe it was just the choice of song. Maybe you should have plumbed for 20th Century Boy or Jeepster? Or Hot Love? Who knows? I dunno.

Anyway, see what you guys think…

Punk – A Dirty Word?

Over the past week, I feel the word “punk” has been sullied by a couple of people. One retrospectively. Let me explain:

In a previous post here on the blog, I talked about a letter that John Foxx had shared on his FB page. The letter was from David Bowie to Tony Visconti of a shopping list of new singles and albums DB was keen to get his hands on. Within it he talked about punk and flippantly used the words “pink, peak poak, pan” and then said “Oh, yes. PUNK” in brackets referring to the shop that Visconti may find the records that were on said shopping list. I felt DB’s flippancy was about the stupid labels and pigeonholes we place upon things – but I could be wrong? Perhaps by this time for Bowie “punk” was indeed a dirty word?

The other has been in recent days. A fan on SMOG talking about the influence punk had on early Simple Minds. He seemed to talk about it with much disdain. Saying stuff like “thank God you guys moved away from punk.” I didn’t get involved in it because, well…to each their own what they think about particular genres of music. I thought their ideas and opinions were rather misguided but…it’s not my place to educate anyone on anything. He ruffled enough feathers to even have Jim himself (? It’s a bone of contention, actually. I was led to believe by a certain source that this account *is* genuinely Jim but…I dunno. Who knows? I’m trying to get myself away from all this “hanging on his every word and feeling like my life isn’t worth living if he doesn’t speak to me” bullshit that I keep cycling through endlessly and doing my own fucking head in with!) reply to him.

The guy followed it up with a further post about the hypothesis of what/where/how things would have panned out for SM had they stuck with punk. This was when I came in on things.

For one, punk started much earlier than its deemed apex in 1977. I definitely hear and feel and get a sense of punk from Velvet Underground recordings. Listen to the album with Nico – the Warhol banana covered one. Where is the maestro musicianship on that? Tell me! No one plays THAT well on it. Lou Reed is not exactly the best singer in the world. Nico does that kind of – and there is an actual German word for this that eludes me right now – “speak singing” she does. The only one that sounds like he tries to hold a note when singing is John Cale. The Velvet Underground is DEFINITELY punk. In its truest context. That the music, the story, the telling of the tale is MORE important than the musicianship. Or that…it’s okay not to be perfect, if the message is conveyed right.

Because, Lou might not be the best singer in the world – but he’s a poet and a realist and an orator for the time. And, a damn incredible songwriter. A filter. A channel for the message to be projected through.

Likewise, Nico may not have the voice of an angel, as such – but she certainly conveys emotion and she makes you take notice.

The Stooges were formed in the late sixties. Iggy Pop by much touted definition is deemed the “Godfather of punk.”

The New York Dolls were punk. Well, perhaps straddled punk with aspects of glam. I mean, nobody ever sees Slade as glam in terms of their musical output compared to their wardrobe. Well, for me it’s the same with New York Dolls. To me they are 100% punk. They just didn’t dress punk.

The Ramones – punk all the way. But there is sssoooo much rockabilly in their sound too. Listen to Rock n’ Roll High School, FFS. It’s far more 50s throwback rockabilly to my ears than what the UK brings forward as punk.

And as I said to Philip – there is so much more to the word “punk” than a strict musical styling. It’s a culture. A mindset. An ethos. An attitude. A banner. A proclamation.

And there’s also one of its earlier exponents too! MC5 – Kick Out The Jams! Released in 1969, my friends. NINETEEN SIXTY NINE!

When I saw Alice Cooper last year, they were on the bill of support acts as (as they are called these days) MC50. They still have it.

Punk, as a word that became a touchstone, is ssooo much more than music. Look at all that it gave to a generation of the UK as a result! An attitude, a mindset that said “I have creativity inside of me. I don’t need a fine arts degree to be told I am good at this. I’ll get ahead and make my own way!” It gave the working classes freedom to believe they could express their creativity and pursue a future in the arts without – one: feeling they needed a financial foundation – because frankly – there was NOTHING to lose and two: that they should suppress what they feel they want to express due to their background.

Vivienne Westwood is punk.
John Cooper Clarke is punk.
Smash Hits magazine is punk.
Postcard Records is punk.
Factory Records is punk.
The Hacienda is (was) punk.

Anything that you can think of…not just in music…all if it that comes out from the late 1970s, it’s all rooted in that punk spirit.

As Jim said in his reply to Philip: “without the punk ethic we would never have begun and evolved into Simple Minds. That is a fact!”

Punk was a gateway to so much more.

Photo by the wonderful Laurie Evans

Is it a dirty word? It seems to be for Philip. Why? I’m not quite sure. I just don’t think he sees the fluidity in the word itself. To him, I am guessing “punk” is this awful style of music that he doesn’t like very much and that’s that.

Oh, but it is ssssooomuch more than that! It is all of the above! And – it is Simple Minds! Even their name is rooted in punk. Yes, it may have come from a David Bowie song but…just listen to it. Really take in what the name sounds like.

I’m not sure I have put this post across as I wanted to. SOMEONE came along throwing a spanner in the works this morning – distracting me with a post just as I was getting my brain cogs in motion and piecing together this post – making bullet points to it and giving myself a bit of dictation on my phone so I would stick with how I wanted this post to go.

Oh, well. He can disturb and distract me whenever he likes! I shouldn’t be bloody complaining that he distracted me now, should I? Geez! Lol. Cry out for the man’s attention and then when I got something from him, I’m there saying “Fuck off, Jim! I’m busy. Do you mind, pal?!” Lol. Hilarious!

And hey, I just remembered – I’M “Punk”! Lol. This silly nickname my brother David gave me many moons ago. When he wanted to antagonise me. Wind me up. He’d call me “punk”. With a kind of spit of disdain he’d say it to me. “Go away, punk”, when I was annoying him. Lol. Oh, god I loved him! ❤️