Before Lostboy! There Was “Special School” Boy! Lol (Pro Synth Network with Mick MacNeil)

I need to explain this post header. Lol

“The Man in the Sky”, Mick MacNeil, was being interviewed….well, more joined in in a live stream chat (with a loose interview in there) for this YouTube channel called the Pro Synth Network. Basically a weekly synth geek’s get together to discuss all things Synth and keyboard based. New bits of kit out on the market, etc, etc.

Once we get the technicals and geek talk out the way, about 45 minutes in, then there is talk with Mick about his time with Simple Minds and just…his background of being a synth player and how it all came to be. It’s a great thing and Mick shares great anecdotes and is a lot of fun. He always gives great banter.

I am going to drop in on the interview right at the point where Mick says he went to see the band before he joined. What he says about Jim absolutely cracked me up and had me in stitches! Which then meant I missed the next minute or so of the conversation. The very interesting point Mick made about Jim and his stutter (or on anyone with a stutter – in the broader sense).

Anyway, let’s cut to it. But I recommended you maybe go back a few minutes on the clip and listen to Mick talk about taking up (or having it thrust upon him, more accurately!) the accordion and sticking with the rest of the video.

 

Big Gold Dreams – A Story Of Independent Scottish Music: 1977 -1989

Due for release on February 22nd on the Cherry Red Records label is a 5 CD box set of the best of Scottish music released on independent record labels from for first stages of punk in 1977, through to the modern mainstream in 1989.

It’s an impressive and extensive list of acts to come out of such a small country, and a number of them go on to find major commercial success – none more successful than “our” Simple Minds – then not quite fully formed and under the original moniker of Johnny And The Self Abusers. The song that features is Dead Vandals (of the two songs that JATSA commercially produced, this is the one I prefer – even though Saints And Sinners by its pace adheres more to the punk ethos).

Below is a review in the most recent issue of Record Collector magazine. The review is very good. At the end of the post, you find a “taster” playlist on Spotify as to what’s to come on the box set.

You’ll also find a documentary, well, more a multi-interview piece about the music scene in Scotland during this thriving and almost creatively saturated period – with contributions from industury insiders, DJs and presenters and musicians.

Show Me What You Can Do

Much like with Simple Minds, I had been aware of Talking Heads for the longest time. My brother had copies of More Songs About Buildings And Food and Fear Of Music. At least in my head these are the TH album covers I remember seeing in his collection.

I don’t remember him listening to them much…but he must have. And I certainly never listened to them (I would sneak into his bedroom when he was out with friends and play his albums on his full stack sound system). I remember being a little scared of the cover of MSABAF – it looked rather strange to my young eyes for some reason.

As I got older, I naturally became more aware of them. Knew things like Psycho Killer, Once In A Lifetime, Burning Down The House – in the age of MTV such groundbreaking videos made in impact. Then of course Stop Making Sense was a HUGE thing in the cinemas upon its release. It was EVERYWHERE!

As I got more exposed to their music over the past few years, I have a favourite in amongst the songs I know of theirs – This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody).

Over the past couple of months, I have started to immerse myself in the music of Talking Heads. It’s been a progression.

First I gave Fear Of Music the odd listen. Cities started to grow on me as a track. I then started to listen to MSABAF and recently that has really, really grown on me. It is the album I currently play most. Thank You For Sending Me An Angel is currently the constant earwarm. But a lot of the album is really getting under the skin.

This is how music from particular artists would seep in and finally make an impact with me. It was rarely an instantaneous thing. It’s always been like true love is…a growth. A measured process.

I feel a little silly for being retrograde with this stuff…but that is the shining legacy of the music I grew up with – that there was SSOOO much great stuff around one worried they would spread themselves too thin trying to explore it all.

I feel I should try and give new bands and new music my time too. I try – but it certainly doesn’t come from the charts. That stuff really does not interest me at all. That may be some inverted snobbery there. But I can’t help but feel snobbish when chart “music” feels much more about marketability than being an artistic endeavour.

I think the exploration of Talking Heads will continue…and I’m sure lots of other retrograde and retrospective explorations of late 70s/early 80s post-punk/new wave outfits will continue.

Vive la music!

How To Buy – Post Punk LLV Magazine Special

Long Live Vinyl magazine is issuing a special run of the magazine called “The Vinyl Buyer’s Bible”. Volume 2 is currently on the shelves and I had a flick through a digital copy.

The “bible” is broken down into certain genres of music. In amongst the latest edition was a “How To Buy” on the post-punk genre.

It struck particular interest in me as a genre of music I really like. And as a fan of a certain band, I was hoping to see them represented within the pages accordingly. HAVE NO FEAR! Empires And Dance was INDEED amongst the illuminati discussed. But, WTAF? A Virgin reissue copy is worth DOUBLE a Zoom original?! Are you having a giraffe!!? I’m sorry…but NOT IN THIS HOUSEHOLD! My first pressing green label copy is one of my most prized possessions! I positively covet it! I nearly…just…I dunno…IMPLODED…had an orgasm…when I unwrapped the copy I obtained from a seller on Discogs around the summer of 2016. I was in raptures!

My tattoo DEFINITELY has the Zoom catalogue number for it (SPART 1140) and NOT a Virgin one. I mean, COME ON!

I digress.

It’s a fairly comprehensive list of the best the post-punk genre has to offer. Something for you peeps (and me!) to sink your teeth into.