posted on September 8, 2011 at 1:18 pm

fallen into shadow


i was born a genius and a pain in the arse

on some strange no mans land

the symptoms of mild madness could also be a gift

as soon as i could remember i felt music deeply

i felt the words to the songs i heard very deeply

more deeply now i realise than perhaps most children do

except for other people whose vocation it was to write songs

certain songs made strange resonances in me

to me a boy of four i had no idea how to write a song

but my fascination was predestined

the songs that were around in those days were not rocknroll

luckily some of them had other commending attributes

beautiful melodies and some very clever lyrical devices

i was taking notes i guess in my small boyish fashion

i would have been no good for any other job

my only ability is to dream up improbable things maybe strum a guitar

then the beatles liberated my world from the dullness of the fifties in 1963

the beatles are the best

the beatles are the beginning the genesis of everything that followed

i know i was there

i saw it happen

i felt the volcanic shifts in the western world as the beatles evolved

only dylan can truly be said to be outside their influence

a lot of hoo hah was made of the beatles songs

they assumed an importance previously unheard of

suddenly the popular song had gotten out of control

it had mutated into actual bona fide high art eg:  strawberry fields forever

as far as i could see

no one had pulled this off before

no one can convince me they are not the original and the best

paradoxically its still possible to like other things more than the beatles

but their  individuality  their panache and their innovation cannot be underestimated

so at a fortunate time in my life from age of 9 to 16

i had the beatles before my eyes changing evolving and finally shattering

some of their finest work is UNBELIEVABLY brilliant

so i was schooled by the finest via the radio

each new beatles song was an event

where would they go this time…..? the world asked itself

and we saw them go from simple to ornate and back to simple

the importance of the beatles therefore cannot be overestimated

other things sprang up that i liked

dylan was always on my mind

where the fuck was he getting all that stuff from…?

i began to notice his methodology and his devices

i began to notice the way he and the beatles were influencing each other

when bob and george wrote “i’d have you anytime”

i thought that was the most sublime dreamy gorgeous song EVER!

yeah bob dylan so different to the beatles

more raw more visceral

hes like a powerful play

theyre like a powerful film

he is less frills but his songs are more wordy

he is less inclined to step out of character

the beatles often sing as different characters in their songs

all these things i felt and thought about

i was a kid while these giants of music had their purple patches

they influenced my music at a cellular level

i could no more escape them than a flying bird escape the air

but i had to also adopt their obviously high standards

i had to demand from myself what i had come to expect of them

i had to demand that of others too

i judge(d) everything against beatles dylan

thats why when people say to me

oh steve forget the singing on such n such …just listen to the music…

but after dylan n lennon as benchmarks who can listen to such dribble

as 99% of the stuff one must endure at any given time

the sixties were not all brilliant geniuses

there was the same awful stuff as well

the unimaginative cutesy maudlin slop

someone always exists to like and buy that i guess

i learnt to draw influence from the things i really hated

i analysed why i hated them so

it was so i could make sure those things were not in my songs

people have always asked me why i am so vehement in my hatred of some songs

it is because terrible rock music affects me at a deep level

like a surgeon seeing a bad scar

or a hairdresser seeing a bad haircut

this is my field and i can never just have a casual relationship with music

i cant just let it go

someone asked me about the group bread

i liked hearing bread on the radio when i was sixteen

they were not dylan or the beatles

i guess their sheer prettiness got to me

i have guilty pleasures and weaknesses just like anybody else

some things seem to defy my usual heavy handed criticism

but i listened to things on the radio that displeased me

and i thought about why

almost as much as i thought about why i liked the other stuff

it was good for me to be so polarised

many things came along that i liked

byrds donovon simon n garfunkel traffic walker bros the who

all the time i was enjoying i suppose i was trying to figure it out

many things came along i disliked

country n western disco dance pub rock etc

all the time i’m not enjoying i suppose i was trying to figure it out

there were certain recurring patterns that i began to perceive

of course i hadnt picked up an instrument yet

i had some dismal failure at piano lessons at age 11

but i guess i assumed i’d be able to play something when the time came

at this pre 16 age i was gathering information that would be indispensable later

but i have always been studying songwriting and music making

music has always moved me in such unexpected and delightful ways

i wanted to recreate that feeling i felt ….partially for a selfish egotistic reason

its always been there i suppose it always will

some of what i do is motivated by a desire to show off and be the best

nevertheless it is an energy to tap into

i have thought long and hard about rock music

nothing about what i do is accidental

except paradoxically my actual songwriting techniques

which recombine my various bytes of information endlessly

such is my wealth of opinion/knowledge that this produces newish stuff

most of the time……

more tomorrow on ttb



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