"A Very Rare Thing!"
Yep, things are going crazy. the snowball is starting to roll, if anyone is wondering.
Did you get a chance to look at Bill Rivers myspace page last week?
Well I think Bill likes the England's Dreaming Spires album, judging by what he told me:-
"Yes, your record is simply brilliant! As well as just being a joy to listen to (which, when it comes down to it, is the main thing) it is really smart! It's probably instinctive on your part, but there is that kind of fusion (horrible word I know!) of early 60's surf with the later 60's sound and then the great bands of the 80's (yes, there were some!), my eccentric cousin is a great example, reminding me of dylan, the smiths, the kinks, pulp, byrds all in one and then that break...smile period beach boys!!!...just awesome! Your vocal reminds me of a mix between syd and morrisey, warm, charming, heartfelt! Infectious, clever pop, fresh and an extremely well thought out album. Seriously, there's not a duffer! It is an album 'proper.' And that is a very rare thing nowadays!
You talented bugger!!"
Thank you Bill
On with Village Green Machine,
The new song I'm recording, 'Dog' has wah wah to go with the Farfisa, it sounds like Joan Jett and the Blackhearts singing I Love Rock & Roll done by The Archies with Syd Barrett singing. Of course, it sounds like nothing on earth. But it is adding up, the thing is, its all experimental all this music, but I only use 60s sounds and instruments. And so, this new pop is happening. I like the heavy reverb pop Andy Warhol liked, My boyfriend's Back, The 4 Seasons, Shangri- Las, things like this. And I do not filter these influences into an 'Indie' guitar sound, ie distorted guitars.
An image from Warhol's show
I just do this 60s sounding pop, but it is pop with a capital 'P'. Its just that the experimentation and lyrics mean it moves into a new area. 'New area' sounds like something you'd find in a shopping centre, I know. All you may have heard is England's Dreaming Spires, but we have recorded a lot more since. If I were to be specific I would say, I am bringing the 60s sounds through, note sounds. But, creating new music. So the new, consists (again a rubbish word) of the old, only rearranged, with fresh creative input. I mean, look. You've got to be able to write to do this thing. I mean, write melodies and good words. You've got to be able to know when to stop when you write a song, one has to understand economy. Melody writing is about hooks, this isn't so much a commercial proposition, as the basis of all good music. Human beings need, I think, an attractive sequence of notes in order to connect with music. There may be music which requires a broader attention span, Mahler is it? But, I prefer Moonlight Sonata. The melody is there immediately, it is beautiful, it is transporting. And isn't this the secret of good pop- it has this kind of uplifting melody, which hits straight away. That's joy. Underpinning this is 'the groove', which should be in my view, the percussive equivalent of a really filthy, dirty shag. I know you don't all smoke tobacco, but I'm sure you can understand what I mean. The groove needs to ride like a filthy shag (ok i've got a full sack) where were we, oh yes, the groove, seriously, is like that and, then you get something much more fine over the top of this, ie the melody.
A Warhol event flyer, 1966
Now this is where a group like the Stone Roses come in, because you had Rennie giving the sex rhythm, and John Squire providing the high art melody on guitar and vocal melodies, and IB too of course. Put some good words with this, and you're in business. There's more to making a good pop record, but it seems to me the basis is something like this, it is fascinating. As Keith Richards said, many bands know how to rock, but its the roll that's missing. It wasn't missing on Brown Sugar and Start Me Up. But, it seems to me very few bands now have that swing/groove. All these 'Indie' guitar groups, they bluster. I mean to be honest, there really isn't much out there at the moment, yet again. Its an overcrowded marketplace, with too much dodgy goods on sale. Village Green Machine have the melody, the groove, the song structure, the lyrics and the experimental instincts. The passion and the soul - I feel this too is coming through. There may be an 'X' factor in great pop, I don't know, but it is tantalising to think there may be an aspect which one cannot account for. This would mean, it could not be consciously included by even the most devoted pop musician, like myself. I'm not sure I like this idea but, it remains fascinating. I mean, what is music, where does it come from? Good music seems to be an expression of the human spirit connected to creative talent. But, what exactly is talent? I don't know, but I'm off to bed. Passion in the arts, there's a subject to contemplate. The Village Green Machine album England's Dreaming Spires is released on Oct 5, along with the single Psychodrama which has 2 new tracks not on the album. I'm hanging onto the rocket, hang on yourself and, see you soon,