TheThe Naked Self (Polydor)
When Matt Johnson wrote Love Is Stronger Than Death for his 1993 Dusk album, it was meant as a paean to a lost brother. An unutterably moving song which reinvented the concept of a shiver down the spine, the last thing Johnson would have dreamed is that record execs would be throwing it back in his face six years on.
Having received the rejection slips for Gun Sluts - his first collection of songs since his Hank Williams tribute album, Hanky Panky — Johnson returned to his guitar and started again. Back he went to the decision-makers with Naked Self.
‘They had been so aggressive about Gun Sluts; they just hated it,’ recalls the East Ender now based in New York. ‘I handed in Naked Self and it was about three months before anyone picked up a phone to call me. Then it was: ‘we need hits‘. Well, I haven’t really had any so I asked them what hits they were referring to. ‘You know, like Love Is Stronger Than Death'. Well, that happens to be my favourite song of mine, but it was about the least successful single I've ever released.’
To The The fans, Matt Johnson's currency has never been measured in record sales. Things started off calmly enough with 1981's Burning Blue Soul, a sparse slab of electronic sub-pop which caused few ripples in sales departments but increasing interest among music hacks looking for a Iistenable alternative to New Romance. Two years on and he was working with Jools Holland for Soul Mining.
Three years after that, Channel 4 were finding a late slot for the controversial videos from Infected, which included an erect-nippled and writhing Neneh Cherry strapped to railtracks and songs about Britain‘s status as
Nude intentions: Matt Johnson
US lackeys and the bombing of Libya. By now, Johnson was being viewed as one of the most radical and revolutionary voices in British music since punk died in a pool of its own phlegm.
With 1988's Mind Bomb, it appeared he had gone too far. His tackling of religious fundamentalism — spookily coinciding with the Rushdie fatwa furore - grabbed the headlines, but there were tender love songs in there too — Beyond Love and an angry/sad duet with Sinead O’Connor.
‘A mix of the personal and the political has gone through all my albums; they’re equally made up of the same constituents,’ Johnson insists. On Naked Self he tackles market forces (’Global Eyes’) and advertising ('Swine Fever’), proving that he may not be quite so young. Anger, however, remains one of Matt Johnson's energies. (Brian Donaldson)
Naked Self is released on Mon 28 Feb. The The play Glasgow Garage on Fri 37 Mar.
Men in the iron masks: Slipknot
The boys are happy puppies. ’lt’s pretty cool,’ declares Chris Fehn, percussionist and softly spoken gentleman about town. ’We have been all over the world, pretty much.’
The band are noted for their most peculiar attributes: their masks. Nine straight-out-of-a-bad-dream faces that you wouldn't like to meet up a dark alley. The surreal experience of Slipknot live sees Jason from Friday The 73th stand shoulder to shoulder with Leatherface, a sinister clown and an oversized pig. ’lt’s just something we like,’ explains Fehn aka evrl Pinocchio. ’It helps us get more into the whole live performance thing. Someone started wearing it for a joke and it just kind of spiralled from there.’ These, combined with their barcoded boilersuits, add some obscene
Glasgow: Barrowland, Mon 28 Feb.
They were NME cover stars earlier this year, but are unlikely to be mistaken for Oasis. They are nine guys from Iowa who have produced a nihilistic piece of genius for a debut album,
38 THE LIST l7 Feb—2 Mar 2000
which has sold not unlike proverbial hot cakes both here and abroad. Slipknot create a beautiful noise that while distinctly ’metal' has more than enough going on in it to distract the most discerning of listeners. They are ruled, not by churning guitar riffs, but a rhythmic pulse generated by the sampler, two drummers and two
pantomime theatrics into the mix. Just don’t think Kiss.
On the cusp of their first European tour, the future, in keen contrast to their bleak lyrics, looks bright for Slipknot. ’For the moment we're just happy doing what we do.’ From the mouths of satanic Pinocchios come the
sweetest words. (Mark Robertson)
All the pouting, shouting and grouting from the music world. STUART DAVID HAS announced he will be leaving Belle & Sebastian after the band record a John Peel session in March. The ‘entirely amicable split’ is said to be so David can spend more time on his own band Looper. No replacement has been announced as yet.
FIVE NIGHT STAND is a battle of the bands contest held during March at Edinburgh's The Liquid Room. Sixteen local groups will compete for prizes including studio time, trips to New York and places on the T in the Park T- Break Competition. Heats run every Monday from 6 March with the final on 3 April. See Rock listings next issue for details.
AMERCIAN SCHLOCK METALLERS Slipknot have an in-store signing event at Glasgow's Virgin Megastore, in Buchanan Street, at noon on Monday 28 February before their show at the Barrowland later that evening.
FOR ALL WITH a penchant for music on the internet, classical music record label Timbre Records have launched a new site on www.timbre.co.uk If this wasn‘t enough, Edinburgh’s The Venue have also launched a site where all the latest information on clubs and gigs at The Venue will be posted. See www.edinburghvenue.com for details.
THE LIVE UNE-UP for the Scottish Homelands festival on 3 June is shaping up nicely with hip hop legends Public Enemy, Roni Size's Reprazent, and The Jengaheads being added to a list which already includes Ian Brown and headliners Leftfield.
' JUST ANNOUNCED
GENEVA HAVE ANNOUNCED live dates to coincide with the release of their new album Weather Underground out on 6 March. They play Glasgow, King Tut’s on Friday 4 March and Edinburgh, The Venue the night after.
ALSO ANNOUNCED ARE Kid Koala, DJ Food and Amon Tobin, Glasgow, The Arches, 23 March; The Arsonists, Glasgow, The Arches, 26 March; The Delgados, Edinburgh, Liquid Room, 9 May; Primal Scream, Glasgow, Barrowland, 13/14 April; Howard Marks, Edinburgh, Liquid Room, 18 March; Andreas Johnson, Edinburgh, Liquid Room, 3 March; Ian Hunter, Edinburgh, Liquid Room, 16 May.
a See Book Now on page 48 for details of ticket outlets.
Ayrshire hot potatoes: Leftfield