Steve Earle: surviving the storm

For a long time there. it looked as it the next piece any of us would be likely to write on Steve liarle was an obituary. Holed up in South Nashville's black community. divorced from music and hooked on crack t‘heroin had lost its ability to get rue high‘ i. then sentenced to a year in Nashville prison. it seemed that liarle was a runaway train headed for the end of the line

‘There wasn‘t anything I can talk about that made me get clean - if’l thought I could .say anything useful to anybody else, I'd talk my head tilt. I'd been ajunkie since l was thirteen. and i looked up one day and I vs asn‘t dead yet. and for some reason l decided that I didn‘t want to be dead. so something had to change..

Something did change. and Earle is very definitely back in harness, He walks a daily tight- rope novy, but hasn't slipped yet. while his two comeback albums. last year‘s acoustic Tram xl (‘amin' and the recent 1 Feel Alright. are not only as good as anything he did in the 80s. they are as good as anything coming out of the American music scene right litiys.

‘l‘rn writing more than I‘ve ever written before. and I'm recording all the time. Everything is revolving around making music now. and that feels real good. It's important for rue that a song says something —— there has to be blood on the tracks. there has to be something that you really care about in there somewhere. I‘m not about to make a record just because I have a pretty voice. ‘cause 1 don‘t, so I‘ve got to try that bit harder.‘ (Kenny

' Mathieson)

Steve [Earle and The Dukes play at Barrowlaml. Glasgow, on Wed 8.


(unai- éBenin beat

; It took Angelique Kidio a decade to j become an overnight sensation with t the success of her single ‘Agolo’ in l 1993. Its infectious blend of African i roots with contemporary dance-floor i funk established her already growing international reputation, but that i breakthrough represented a culmination of years of hard work. Kidio performed as a child in her ; mother’s theatre troupe in her native t Benin, a legacy still evident in her highly physical stage show. She moved . on to singing, brrt women are not ' supposed to be quite so upfront in Africa, and she had to struggle very j hard to be accepted. She moved to i Paris in 1983, where she slotted into the burgeoning world-beat scene in 1 the city, and met her husband and t collaborator, Jean Hebrail. 9 She studied jazz for a time, which she j says ‘improved my pitch and taught ? me to be more flexible with my voice’, I but her own music developed along 1 eclectic lines which she is reluctant 7 to categorise. For her new album, Fija, ! the singer made something of a i pilgrimage back to her physical and i cultural roots in Benin. ‘Jean and I travelled through Benin for a month, recording music in little

like to mix it all rrp.’

contributions from musicians in Paris.

3 Africa, people proiect its negative

i equality.’ (Kenny Mathieson)

villages, using a car battery to run our 3 Edinburgh, on Fri 10.

i l

Angelique Kidlo: Afro-funkstress tape. I’d wanted to go back for a long time, so instead of composing the songs first, I waited for the drums to inspire the melodies. Even when I use my own traditional music, though. i

She and llebrail then added

London and Los Angeles (where Carlos i Santana, one of her early heroes, i played a solo on the lovely ballad i ‘llaima’). The result is an album which i maintains her trademark Afro-funk groove, but with a spiritual feel ! reflected in the vibrant gospel . choruses of ‘Wombo Lombo’ and j ‘Welcome’, and in three songs devoted to the beliefs of the much-maligned Vodun (or Voodoo) religion.

‘Vodun is my first religion. Outside of

side, but really its message is love and

Angelique Kid/'0 plays The Queen ’5 Hall,

; ammun- ' Man or astro- myth?


l ' “5‘. r ‘* at”

-.'.~ h I- ' " ‘2‘

; Captain’s log, stardate May 1996: With their potential touring circuit covering ; the entire known universe, it was

never going to be simple tracking

down the elusive space cadets known here on Earth as Man 0r Astroman? ln ; fact, it proved to be impossible.

' The fruitless odyssey began when

I The Lisfreceived an intergalactic bulletin confirming reports that Man

0r Astroman? were to visit the Earth

i sector known as Britain in early May. The purpose of the visit, as is usual

further their work in preparing human beings for the sonic onslaught of the 21st century so-called ‘llext Phase’. To this end, they have set up base camp on Planet X, believed to be situated in a parallel dimension somewhere in the US state of Alabama, although ordinarily Man 0r Astroman? are of no fixed galactic abode, preferring to journey through space and time, much like that nice man Paul McGann, aka The Doctor. Although none of the individual members of Man 0r Astroman?--

for their terrestrial expeditions, was to

Man or A

roman? Not very

sensible, really

Starcrunch, Birdstuff, Coco The Electronic Monkey Wizard and Dexter f X (they have assumed Earth names such as Brian and Bob in order to blend in with their terrestrial environment) have been traced for comment, they have built up a body of musical material for us Earthllngs to better understand their mission.

These recordings have taken an instrumental form (naturally there would be translation difficulties if verbal communications became a priority) and are similar, nay identical in nature to our surf guitar style of music. In terms of the visual sphere, think The Tornadoes for a reference point. Their current sonic emission goes under the title Experiment Zero.

This much we have gathered from our investigation. There is much more still to be ascertained but we are confident, as ever, that the truth is out there . . . (Agent ‘Spooky’ Shepherd)

Man 0r Asframan? land at The Bafhause, Glasgow on Fri 10 (Earth time).

l BEE!- l

Waves to

, passion

- ' Puressence go with the flow their own way

Jrrst what is it with Manchester and oases“? .»\t the turn ot~ the decade there was a flow cred-up storm with the likes oli'l‘he Happy Mondays and Stone Roses. :\.s that energy cbbcd. in a Manchester pub. a group of tour drinking churns decided to pick tip some instruments. Just as they were getting to grips yyrth the music business. a couple ot‘ Mancunian brothers called the (iallagher's were beginning to inflict a rather large tsunami on the British ps‘y chc Their example has not been lost on l’urcsscncc who have taken onboar‘d ; rather large swell oi t )asrs—typc

arrogancc. lt \y ill be one ol the band's main weapons as they attempt to crash onto pop‘s llitilliltliitl.

l‘or the last year or so. l’urcsscncc have been gig era/y. appearing with the Lightning Seeds. liul‘l‘alo Tom and at 'l' in the Park. ’l‘hcir line cponymously titled album is at long last available for purchase. btrt it might hay e to be given a rather large berth by manic depr'cssiycs because. like their stage shoyv. l’urcsscncc are not the chipperest band in the world In fact. it the truth be told they appear dovy nright bloody miserable. l’urcss‘ence's drummer Tony Szuminski doesn't believe they are and. even it they were. it shouldn‘t preclude them from their rrrission.

‘Wc‘rc not like a good tirrre pop band.‘ laments the Failsyvorth homeboy. ‘Wc are serious about our music and we value it a lot. I'd like to say there's a lot of depth to what \\ e do. but there‘s also a lot of optirrrism. It‘s all very passionate our rrrtrsic. and with Jimmy's (\iudric/kii voice being so different. that sets us apart from other bands.

‘ll‘ you hear things a lot you get used to them; I think that's u hat‘s going to happen with this band. A lot of' people won't understand us at first. but u hen they do We‘ll be massive. We‘re a new type of' band, and when different bands make it they go through the root and .slzlt‘l ot‘t‘other‘ bands. I think that \\ ill happen with us because we want to be pioneers. However. we don‘t \\ ant to go up our ovvn arses trying to be different.

’e've just got to be natural and let it lloyv.' (Philip Dorvvard) l’uresserrr‘e' .r debut album is all! hair; They appear (in the Shaker Maker 'liiar with The (iv/er. (has! and Hall a/ The Cal/muse. (i/(ts‘gmt' ()Il lire“ l4.

44 The List 3-16 May i996