In the middle of 1968 The Pretty Things were seated in a conference room with EMI executives and production engineer Norman Smith at EMI’s corporate headquarters in Manchester Square, London. The Pretty Things were presenting their new album, and their first with EMI, a concept album based around the story of a fictional character by the name of Sebastian F Sorrow: SF Sorrow.
Standing at a lectern in the conference room, Smith, in-house engineer at Abbey Road studios where the album was recorded, read snippets from the story before the corresponding song on the album was played. But it was apparently immediately that the corporate stiffs had no empathy for The Pretty Things’ ground-breaking album.
“They’re all sitting there in their suits, looking a bit bemused,” recalls singer Phil May. “We weren’t sure how well it went down, so the next morning I get a phone call. Because we were going to have both the story and the lyrics on the cover, they rang me and asked me I really thought the story was important enough to print on the cover. I was gobsmacked. Why did we read it to them? What was the point of that whole exercise, and now you’re asking me ‘Was it important?’ Imagine if it came out with the story – it would have been really confusing! What the bloody hell is going on?”
Michael Plater live. Fawnia photo.
Now, there are a few of you out there who read The I-94 Bar regularly. You may have noticed I'm rather a fan of Australian musician/songwriters Michael Plater and Tim Hudspith.
Plater's music spans various indie, gothic folk, country and “noir” influences, and his first two albums “Exit Keys” (2012) and “Mythologies” (2016) have received worldwide critical acclaim. Hudspith plays guitar with Goldentone, Colourhweel, The Low-Fi Cowboys, Death Valley PTA and Dead Eyed Seraphim and is a solo artist in his own right.
This month Melbourne-based Plater and Adelaidian Hudspith (a Ballarat expat) will be touring select interstate venues with intertwining dates, plus some shows in their own right at the end. So, Sydneysiders, Brisvegas residents, Canbrites and Newkies, get out of the house. Dates are at the bottom of the article.
I was hoping to see the two Sydney shows, but ... as you know, Adelaide's electricity bills aren't what they used to be, so I had to content myself with doing an interview with both Plater and Hudspith..
Jasmine Hirst photo.
Lydia Lunch doesn’t particularly care whether people are offended by her art.
From her beginnings in New York no wave outfit, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, to her spoken-word performances, to her collaborations with Rowland S Howard in Shotgun Wedding, Swans’ Michael Gira, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore, Bob Quine (Richard and the Hell and the Voidoids), right through to her more recent profane expositions on the United States under Donald Trump, Lunch’s self-defined brief has been deliberately and avowedly confrontationalist.
In her own words, Lunch is a conceptualist, exploring concepts that highlight the exploitation and marginalisation of the individual in contemporary society, the typically patriarchal and oppressive discourse wielded by institutions of power.
If you can’t stand the heat in Lunch’s artistic kitchen, go find yourself a fast-food media joint and starve on the processed, intellectually bankrupt crud that masquerades as entertainment.
In May 2018 Lunch returns to Australia with her Retrovirus concept, trawling across her 40-year career with the aid of Bob Bert (Sonic Youth, Chrome Cranks), Weasel Walter (The Flying Luttenbachers) and Algis Kizys (Swans). I spoke to Lydia Lunch in her sometime home town of New York City.