READING WITH POP SONGS Ray Davies
Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Tue 27 Feb.
There were The Beatles and The Stones, but my vinyl was The Kinks, all day and all of the night. The proto-punk thrash of their first hit ’You Really Got Me'. The wistful nostalgia of ’Days’. The comic eccentricity of ’Dedicated Follower Of Fashion’. And — ah — the dreamy haze of ‘Waterloo Sunset’. These Muswell hillbillies are the true godfathers of Britpop.
’You Really Got Me’ is Kinks frontman Ray Davies’ most fondly remembered song, and it’ll be pivotal in his solo gig in Glasgow. I know this ’cause I’m chatting with him on the blower. With Ray Davies. Of The Kinks. That’s better than talking to Paul McCartney or Mick Jagger (unlike Davies, they’ve long since lost their cred). Davies’ on the road somewhere in the south of England getting his guitars out of storage for the Scottish date, and a i solo album he’s about to begin recording. ’I started writing "You Really Got Me" at school when l was fifteen,’ he says, ’and two years later the band needed a single after the first flopped. [A cover of Little Richard’s ’Long Tall Sally'.] I can do better than that,’ he thought. And he did.
The show's called The Storyteller. Its origins lie in the autobiography, X-Ray. Davies tried a private reading with songs at Ronnie Scots jazz club in London in 1995 and got a good reaction. A full run followed at the Edinburgh Festival, after which Storyteller went to New York (where VH-1 bought the format for TV), Chicago and all over. Americans lapped up Davies’ tales and songs, but . . .
’Those tours in the States got a bit tarted up,’ he says. 'The Assembly Rooms was great because it was very limited production: me, my book and a guitar. The magic of Edinburgh was: a man comes on stage, starts reading from his book, tells you about his life and sings some songs. For this tour I want to recreate that spirit.’
Pushing all the right buttons
The real Godfather makes an offer you can't refuse
Davies' been busy. He test-run material for the new album in a New York club, which spun the New York Times into a muso frenzy. Back in London, he's been rescuing some older material: The Songs We Sang For Auntie: The BBC Sessions 1964-1994. ’It’ll be a good representation of the band at that time, going into the studio with very limited conditions and time, banging out the track in half an hour, then going home,’ he says nonchalantly. ‘lt’s quite revealing.’
There’s more: Come Dancing, a compilation of mid- period Kinks, out in May. He’s 'really thrilled about that’. Blimey. If you think he sounds busy now consider Davies’ career has also included opera composition, playwrighting, film directing and acting. Is there anything left for him to tackle? ’Yeah, this thing called a life.’ He really got me, there. (Miles Fielder)
The Songs We Sang For Auntie; The BBC Sessions 7 964— 7994 is released 72 Mar on Sanctuary
Oddly enough, the roots of the Sad Rockets’ s0und lie in heavy metal. ’I was a big heavy metal fan, because that was what made sense to me in my early teens,’ Peckler says. 'Slowly out of that I looked into heavy metal’s past through hard rock and old 605 blues— rock, which led to 603 pop and soul and eventually I discovered Jazz, and from that pomt on as a listener everything was fair game. In the past few years Jazz has become more and more important, not that I’m a Jazz musiCian, and people who say, "Oh, I’m Influenced by Jazz musrc" Just sound so horrible. What I like and what I try to transport into my own music is that particular loose-limbed
Sad Rockets Optimo, Planet Peach, Sun 25 Feb.
There must be something in the water in Berlin these days. Not a day goes by without some record hitting the racks that makes you sit up and take notice, be rt Peaches’ sex-drenched electro- rock or Jeans Team inventing
fairground-stadium boozecore. From the midst of this fertile scene comes one-man supergroup Sad Rockets, aka Andrew Pekler.
50 THE “ST l5 Feb—l Mar 2001
'There’s lots of things brewrng here,’ Peckler confirms, ’whether it’s the electronic music scene, or this lively grey-area scene where art gallery cliQues crossover wrth people involved in music. Berlin is Just a constant mUSICal inspiration’
On the Transition LP and follow-up ’Recreation’ 12in, Peckler's take on the inspiration he finds ar0und him ranges from slo-mo dancefloor burners dripping wrth fuzzed-up gurtar hooks to low-rent Jazz-funk workouts all imbued With a 6Ts garage sensibility.
intensny that the best Jazz mUSIC has.’ Live, Sad Rockets look set to beef up and expand upon the stripped-down grooves that underpin Peckler's recorded output. ’For live gigs, Sad Rockets is a trio,’ he explains, ’and there's a very live feel even th0ugh it’s three guys pushing buttons. It’s a bit more playful and full than on the album. We throw in more and more elements each time: there’s nothing worse than gomg to see a band that play their songs exactly the same as they are on record.’ (Jack Mottram)
ROCK Gary Numan Garage, Glasgow, Mon 19 Feb.
Ah, the elusne Mr Numan Hes the One that talks like a robot, right“ Sadly, I won't get to hear his dulcet monotones as e-mail him some guestroiis instead As I commit my queries to the cyber-ether I attempt to predict his answers, but find the process impossible Just how do you get into the infinite mind of the legendary, nay godlike, creator of such prophetic electronica as “Are "Friends" Electric7', 'lvle, l Disconnect From You' and, er, ’lo The Waiter"?
Considering the timelessness of all things Numan, I feel pangs of embarrassment over the questions I’ve sent He must have better things to do than name the engine lubricant/ shoecare product he used to slick back his hair in those halcyonic late 70s days of his magical LP The P/easure Pr/nC/p/e. And talk about his acclaimed 1999 pop-metal album Pure and his passion for piloting old biplanes And if he ever found out whether ’friends' were electric or not
Suddenly I remember that I mentioned the ’C' word Fear of Numan retribution overwhelms me, soon tempered by sympathy for him, this four-letter ’C’ word is so popular that he probably can’t leave his cyber~ home wrthout hearing it Yet the mere mention of the word by VH-l executives recently forced Mr Numan to cancel his forthcoming programme wrth them. Still, I only wanted to know his feelings on the reworking of the ’C’ word by none other than William Shatner
Pondering his devotion to his fans — he built, wrote and updates his own webSite, wwwnumancouk - the mass proliferation of fan—sites on the web gets me thinking deeper. What if Numan has evolved into some kind of web entity? What if he prowls the very cucurts of the information superhighway, sneaking into hard drives, finding inspiration for his next Visionary opus?
Unfortunately, my inbox remains empty. I receive word that the elusive Mr Numan hasn’t time to answer my questions. He was probably too oﬂended.
The forthcoming tour is now shrouded in a darker veil of mystery What form Will he take? ClasSic Kraftwerk mannequrn? Liquid-metal T- 1000 type andrOid? A swuling cloud of metallic dust? In Numan's world, anything is possible. He might even play ’Cars’. Sorry, didn't mean to swear. (Jan F Zeschy)