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Friday, September 02, 2011

Said The Gramophone: The Chills and Genesis

The Dunedin Sound to The Sound of Eden Done…

For most of his life, my brother believed that there was a direct correlation between the Montreal Expos’ fortunes and his own. (Given my brother’s occasional happiness and success, the theory was dubious from the start, and it would finally be disproved in 2004 when the Expos were given a name-change and moved to Washington and he was not.) In 1981, the Expos made the playoffs for the first and only time in franchise history, but were defeated by the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. The final game, which was played on a drizzly Monday and was decided by a late-game home-run by Rick Monday, would come to be known by Expos fans as Blue Monday.

My sister was never a sports fan. She preferred art to athletics and my earliest memories of her are my earliest musical memories: “Blue Monday” or the Happy Mondays or The Chills emanating muffled through the closed door of her room - music that has persistently shaped my understanding of how the world sounded at the time I came into it.

Ten years after Blue Monday, I cared a lot more about Fernando Velenzuala than I did about The Chills. Ten years after that, baseball had lost its appeal and music had replaced it in the forefront of my mind. Nearly ten years hence, I think about music less than I used to and baseball almost not at all, though I still derive great pleasure from The Chills and can’t help but think of Fernando Velenzuala as I listen.

Repoz Posted: September 02, 2011 at 09:58 PM | 46 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers, expos, history, international, music, nationals

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   1. madvillain Posted: September 02, 2011 at 10:40 PM (#3915831)
Wow, never thought I'd see this blog posted here. Just wanted to say, if you like indie music, check it out.
   2. asinwreck Posted: September 02, 2011 at 11:18 PM (#3915862)
Timely, as Martin Phillips will soon release his tribute to Frank McCourt, Shell Company With A Hundred Houses.
   3. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: September 03, 2011 at 01:51 AM (#3915950)
Me neither, Matt.
I bought Submarine Bells on a recommendation ... never played it all that much (these two tracks are solid, though). But, it's kind of neat how much solid music came out of a relatively small town.
   4. Dale Sams Posted: September 03, 2011 at 03:13 AM (#3915971)
What does this have to do with Genesis?
   5. Roger Freed Is Ready Posted: September 03, 2011 at 03:31 AM (#3915980)
All that Dunedin chamber pop was fun, but I preferred the more difficult stuff the Jefferies boys were doing in little New Plymouth. And what does Genesis have to do with anything? And has anyone ever explained the weird intersection between indie pop fandom and baseball geekery?
   6. salvomania Posted: September 03, 2011 at 03:44 AM (#3915989)
One great band, one horrible band.
   7. simon bedford Posted: September 03, 2011 at 04:18 AM (#3915999)
well the band that did "suppers ready" and "i know what i like" and spawned the great peter gabriel arent the horrible band,, but the chills never bothered me that much, didnt excite me much either always sort of second tier.
   8. Roger Freed Is Ready Posted: September 03, 2011 at 04:35 AM (#3916010)
I tried to make a Pandora station out of Brian Eno Another Green World songs. It kept playing Genesis and Gentle Giant. I irrationally panicked and deleted it, as if someone would somehow find out and miscategorize me as a Genesis fan. So there's something similar there, although I'm not hearing it.
   9. Dale Sams Posted: September 03, 2011 at 04:58 AM (#3916020)
Not a ####### thing wrong with Genesis....and I believe Eno produced one of Gabriel's solo albums, but I could be wrong.
   10. Roger Freed Is Ready Posted: September 03, 2011 at 05:06 AM (#3916022)
Eno was definitely in that Bowie-Byrne-Gabriel-Fripp axis in the late 70s/early 80s. (Hey, so was Darryl Hall, something I never quite understood.) But sorry, that was a different Peter Gabriel than that bombastic Genesis guy. Although the bombastic guy reemerged in the 90s.
   11. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: September 03, 2011 at 07:03 AM (#3916032)
Eno was definitely in that Bowie-Byrne-Gabriel-Fripp axis in the late 70s/early 80s. (Hey, so was Darryl Hall, something I never quite understood.)

I thought Daryl Hall did a nice job on "North Star," though I don't know what-all else he did within this particular axis.
wellgetoutthere'sthedoor
   12. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 03, 2011 at 07:09 AM (#3916033)
I tried to make a Pandora station out of Brian Eno Another Green World songs. It kept playing Genesis and Gentle Giant. I irrationally panicked and deleted it, as if someone would somehow find out and miscategorize me as a Genesis fan.


Seeing as Phil Collins plays drums and percussion on Another Green World (and he also played on Taking Tiger Mountain and Before and After Science), it makes perfect sense to me.

Genesis, IMO, are one of the half-dozen greatest bands in the history of rock.
   13. Esoteric Posted: September 03, 2011 at 07:15 AM (#3916034)
I see vortex has made his appearance in this thread already to vouch for Genesis as one of the greatest bands in the history of rock, so let me just second his endorsement. Seriously, people: Genesis isn't just Invisible Touch and We Can't Dance. They put out eleven fantastic studio albums and three great live albums prior to the point where they blew-up into the hitmaking machine people now automatically think of when the band's name is mentioned. And one of those records (Selling England By The Pound) is arguably one of the three or four greatest rock albums ever released, full stop. (It's indisputably the greatest prog album, but that is a somewhat lesser achievement.)

I thought Daryl Hall did a nice job on "North Star," though I don't know what-all else he did within this particular axis.
If you liked his guest vox on Robert Fripp's Exposure, then you really ought to check out his solo album from the same era, Sacred Songs. Fripp produced it as the third part of his so-called "MOR Trilogy" (the other two were his own Exposure and Peter Gabriel 2) and it may well be the best of the three. A thousand miles removed from the Hall & Oates "sound" and well worth hunting down.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: September 03, 2011 at 10:23 AM (#3916054)
Most importantly, if not for Genesis, we never would have had Mike & the Mechanics.
   15. salvomania Posted: September 03, 2011 at 02:34 PM (#3916093)
Genesis, IMO, are one of the half-dozen greatest bands in the history of rock.


Except they weren't a rock band.

the great peter gabriel


I don't know much about any of his music except for what I was exposed to by pop culture, such as "Sledgehammer," which might be one of the worst songs of all time.
   16. Dale Sams Posted: September 03, 2011 at 03:32 PM (#3916115)
Ain't nuthin wrong with Mike and the Mechanics either!!

And the 'pseudo-prog stuff' on Invisible Touch is nice as well. I understand there's some on We Can't Dance, but by that point, Phil had pushed me as far as I could go.

As for Peter Gabriel, Salvo do yourself a favor and steal "Peter Gabriel 3" right now...it's not actually called that since his first 3 albums were all called 'Peter Gabriel'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Gabriel_(1980_album)
   17. lieiam Posted: September 03, 2011 at 03:38 PM (#3916117)
Wow, The Chills! That's awesome just coming across the reference here... To this day The Chills remain one of my all time favorite bands. I absolutely love the Kaleidoscope World collection and the Submarine Bells album... and like everything else quite a lot as well. I still am periodically amazed at the fact that Secret Box ever came out.

And I'm a Dodgers fan as well, and was 10 years old in 1981 so I certainly have fond memories of that baseball year (well, aside from the strike). As for Genesis... very much not my cup of tea!
   18. tshipman Posted: September 03, 2011 at 03:42 PM (#3916120)
Genesis fans are always amusingly touchy that the band made tons of shitty music.
   19. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: September 03, 2011 at 04:03 PM (#3916128)
I still am periodically amazed at the fact that Secret Box ever came out.


Which means that at least 2 of us here own it. (Probably more than that.)
   20. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 03, 2011 at 04:09 PM (#3916133)
Genesis fans are always amusingly touchy that the band made tons of shitty music.

Yes, Invisibly Touchy, you could say.

Wokka wokka!
   21. Dale Sams Posted: September 03, 2011 at 04:16 PM (#3916135)
Genesis fans are always amusingly touchy that the band made tons of shitty music.


Dale Sams suspects that "Illegal Alien" didn't make the cut on the reunion tour. (That's still a great album)
   22. asinwreck Posted: September 03, 2011 at 05:32 PM (#3916178)
All that Dunedin chamber pop was fun, but I preferred the more difficult stuff the Jefferies boys were doing in little New Plymouth.


Is Peter Jefferies forever shut away teaching, or might we hear a new record from him one day? It's now been 10 years since Closed Circuit, and if that's the last great album we get in this dull world, it's a good one to go out on. My favorite of his, a record John Cale would envy, more melodic than his early work with Graeme and more austere than the lush At Swim 2 Birds with Jono Lonie.

Speaking of wondering when we'll ever hear from someone again, it's now been 7 years since Stand By with no new Chills record in sight.

On the other hand, the Clean remain active and produced the single best show I saw last year. Hard to play 40 songs without having a boring moment or two, but Bob Scott and the Kilgours managed the trick.
   23. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 03, 2011 at 05:42 PM (#3916181)
Genesis fans are always amusingly touchy that the band made tons of shitty music.


I don't think we're that touchy about it; we're just honest enough to admit that they made some mediocre pop songs in their declining years. But it's only a very small percentage of the band's total output, and in no way detracts from the tons of magnificent music they made.

I love the Chills; "Double Summer" from Soft Bomb is a perfect pop song. Loved the Bats and especially the Verlaines, too. I've interviewed both Tony Banks of Genesis and Martin Phillipps of the Chills...
   24. Dale Sams Posted: September 03, 2011 at 06:15 PM (#3916194)
I must admit I find the Gabriel-Genesis stuff mostly inaccessible. Rawness of youth, bad production, general wonkiness. I did think their one-off of 'Carpet Crawlers 1999' amazing because they're older, more polished and have better production facilities.
   25. Steve Treder Posted: September 03, 2011 at 08:03 PM (#3916240)
While one can certainly smile about the artsy-fartsy pretentiousness of them, I still enjoy listening to the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway Genesis album with Peter Gabriel, as well as the Trick of the Tail and Wind and Wuthering albums with Phil Collins. It's interesting music, with a certain, I don't know, innocence about it.
   26. Esoteric Posted: September 03, 2011 at 11:34 PM (#3916349)
Genesis fans are always amusingly touchy that the band made tons of shitty music.
Not really. They didn't make tons of shitty music: only two bad albums at the tail end of their career. What I think many of us ARE touchy about is that the band -- as vortex said, one of the greatest rock groups of the last forty years -- is more well-known for the massive (but mediocre) pop hits of those last two albums rather than the quirky, ambitious, and often inspiring genius of their first ELEVEN.
   27. ray james Posted: September 04, 2011 at 12:36 AM (#3916382)
What really hurt Genesis was when Phil Collins kept saying in interviews how he should have been a much bigger star except that he wasn't telegenic enough in the age of MTV. It smacked of self-pity and commercials musicians don't get to rate their own music.
   28. Textbook Editor Posted: September 04, 2011 at 01:26 AM (#3916403)
It's possible I'm one of the few people to really love early Genesis and Pavement, but I wouldn't be surprised to find lots of people on this board to be fans of both. "I am large, I contain multitudes," and all that...

I know it was 1986 and all--jeez, 25 years ago!--but in that year Peter Gabriel and Genesis both had albums in the top 10 on Billboard at the same time. I'd have to think this was not something anyone would have guessed would happen in, say, 1973.

Fun fact: Mark Kozelek's cover of "Follow You, Follow Me" was the song my wife and I danced to at our wedding.
   29. escabeche Posted: September 04, 2011 at 02:45 AM (#3916437)
My memories of Fernando Valenzuela are from the 1993 Orioles, at which point both he and Genesis had seen better days. My favorite Genesis record is _Abacab_, which I guess in this analogy is like Valenzuela's 1986 season? There's probably no other Genesis album I'd listen to before _Brave Words_.
   30. Dale Sams Posted: September 04, 2011 at 02:58 AM (#3916439)
What really hurt Genesis was when Phil Collins kept saying in interviews how he should have been a much bigger star except that he wasn't telegenic enough in the age of MTV


Lorlz.

Phil is very very lucky (I remember a Rolling Stones cover unabashedly calling him a sex symbol, and I guess he was) to have received as much face-time as he did. He doesn't think he was photogenic enough? (Who was?..yes, yes Duran Duran... It's not like Split Enz* and Wall of Voodoo wer fashion models)Try gracing the airwaves with that mug today Phil.

*Gawd, and Crowded House's 'Something So Strong' video? Their WAG's were dogs.
   31. NTNgod Posted: September 04, 2011 at 03:25 AM (#3916448)
It's not like Genesis were alone in that general timeframe in going from prog to pop/arena rock in the late 70s/early MTV era*. Veteran artists of all genres did the same thing (Steve Winwood, MTV superstar !?!).

At least they didn't jump on the late-70s disco bandwagon like tons of other veteran artists did.

* Yes, ELP (LOVE BEACH !?!?), Asia (parts of King Crimson/Yes/ELP and the Buggles), and so forth...
   32. Dale Sams Posted: September 04, 2011 at 03:44 AM (#3916458)
Asia...disco?
   33. NTNgod Posted: September 04, 2011 at 03:51 AM (#3916460)
No, they were in the prog--> pop/arena rock footnote.

Thankfully, disco was no longer mainstream by the time Asia was formed, or else Carl Palmer probably would been doing his best Tony Thompson impression.
   34. Roger Freed Is Ready Posted: September 04, 2011 at 04:03 AM (#3916463)
Is Peter Jefferies forever shut away teaching, or might we hear a new record from him one day? It's now been 10 years since Closed Circuit, and if that's the last great album we get in this dull world, it's a good one to go out on. My favorite of his, a record John Cale would envy, more melodic than his early work with Graeme and more austere than the lush At Swim 2 Birds with Jono Lonie.


Seems like Peter Jefferies has given up on the music biz. In addition to his stuff with brother Graeme (This Kind of Punishment) and some of his really, well, punishing solo work, he did some great stuff with Jean Smith of Mecca Normal as Two Foot Flame. That's the only format in which I ever caught him live. I'm not sure he makes it to the nothern hemisphere much. And the comparison to John Cale is a good one.

I tried to make a Pandora station out of Brian Eno Another Green World songs. It kept playing Genesis



Seeing as Phil Collins plays drums and percussion on Another Green World (and he also played on Taking Tiger Mountain and Before and After Science), it makes perfect sense to me.


Yeah, some of the same people, but a really different sound. That's why even though I love Pandora, I think it's so-called algorithm is b.s. It claims to be getting down deep into the DNA of the music and looking for deep similarities. But the Eno/Another Green World station proved to me that it's looking for musical family trees. I see little deep musical relationship between Peter Gabriel era Genesis and Another Green World. Nor do I see much of a deep musical relationship between old 1970 King Crimson and Robert Fripp's 80s version of King Crimson. Pandora's algorithm is a whole lot closer to Amazon's "people who buy A tend to buy B" than they're willing to let on.
   35. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 04, 2011 at 07:13 AM (#3916495)
I know it was 1986 and all--jeez, 25 years ago!--but in that year Peter Gabriel and Genesis both had albums in the top 10 on Billboard at the same time. I'd have to think this was not something anyone would have guessed would happen in, say, 1973.


Oh, it went much deeper than that. You had the mothership's Invisible Touch hit #3; Gabriel's So did it one better by hitting #2 (and they did it the same week, August 2). Collins's No Jacket Required, which hit #1 when it was released the previous year, was hanging around the lower reaches of the chart, as was the first Mike + the Mechanics album, and at the end of the year Steve Hackett's unlamented project with Steve Howe, GTR, hit #11. So there were five Genesis-related albums in the high reaches of the charts that year.
   36. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 04, 2011 at 07:51 AM (#3916502)
It's possible I'm one of the few people to really love early Genesis and Pavement, but I wouldn't be surprised to find lots of people on this board to be fans of both.


I'm in that camp...
   37. Esoteric Posted: September 04, 2011 at 08:30 PM (#3916744)
So am I. In fact, Genesis and Pavement are two of my favorite bands of all time. Radiohead would probably complete the trifecta.
   38. Steve Treder Posted: September 04, 2011 at 08:46 PM (#3916750)
Oh, it went much deeper than that. You had the mothership's Invisible Touch hit #3; Gabriel's So did it one better by hitting #2 (and they did it the same week, August 2). Collins's No Jacket Required, which hit #1 when it was released the previous year, was hanging around the lower reaches of the chart, as was the first Mike + the Mechanics album, and at the end of the year Steve Hackett's unlamented project with Steve Howe, GTR, hit #11. So there were five Genesis-related albums in the high reaches of the charts that year.

The way I figured it was this: these prog-rock guys from the early '70s understood that they had musician chops that dwarfed your standard pop hack. And, they were no longer 20-something kids feeling a need to prove their seriousness as "artists," they were now 30-something career musicians needing to support families and pay alimony and all such. So, one after another they pretty much decided, screw it, I can crank out poppy stuff with one keyboard behind my back, and get to some serious paycheck-cashing.

EDIT: Which, to some degree, neatly summarizes the difference between the '70s and the '80s in many regards. Serious paycheck-cashing might be the 1980s motto.
   39. Dale Sams Posted: September 04, 2011 at 09:59 PM (#3916762)
Except...if you watch URGH! A MUSIC WAR...you'll see a lot of daring acts that had nothing to do with cashing a paycheck. (well...at the time..The Police would cash their checks later)
   40. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 04, 2011 at 10:13 PM (#3916766)
The Police would cash their checks later


Well, the Police had virtually nothing musically in common with most of the other groups in that movie. Andy Summers was almost 40, and had played with several well-known groups, including art/rock band Soft Machine. Stewart Copeland wasn't quite as old, but was older than most of the other musicians in that scene, and had played in prog-rock band Curved Air. Sting hadn't played in any famous bands, but came from a jazz/jazz-fusion background. So the members of the Police had much more in common musically with prog-rock musicians than they did with the members of the Dead Kennedys or the Cramps...
   41. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: September 04, 2011 at 10:35 PM (#3916776)
Except...if you watch URGH! A MUSIC WAR...you'll see a lot of daring acts that had nothing to do with cashing a paycheck.


Which I gather from a couple of Facebook posts is now available on no-frills DVD? I've got an old VHS taped off Movie Channel or Showtime some 25 years ago, though I was lucky enough to see it in Phoenix in the cinema as part of a test screening in, I guess, the fall of '81 (I assume it was a test screening -- we were given cards to fill out, & as will be noted in a second, it was a longer version than what showed up subsequently) & at a regular showing a few months later, with some of the more esoteric acts (John Cooper Clarke, Splodgenessabounds, probably Joolz Holland, probably Invisible Sex) excised.

(well...at the time..The Police would cash their checks later)


The Police also weren't "daring." For that matter, I'd say they were already in full paycheck cashing-mode; I can't remember offhand when the Urgh! concerts were filmed (though I remember seeing reviews of the gigs in the likes of, I think, Slash &/or Damage), but by then Outlandos d'Amour & Regatta de Blanc had already been commercially quite successful, & so probably had Zenyatta Mondatta.
   42. NTNgod Posted: September 04, 2011 at 10:45 PM (#3916778)
Which I gather from a couple of Facebook posts is now available on no-frills DVD?

It was one of the earliest Warner Archive DVDs (burn-on-demand DVD-Rs from the studio). Warner Archive titles are always pretty much just the movie w/ no extras (though I think some of the newer ones have the occasional extras).
   43. Accent Shallow Posted: September 04, 2011 at 10:54 PM (#3916779)
Taking Tiger Mountain, Another Green World, and Before and After Science are all superlative.
   44. Dale Sams Posted: September 04, 2011 at 10:58 PM (#3916780)
The Police also weren't "daring." For that matter, I'd say they were already in full paycheck cashing-mode


Well...kinda. While Ghost in the Machine was quite popular, The Police at even that point are nowhere near FULLMEGACASHTHROWDOWN that Synchronicity brought. You know, they're still being political/artsy with the great Invisible Sun. Larfing it up in their videos...etc...

And Vortex is right..But, I was just using URGH as an example that the meme of the 80's being a musical wasteland or paycheck for 70's groups * isn't quite correct.

*Hey, I *like* 'All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes', and Lindsey Buckingham's 'Go Insane'.
   45. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: September 04, 2011 at 11:04 PM (#3916781)
I took vortex's comment to be pretty much limited to, in his words,

these prog-rock guys from the early '70s [who] understood that they had musician chops that dwarfed your standard pop hack. And, they were no longer 20-something kids feeling a need to prove their seriousness as "artists," they were now 30-something career musicians needing to support families and pay alimony and all such.


True or not (I pay absolutely zero attention to prog rock, as I wasn't sufficiently old or pretentious enough for that crap when it was big), none of that passage applies to the non-Police bands in Urgh! ... except, I suppose, for Lux Interior being in his 30s at the time. (Is there a complete recording of that Cramps set? That performance is drop-dead brilliant -- easily the highlight of the movie for me, not that the Wall of Voodoo, Klaus Nomi or Magazine songs are exactly dreadful, either.)
   46. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: September 04, 2011 at 11:42 PM (#3916786)
Wow. I am about as old as Pete Townshend was when he was working on Iron Man; The Musical. And I never created anything like Who's Next. Where did I go wrong?

As for Genesis, if I came across a multiple choice test and I was totally stumped, I would use ABACAB as a guide.

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