Monthly Archives: May 2016

Paul McCartney & Wings Vs. Timo Maas & James Teej • 1985 (Single)

1985-480x480There are so many Paul McCartney fans who’ll buy whatever the man puts out – and then bitch about what a ripoff it is, or how he could’ve been more generous with the bonus tracks or yadda yadda yadda! Truth is, I’m pretty glad he bothers to put out anything at all. I haven’t bought everything that’s come out (news to my wife!), and I’m a bit behind on getting the releases I do want, but his new releases are still something I look forward to. Some are hits, some are misses…

1985 is a new single that is based on the 1973 song, “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five,” which was the final track on the legendary Band on the Run album. Remixed by Timo Maas & James Teej, 1985 is a 12″ single or download (which I’m basing my review on; the physical release isn’t available until 5/27) that was first released a couple months ago as a white label promo (limited to 300 copies, see image below). They were real sly about the artist credit but these days trying to keep something a secret is a losing battle; the word was out that it was a Macca-sanctioned release within moments. Super Deluxe Edition reported, “They [Maas & Teej] clearly utilise stems from the original multi-track, meaning that this can only have been created with McCartney’s cooperation,” (SDE’s original post here) and that must be the case because there’s no way someone could have remixed the track to this degree without having the original multitrack files to work from.

R-8321072-1459302729-5449.jpegI think 1985 is pretty cool. The Radio Edit version is concise, taking most of the strengths of the McCartney & Wings track and creating an imaginative remix. The piano track is practically a no-show, though, so the tune is carried more by Macca’s bass line. The Club Mix and Remix versions are longer, naturally, than the “edit” and approach the subject from different directions; I prefer the Remix for listening though both versions are fairly similar.

McCartney’s been a fan of the electronica for a long time – he quietly released his first stab at it, credited as The Fireman, in 1991 – so it’s not a case of “Hey, that old guy’s trying to be hip by proving he’s into the latest thing. Isn’t he adorable?!” Since then he’s done two more Fireman releases (all of which were created with his buddy, Youth) and a 2LP remix item titled Twin Freaks in collaboration with Freelance Hellraiser in 2005. If you’re not a fan of the remix, or of the way they mashed up The Beatles on the Love project for Cirque de Soleil, you may not like 1985. But since the download is only three bucks, you could easily get a preview of the tracks before plunking down the money for the 12″. I’m grateful that my favorite musician of all time is still with us, treating us to sometimes old, sometimes new, sometimes borrowed or blue versions of the music I grew up with. I can’t imagine a world without Paul.

Though I bet my wife can…

3/5 (Virgin/EMI)

Here’s a clip of Wings in 1974 doing “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five” from the longform film One Hand Clapping, which wasn’t released until the super deluxe Band On The Run reissue in 2010.

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The Damned • Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead (Documentary)

damned_dontyouwish-DVDWes Orshoski‘s latest documentary, The Damned: Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead, has just come out on DVD/Blu-ray – finally allowing über fans like me to get a look at it beyond the compelling trailer that’s been out for over a year. (You can view that below.) First seen at various film festivals and even in some theaters in the larger bergs, the documentary details the rise, fall, rise and plateau that The Damned has been through since they first formed in the mid 1970s. Unlike other bands in UK punk’s first graduating class, these guys weren’t fronted by a headline-grabbing, snot-nosed git, didn’t blow up in the press, weren’t managed by an egotistical svengali, and somehow missed the boats promising stardom, money, infamy or anything like it. What The Damned did do is legendary: they were the first punk band to put out a record, the first to tour the USA, and one of only a few that are still playing today. They were also one of the very few bands that actually looked like they were having fun playing their music, playing the press, or just generally sticking it to whoever needed sticking to.

Orshoski filmed the band for three years, with apparent carte blanche to document anything going on. Along with current interviews of the original band members (Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible, Brian James and Rat Scabies), there are appearances by most of the rest of The Damned’s roster (though for some reason Patricia Morrison is missing), as well as colleagues from the UK scene like Mick Jones (The Clash), Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols), Chrissie Hynde, Steve Diggle (Buzzcocks), Lemmy (subject of Orshoski’s other great documentary) and Don Letts (DJ, filmmaker), and modern scenesters and US punkers like Dexter Holland (The Offspring), Jack Grisham (TSOL), Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys), Jesse Hughes (Eagles of Death Metal) and more. The band didn’t always get along (really?) and to this day there are rifts in their friendships. Saddening, but not unexpected. Combining his own enlightening interview footage with archival footage from around the world, Orshoski has put together a highly watchable documentary.

damned-clowning-duoThe characters that make up The Damned, both past and present, are to the fore in Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead. You get a great sense of the enigma that is Vanian, the cutup clown that is Sensible, the real live punk that is Scabies, et al. You also see and hear for yourself that the reason The Damned never “made it” is because they steadfastly held to their belief that punk was about doing things your own way, regardless of what the press, the record label, or even Malcolm effing McLaren wanted them to do. So The Damned are rarely mentioned in the corporate/network/big business “celebrations” of punk… so what?! They did what they wanted to do, didn’t suck up to the press or major record labels or do anything just to get publicity, just to get a big paycheck, or just to impress whoever it was that needed impressing. And that is what impresses me. Sticking to your guns sometimes means that you don’t get to partake in the bounty of riches that others do, and that, unfortunately for The Damned, is the breaks. All of this makes for a story that is compelling even if you don’t give a, errrr, damn about them.

The film, which premiered at SXSW in 2015, is now available (at least in the US) as a combo Blu-ray/DVD pack that gives you the movie and a handful of extras that didn’t make the final cut. I’ve read interviews with Orshoski where he indicated there were tons of extra footage, so I’m surprised that there really isn’t that much included here. (I’m saying this without having access to playing the Blu-ray in the pack, so there may be more on that disc than on the DVD.) Yet, considering the film showed only once where I was living when it did play my town and likely only once (if at all) in your area, you can now see it for yourself. I’m frankly glad they aren’t dead, and you may end up feeling the same way.

4/5 (Cleopatra/MVD Visual)

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