Sunday, August 12, 2007

There are two records I love and cherish, both of which also possess the finest liner notes ever written. One, by Black Flag, is a 12" EP which should have been extended to the length of a double LP: The Process Of Weeding Out. The other is a double LP I have never listened to all the way through, and for all intents and purposes, could have been a flexi disc (given the number of times I've actually played it), but whose double-LP status only elevates it further into the pantheon of flip-the-bird greatness: Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music.

'Flag's EP from '85 features the trio of Ginn, Bill Stevenson and Kira. Purely instrumental, it's Ginn and co.'s stab at what I could only label as "free rock". It's about 20 minutes long and 60 minutes too short. It's a goddamn blissful sound, one which rock-crit-w/-a-brain Robert Palmer quite rightly noted as being like a post-HC take on Tony Williams' Lifetime, or Ornette's Prime Time ensemble from the late '70s. The playing is free and loose, and even skinsman tightwad Bill Stevenson - a great drummer, though a stylistically conservative rock player - gets a little crazy. Whilst I dig the Crimsonoid hysterics of 'Flag's tight-as-nails instrumental prowess as displayed on the B side of Family Man, for myself TPOWO really delivers the goods.

Dig the liner notes, too:

"The revolution will probably be televised. But I don't have a TV and I'm not gonna watch. With talk of rating records and increased censorship it may be getting dificult for some to speak their minds. Black Flag already has enough problems with censorship coming from the business sector. Some record stores have refused to stock and/or display certain Black Flag records because of objectionable cover art and/or lyrical content. Now, with additional government involvement, the "crunch" is on. Hope does lie in the fact that fortunately these straight pigs show little ability in decoding intuitive data. For example, even though this record may communicate certain feelings, emotions and ideas to some, I have faith that cop-types with thier strictly liner minds and stick-to-the-rules mentality don't have the ability to decipher the intuitive contents of this record. Of course, there may be a problem in that much of the public, most of whom comply with the whole idea of hiring the pigs in the first place, seem equally unable to intuitively feel and listen to music. Still, here it is, "The Process Of Weeding Out" - Greg Ginn

Lou Reed's MMM, as you know, was released in 1975 and can be interpreted three different ways: 1) As Lou trying to get dropped by his record label by releasing the most unsellable pile of noise imaginable; 2) As Lou attempting to record and release a "serious" piece of avant-garde music only understood and appreciated by the few; or 3) As Lou having a laugh and simply being Lou (ie. an A-grade asshole). I love what it is - 60 minutes of screech from a major recording artist - though I rarely listen to it. It does however, have some awesomely incoherent, rambling and frequently grammatically-incorrect liner notes. I'm not going to quote them all; I shall simply leave you with the very last line, one that is so obnoxious I have been known to throw it around myself if such an occasion begs for a suitable insult: "My week beats your year". Can that be beat?


MRow said...

There is most certainly a direct connection at work between these two records (consciously or otherwise). Lou Reed/Greg Ginn were saying fuck you to label execs/uptight fans everywhere. And I've heard Rollins quote that "week/year" line more than once.

In the mid 80's, BF Instrumental used to play around alot in LA on bills with SWA and so forth - some of your readers'll no doubt have been at a few of those gigs. But it's those gigs I wished I'd have seen, more than any other BF period. I felt Weeding Out caught BF poised for a serious LIFT-OFF of intergalactic proportions . . . only, the band imploded before the landing gear was reigned in.

BRAVO for your honesty about never actually listening to MMM all the way through! I could never muster the energy to crawl back to the turntable 4 times during an evening just to hear YET ANOTHER 20 min. of electronic whine/screech.

Dave said...

Well, you're certainly right about the similarities between the two discs: both huge fuck-you statements from artists asking their fans how far they can take their fandom. I love those early GONE discs, though it's a pity Ginn hasn't really taken that free approach in his subsequent recordings. Still, we'll see what the new Ten East platter sounds like soon-ish...

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine ran across this entry on your blog from 2004:

In this entry, you review The Oxymorons tape. You were wondering what the band is up to now.

My friend is Grog, Oxymorons' bass player. I was Oxymorons' guitar player. Here's the short answer to what we're up to now:

Oxymorons broke up around 1993.

Ben (singer/guitar player) died in 1997.

We did put a proper album (CD) out in 1993 (also another tape and a 7" record--the CD has a studio version of "Walking Backwards" on it, by the way).

For the long answer, you could try my blog at...

If you want, you can download that tape there (it's just a couple entries down from the top). I've also posted some stuff by other Dayton bands of that era on the blog. In the future, I'll be posting tons more (including all the Oxymorons stuff). Feel free to drop by and download anything you'd like.

Thanks very much for the kind words about the tape. They mean a lot, even fourteen years later. Just as you were wondering what happened to us, I've often wondered if anyone ever still listened to any of those tapes, records, or CDs we sold or gave away over the years.

take care


jones said...

A friend of mine found this entry on your blog:

In the entry, you review The Oxymorons (from Ohio) cassette. You were wondering whatever happened to the band. My friend who found the entry was Oxymorons' bass player. I was Oxymorons' guitar player. The short answer to what we're up to now is...

We broke up in 1993 or thereabouts.

Ben (singer/guitar player) died in 1997.

We did, in fact, put out a proper album in 1993 (it even had a studio version of "Walking Backwards" on it). We also put out another cassette (in 1991) and a 7" record (in 1992).

If you want, you can download the tape you reviewed at my blog:

Just scroll down a couple of entries. I've also got stuff by other Dayton bands of that era for download there, and I'll be posting a bunch more in the future (including all the Oxymorons stuff eventually).

Thanks for your kind words about the tape. I've often wondered if anyone still listened to any of those tapes, records, or CDs we sold or gave away over the years.

take care


Anonymous said...

that EP is awesome! at least that's how I remember it - it's been a5 years since I last heard it. still have the t-shirt.

btw, my band Bamodi is coming to Melbourne 18, 19 and 20 october. it would be good to catch up.