And I brought some old Buzzcocks with me. So old that Howard Devoto was still in the band and Pete Shelley was just the guitarist. This is “Breakdown,” off their DIY EP Spiral Scratch. W. says …
Buzzcocks recorded the tracks on 28 December 1976 at Dave Kent-Watson’s Indigo Sound Studios in Manchester on 16-track Ampex tape. According to Devoto, “It took three hours [to record the tracks], with another two for mixing.” Produced by Martin Hannett (credited as “Martin Zero”), the music was roughly recorded, insistently repetitive and energetic.
The band, having no record label support, had to borrow £500 from their friends and families to pay for the record’s production and manufacture. The EP was released on 29 January 1977 on the band’s own New Hormones label, making Buzzcocks the first English punk group to establish an independent record label. Despite this, the disc quickly sold out its initial run of 1,000 copies, and went on to sell 16,000 copies, initially by mail order, but also with the help of the Manchester branch of the music chain store Virgin, whose manager took some copies and persuaded other regional branch managers to follow suit.
Do proto-punks like the Stranglers think they could possibly be as hip as “the world’s coolest insurance salesmen”? Don’t they know it’s all mistakes? Who wins a fight between 5/4 and 6/8 time signatures?
This stupid, irresistibly catchy song by a band with a very uncatchy name is a perfect example of the kind of vacuous, boneheaded bubblegum pop that dominated AM radio in the late 60’s/early 70’s. It’s a song I never would have admitted liking back then. The band looks about as interesting as their name, so the video required plenty of gyrating dancing girls to maintain any visual interest. At first I thought that explained the singer’s goofy grin. Clearly he was expecting a cut from casting couch proceeds. But closer inspection reveals that the dancing girls were spliced in from elsewhere. Oh well, I guess one-hit wonders only cash in so far.
… why a band from Portland writes great songs that feel Texan. I didn’t know there were vids for either of these – which are two of my DW faves. I can’t stop watching Outlaw Truckers. Careful if you have a seizure disorder.
This will be the first of several Dandy Jonestown posts related to the Dig mockumentary that Makerbot made us all watch. Sent me spiraling off onto several tangents.