Manual Totally Wired: Postpunk Interviews and Overviews

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  1. Description
  2. Simon Reynolds' 'Totally Wired: Post-Punk Interviews & Overviews'
  3. Totally Wired. Postpunk Interviews and Overviews
  4. Totally Wired: Postpunk Interviews and Overviews

It was undeniably canny of Reynolds to turn the research [over a hundred interviews] for his earlier tome into another volume. Of course, this gave him the opportunity to explore voices that were perhaps footnotes in the first book and give them their own space to breathe. As soon as you are reading an interview with the likes of Paul Morley, one is rewarded with the follow up chapter being devoted to Trevor Horn.

One of the more interesting chapters here is with Linder Sterling. Apparently Ludus recorded both for them and New Hormones, but I was certainly unaware of these recordings at the time. Then came the revelation that Ms. Sterling was linked up with Howard Devoto during the early part of his music career.

As an Associates devotee, the Alan Rankine interview is practically worth the price of the book for me. Billy MacKenzie manages to get a lot of ink with his astounding vocals, eccentric character, and ultimately, his suicide.


In his own way, Reynolds is capably addressing this deficit with his two volumes on the period. Like most people, my life hardly peaked during high school! But it seemed like music did. After all, I had been listening closely from onward and it was clear that some new paradigms were shifting and developing in the postpunk period that made all kinds of art that spoke to me successfully possible in ways that had not happened before in my life.

Simon Reynolds' 'Totally Wired: Post-Punk Interviews & Overviews'

When Reynolds echoes these sentiments he helpfully mentions that esteemed middle aged writers like Greil Marcus were flipping for these records too. When they supported The Clash, in every other city in Britain they got booed. But back to post-punk — I always think of Joy Division and U2. There was this wonderful kid who was a radio DJ and plugger, and he used to bring U2 to every radio station and every TV station in the north of England every three months to break his beloved U2, whom no one cared about then.

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  3. Totally Wired. Postpunk Interviews and Overviews.

How it had really hurt him. How Ian was the number-one performer of his generation and he knew he was always going to be number two. I was watching, so angry because all the dinosaurs at Wembley were playing and going out to the world, and they were all utter shite. And then U2 came on and they were good. And then a girl fainted, and Bono began to move off the stage to help her.

You did it, you did it for Ian! God bless you. They were fantastic at the Superbowl. You can get a bit above yourself. But we were fucking brilliant!

I want to see guys do that album and pull it off musically! As soon as we had the name Slits, that took away the chance of radio play. Levene or Vicious? That was about Keith and Sid, but mostly Keith. Viv wrote the words. Palmolive wrote it because she was a shoplifter. She went with a big overcoat to the big awful supermarkets. They deserved to be robbed. It was about the shopping centres just coming in. City centres with no cars. And this big reputation of the punks being the violent, glue-sniffing crazy people.

But we were the least violent. The Teddy Boy revival was very violent and all the skinheads who were Ku Klux Klan, not the punky skinheads into reggae, who were cool.

Totally Wired. Postpunk Interviews and Overviews

Then you had the most vicious of all, the John Travolta disco followers. They were the worst. I still have a little scar there. There was so much violence going on back then. Those were the soul boys in the black community. Sticksman was gold chains, pimp hats, flares, open shirt. Rastas were really against the sticksman, they were about peace and rebelliousness against the system. The sticksman, by contrast, wanted money and flashy clothes, to put slick stuff in their hair. But it was Rastas who got the stigma in the media for being the scary ones, the thieves. As punks we had that in common with the Rastas too, that we were more peaceful too.

Punks did get into violence and fights sometimes but not compared to other youths. We had a revolution to live up to, as punks, but these glue-sniffing kids had nothing to inspire them. Those other sets of people were really scary. They had razor blades and bottles, because there was no guns. So in the eighties, in Jamaica, you could say that, with the rise of dancehall, the Sticksman triumphed over the Rasta. Were you a fully-fledged Rastafarian believer?

As you can see, my hair is down to my feet now. And then you get where nuns kill their own babies. They found in Europe, between the monastery and the nunnery, a big tunnel full of baby skeletons. The nuns killed their babies, because the nuns got pregnant quickly. After Cut you did the split single with The Pop Group.

I wrote that one because rapping had become very popular.

Totally Wired: Postpunk Interviews and Overviews

Me and Neneh Cherry went to New York and picked up these underground rap records. For us Sugarhill was already too commercial! I think animals are better than human beings. I created that name in my own head. I was writing a lot in and , and I came up with that name. Then New Age religion and New Age music came along. Both records are more diffuse and atmospheric than the debuts, but very adventurous.

Totally Wired

CBS were using us as a tax write-off and they stuck us on the shelf. At least Cut got promoted. It has all sorts of eerie vocal stuff going on. Sounds like something built in the studio, rather than playable live. Viv was singing it. It was so out there because of the jazz influence we had from Don Cherry. I got to know Neneh through her father.

She came on tour with him. We were friendly with Don and we also went to a lot of Sun Ra gigs. We were without management, being sabotaged left and right. With a horrible record company. It was too much. Adrian was a hustler in a true sense: he was managing various reggae artists and toasters, and selling records out of the back of his van. Distributing reggae releases from Jamaica.

So he was one of the only white boys in the scene doing heavy hustling-type business. When he lived in the squat, he got this tiny little mixing machine with tiny little knobs - totally cheap, a terrible little thing - but he became a genius out of that. He taught himself to be a great mixer, engineer, producer. We partnershipped and I found the name New Age Steppers. New Age Steppers was a collective, but it became more and more his thing and he basically took over. And then you took the whole nostalgie de la boue thing one stage further and actually went to live in the jungle, right?

Jungles, plural. Talking about Return of the Giant Slits reminded me of how I lived through the eighties, because the eighties went so yuppie. It was the cocaine age. But I just literally continued with the earthbeat thing and went into the jungle, mostly in Jamaica and also to Borneo, where I stayed with the Dayak Indians. They look and live like American Indians. Only recently have they put down bow and arrow. An amazing people. Next door was a tribe that was headhunters, so we had to be careful.

We went to Belize too later on. We had to carry a dog with us, because if we were going to be attacked by a jaguar, the dog would be the first to be eaten! You have to cultivate the land a little bit, as a farm, to get the land really cheap from the government.