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(Last updated
Tue, Oct 22, 2002 12:42 am)

NEW! From the Jamming! Archives: The Jam
Interviewed in 1979
NEW: The iJamming! Interview: UNDERWORLD
"I got it in my head that I was going to die in a cheesy hotel room covered in cat's piss." NOW WITH LIVE PHOTOS
New! Coming and Going
Chapter 3: The Palace
NEW: The iJamming! Interview
NEW! From the Jamming! Archives: Adam Ant
Interviewed in 1978

Available Now!
The introduction to the new edition of my R.E.M. biography is here.

Ridge Coast Range 2000
A Decade In Dance
10 Years (Apiece)
The October Hitlist
30 Albums 10 Songs
The whole Bloody 1990s cataloge
The Last Great Mix CD?
2 Many DJ's As Heard On Radio Soulwax Pt. 2.
Last of The Summer Rosês:
Goats Do Roam, Vin Gris de Cigare and Rose of Virginia.
10 Reasons To Fear The Worst
From the Jamming! Archives:
interviewed in 1978
"A number one single would be a bit scary."
New York's rock'n'roll rescuers play Lowlife - loudly
Local legends and international influence come home to party
28 Albums Rocking Our World
The Who at Madison Square Garden
A wash-out
The Movie
The Party
Cedell Davis, Tuatara, and The Minus 5 atthe Knitting Factory
Still 'A Man And A Half'
30 Albums, 5 Songs, 5 books and a handful of movies
An obituary by Chris Charlesworth
Back On The (Flying Saucer) Attack
30 Albums, 10 Songs, 5 books and a handful of movies.
Eight Days in A Week's Music:
Ed Harcourt, Vines, Candy Butchers, Timo Maas, Ashley Casselle & Adam Freeland, Aerial Love Feed, and enough little club nights to shake several sticks at.
Tony's (lengthy) trip down nostalgia lane from his visit home at the end of April. Stop-offs include Death Disco, old Jamming! Magazines, life-long friendships, road trips to Brighton, Damilola Taylor and political frustration, Morrissey-Marr, Zeitgeist, Oasis, Dexys, Primal Scream, the current British music scene and more.
The iJamming! interview:
"'Acid Trax' by Phuture came out and I was just 'Okay, forget all hip hop and all old school rare groove right here, this is it.'"
hostess 'Lee Patrick' recalls her time as Keith Moon's amour
An intrigue of early 90s New York nightlife.
NEW CHAPTER now online
From the Jamming! Archives:
U2 interviewed in 1984.
"It's not U2 that's creating this great art. . .There's something that works through us to create in this way."
iJamming! Wino/Muso:
"New world wines are just too techno for me."
The iJAMMING! interview:
"I don't think people realize that life can become so exciting and interesting that it can draw you away for long periods of time from creating music - & why not?"
From the Keith Moon archives:
the JEFF BECK interview .
The iJAMMING! chat:

"If I was asked why Sniffin' Glue was so important, it was the way we conducted ourselves, the style of it, just the attitude. It had attitude in abundance didn't it?"
Forgotten Classics:
THE CHILLS: Brave Words
From the JAMMING! archives: PAUL WELLER ON POP
Featured wine region 2:
Fran Healy explains why "you cannot own a song." (And why Liam Gallagher "is going to turn into a really great songwriter.")
Featured Artist Web Site:
From the JAMMING! archives: The Story That Spawned Creation
The iJAMMING! interview:
"Once you've had your go, what-ever it may be, they want you to piss off, and they can't bear it if you come back, they can't bear it."
The full iJamming! Contents
What's new in iJAMMING!?

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. . .This Wednesday October 23, Tony Fletcher will be DJing the Boys and Girls night at Filter 14, (14th Street between 9th and 10th Avenue), along with Tim Burgess, Mint Royale, and many others. Featured band: Headquarters. Doors at 10pm: DJs at 11pm. $5 cover. (now that's cheap!). . .


… But if you wanted a true idea of my life on a day to day basis, you could certainly get it by going through my mail. Here's Monday's:

A letter addressed to 'Jamming!' from France. I remember how excited about foreign-stamped envelopes I was when I first did Jamming! as a print mag. I feel some of that old curiosity opening this one up; all contact these days usually comes across the modem or phone lines. Turns out it's from the Count d'Estutt d'Assay at Château de Tracy in Pouilly Fume. If you read my Wine Round Up, you'd know I made his acquaintance at the Winebow tasting last month. A true gentleman (he's a real Count), d'Assay (as I like to call him) has written to say, "it goes without saying that we will be very pleased to receive you in Tracy during your next trip to France." Well, now it does any way. James, book the flight would you? First class, naturally. There's a good butler. (Facetiousness aside, next time I'm the Loire – and I've been there before – I'm taking him at his word.)

. . .What else? A letter from American Express informing me that I've been 'Pre-Approved for American Express Card membership.' Followed immediately by the assurance that 'pre-approved status is not easily achieved.' Maybe not, but seeing as I've been a 'Cardholder Since 1994', I find 'that'll do nicely' as a piece of sales pitch bull shit. I can only assume Amex is so desperate that no one checks current card holders against possible future card holders. . .
. . .And look here. Another letter from American Express, this one informing me that I can get double miles on all purchases on my gold card starting November 1. They really are desperate. But at least this one will do nicely, sir. (As in, of course I've got a gold card; you don't think they don't give those away like heroin at the school gates also?)

. . .A letter from Verisign with the account number for my web domain. It assures me I'll get a password in a separate letter within two weeks. Actually I got the password in a separate letter last Friday and spent 30 minutes trying to find the other letter that that letter assured me I had received two weeks ago. If you follow. Which I certainly didn't at the time

.. . .The mortgage statement. I'm never sure if that's good news or bad news. . .

. . .And just one press release by snail mail. Time was when every day brought a dozen envelopes full of breaking news like 'Mariah Carey's new album ships double-platinum.' Now all that info comes by e-mail. Bless Dreamworks then, that 21st Century company founded by those forward thinkers Spielberg, Katzenberg and Geffen for still relying on the Post Office to inform me that… The 'La Boheme' Broadway Cast Recording is due December 10.' Well, hold the front page. That news was worth chopping trees down for, wasn't it?. . .

. . .And of course, music. Where would my day be without more new music? (Probably spent catching up on the old new music.) Today's pile is typically eclectic. There's what once would have been called a 'concept album' by Downpore, entitled Portrait of A Sideshow Freak (which was number one most requested on Staten Island College radio in the first week of August, they'll have you know.) There's a second copy of the Donnas' new album (plus Bonus DVD featuring 'Band Interview with Andy Dick') called Spend The Night. The cover is a brilliant 70s satire, all soft porn dorm room come-on. (The back cover shows a passed-out boy on the floor. Did he get laid? By all of them? Or are they just a bunch of teases?) There's a finished copy of Simiam's We Are Your Friends, part of Astralwerks' highly noticeable shift away from electronica into indie rock; it's a good album, even better for coming in a Buzzcocks circa 1978 shockingly bright yellow cover. There's the intriguing looking Vale Callampa by Café Tacuba, the extensive Spanish sleeve notes of which have me checking the press release for further info. I find I'm holding an EP by "the acclaimed Mexican foursome" – big fans of The Cure, it says here - which is actually all cover versions of songs by a recently disbanded Chilean trio called Los Tres. (At least I assume it was a trio. Wasn't there a Mexican band called El Tri? How about if they covered Los Tres?) My mind immediately gets to thinking 'recommended Chilean wine with a Tequila chaser.' (After the Marathon, though, not before.) Obligatory rap release: From Tha Rooter to That Tooter by Field Mob. Seems like they're from the South. One track is called 'It's H***'. I can't think of a four-letter unrepeatable word that begins with H? Can you?

The Donnas: tease Simiam: Buzzcocks 78 Sugarcult: A winner

. . .And finally, what's this? Another copy of Sugarcult's debut album Start Static. Didn't I write about this record over a year ago? Yes I did. And they've been through three publicists since then. Which might explain why I'm onto my fourth copy of the record. But if you've checked here enough, you'll know I love Sugarcult, so I'm thrilled to hear that the album has now "sold more than 200,000 copies" (and that's before counting the four copies every music journalist in America must be using as coasters). Even better, they've done it the old-fashioned way: 200 gigs a year, heavy rotation at MTV2 (which I don't have at home, so I have to take peoples word on that), pin up looks, excellent choice in cover versions ('No Action' by Elvis Costello), and changing the lyrics when they sound too anti-American. Don't worry boys, in your shoes, in that particular circumstance, I'd have done the same thing. Here's hoping you go gold – without signing to a major. And for once, I'm glad to know I backed a winner.



I have to admit, I had some trepidation. They're touring as a duo for the first time ever, and who was to really know how that change in line-up might affect the on stage dynamic? The new album, A Hundred Days Off, which would be hailed as breathtakingly brilliant were it to come from any band without such an incredibly strong track record, still sounds just a little too restrained to be rated on par with its immediate predecessors. Most unnervingly, the three or four Underworld shows I've witnessed in the past have been so tremendously inspiring, so frighteningly transcendent - quite simply, among the best concerns experiences of my life - that I dared not expect such majesty again.

But on Friday night at the Hammerstein Ballroom, Karl Hyde and Rick Smith pulled out all the emotional registers for an Underworld show that seemed to leave their past New York performances behind in the dust. Over the course of two and a half hours, they delivered a typically eclectic set list that included hit singles, cult classics and new anthems in equal proportions; they performed off-the-cuff jams both up tempo and down; they vibed off the crowd's excitement just as much as the audience drew from the onstage energy; and they paced the show with the perfection of great DJs, knowing just when to push the pace, and exactly when to pull it back.

Watching him move so sensually, so gracefully, so energetically and euphorically, it's hard to believe Karl Hyde is now 45 years old
That last comment makes clear that Darren Emerson's departure, sad though it may be, is not a setback. Indeed, there will be those left scratching their heads as to what he contributed in the past, apart from legendary 'vibe,' which should - seriously - never be underestimated. (Nor should it be questioned that Underworld circa 1991 would have been totally lost without Emerson's then vital musical input.) There were other visual differences Friday night apart from the loss of an onstage body. The familiar "live Tomato jam" in which song lyrics and other imagery would be projected onto the back of the stage in approximate timing with Karl's singing, has gone. And it hasn't been replaced: as Karl suggested might be the case in his interview for iJamming!, he opted to do without any interactivity rather than hinder his on stage spontaneity. The final visual change was for nerds only: the two new sound boards of which Karl also referred in the interview took center stage (I spotted what looked like a Nord Lead sandwiched between them), and again as Karl intimated, the change in system caused the occasional onstage splutter. More of that later.

There's a tendency among rock fans (whose heroes often adhere to the same songs night after night), to believe that any "electronic"-based act works off pre determined set lists - or, worse, that because it doesn't emanate from guitars and drums, the entire concert must be on 'tape' and therefore unalterable. Quite apart from Underworld's ability to adlib onstage as liberally as any jam band (witness Karl's inspired guitar work on the lengthy rendition of 'Twist', or the mutated and extended rendition of 'Mo Move'), the duo thrives on mixing it up night after night. I came to the gig armed with set lists from two of the American shows earlier in the week; there was correlation, certainly, but the order was radically changed and there were several examples of songs introduced and others dropped.

The decision at Hammerstein to open with 'Mmm Skyscraper I Love You' may well have been in tribute to its inspiration, New York City, for after subsequently hitting us hard with 'Cowgirl'/'Rez', Karl then back announced the last single 'Two Months Off,' by stating "New York's given us some fantastic lyrics, and some pretty sad ones too...That's one of them." I can't believe he meant to imply that 'Two Months Off' is sad; I'll take it instead that he simply meant it was inspired by this city. On that note, I have to stress that while New York has often gained a reputation as a hard audience to please, I've noted over the years that when it comes to techno acts (and, interestingly, trip-hop ones too), this city hosts one of the most enthusiastic and passionate crowds I can imagine. With regard to Friday night's reception, there was an obvious reason: looking round the audience from a variety of positions in the ballroom, and noticing how we've all aged over the course of a post-rave decade, it was clear how many people here had grown up with Underworld. This crowd's emotional attachment to their heroes is therefore no less powerful than for someone who grew up with equally dynamic live acts like The Who, U2 or Bruce Springsteen, and proof of their long-term involvement was evidenced by the hysterical reaction to older songs like 'Dirty Epic' ("here comes Christ on crutches") and 'Dark Train.'

Stage props included some screen projections at the beginning and end, and the occasional mutated video of Karl singing; on 'Mo Move', Karl positioned himself in front of a kaleidoscopic light; and for 'Dark Train' a simple green laser tunnel (see right) proved deliriously effective. But for the most part, effects were unnecessary. All eyes were on Karl, who filled every inch of the stage and worked up every last corner of the crowd without ever stooping to conventional star banter. Watching him move so sensually, so gracefully, so energetically and euphorically, it was hard to believe he's now 45 years old. I honestly don't think there's a performer in modern music to compare with him.

And Rick Smith? Rick spent the night controlling the music, dropping instruments in and out, elongating sequences, occasionally playing with EQs and frequently stripping tracks to their rhythmic basics, such as with the lengthy introduction to 'Jumbo.' At times he was even relaxed enough to be seen bopping up and down. When not singing or playing guitar, Karl joined him at the boards, most noticeably to mix 'Born Slippy' so loud that even those with their arms in the air had to find fingers to stick in their ears. It was as powerful a rendition as I think I've heard from them, and rather than leave the set there, as one might have expected, they followed with 'Push Upstairs,' before returning for a double encore of 'Pearl's Girl' and 'Moaner.'

It was almost one song too many: the onstage board spluttered and spat its way through the intro, Rick doing his best to restart the track in time to its accidental drop-outs. At the song's conclusion, the board appeared, to all intents and purposes, to blow out completely - but Smith was smart enough to smile wryly and cut his losses. I suspect that many in the audience figured that final eruption to be the part of the act, anyway: besides, it was now one in the morning, and even though Karl had to search around for a functioning microphone to issue thanks for the ecstatic audience interaction, it had been a phenomenal night, one for the history books.

I was fortunate enough to get a photo pass for Friday's Underworld show. You can see more pictures here
. The interview with Karl Hyde is here.

Watching Underworld perform as a duo for the first time, I was struck not just as to how much Rick and Karl vibe off each other, but how much they need each other. Rick Smith is a phenomenal producer, the kind of computer geek you look up to in awe, but he;d surely struggle to find an audience left to his own instrumental (and insular?) devices. Karl, meanwhile, is a performer, singer, guitar player and poet par excellence, but his deliberately jumbled lyrics and borderline exhibitionism would seem less revolutionary if not set to equally inspiring music. Orbital may be brothers by birth, and the Chemicals Brothers by name, but Rick and Karl, after 22 years together, are brothers by nature - and the hugs they exchanged at times during this two and a half hour extravaganza proved, once more, that the greatest live shows start from the heart.



The Negatives, Bill Nelson's Red Noise, Pale Fountains, Tom Petty, Purple Hearts, Iggy Pop, Spizz Energi, Speedball, The Specials, Squeeze, Soft Cell, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Scritti Politti, Rudi, R.E.M., Rolling Stones, Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers....Just some of the acts on an old compilation tape I ran to today. One of the better things about this Marathon Training is that I prefer the Walkman to the portable CD, and seeing as basically no one releases music on cassette anymore, I've been forced to dig back into my boxes of old mixes to keep the music varied. Every now and then my past taste embarrasses me, but not this time. Even the cheesy tracks still sounded good in their own cheesy way. Love it love it love it.

Mind you, I needed the uplift after embarking on the annual CD clear out. So much music to sort through it's painful. I often figure it's easier just to keep albums than have to go back and listen to them more than once, but I simply have no space for mediocrity. (Literally even more so than metaphorically.) So Mest, Moths, Marasma - and you're just among the Ms - it's into the Thrift Store box you go.



One of the more popular song titles out there. (The Jam's version still rules: how can anyone lambast an album that contains such a beautiful song?) Last Saturday, I put out a call for help with this web-site,and a few of you bravely responded. But we're getting new readers all the time, so I'm continuing with the recruiting pitch. If you like what you see and read here, and want more of it, or at least for me to post the things I keep promising faster, then let me know if you're willing to: 1) Help transcribe interviews so I can take on more of them. (This is the most important task.) 2) Help edit manuscripts (some experience in that field is needed.) 3) Offer design assistance to make the site a little flashier without losing its easy-going readability. Thank you. Lots to come in the next week, so keep checking in.

FOR OCTOBER 12-18 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Bali Bombing and stupid editorials, the Electro-Clash festival, VHS Or Beta, Ballboy, Mindless Self Indulgence, 2 Many DJs, Tom Petty, The Streets, pointless stop-the-war e-mails)
FOR OCTOBER 5-11 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Steve Earle and John Walker's Blues, Dreaming Of Britney, Girls Against Boys and Radio 4)
FOR SEPTEMBER 28-OCT 4 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes White Stripes live, Morel live, My Generation re-issue)
FOR SEPTEMBER 21-27 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes The Creation live, Village Voice, Wine not Whine and more)
FOR SEPTEMBER 14-20 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Firefighter Andre Fletcher, Untamed, Uncut, and more September 11 Musings)
FOR SEPTEMBER 7-13 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Sep 11 memorials, Did Bin Laden Win?, Scissor Sisters and Electro-clash)
FOR AUGUST 31-SEPTEMBER 6 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes The Strokes live, The Rising, Saint Etienne, Team USA, a.i., Tahiti 80, Dot Allison)
FOR AUGUST 17-30 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes holiday musings, wine reviews, Luna at Southpaw, and more)
FOR AUGUST 10-16 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes lengthy Who live review)
FOR JULY 27-AUG 9 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Area 2, 24 Hour Party People Party, Hootenanny Tour, 2 Many DJs and more.
FOR JULY 20-26 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Wilson Pickett, John Entwistle, rebuilding downtown NYC)
FOR JULY 13-19 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Love Parade, Teany, RenewNYC, Femi Kuti, NRA, Londonisation of New York, Britishification of Global Rock)
FOR JULY 6-12 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Mike Meyers as Keith Moon, the RAVE Act, John Entwistle, Michael Jackson, Southpaw, Moby Online, Layo & Bushwacka!,
(accidentally deleted)
FOR JUNE 29-JULY 5 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup Final, John Entwistle's legacy, The Who's decision to carry on, the meaning of July 4)
FOR JUNE 22-28 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, Dr. John, Doves, Mermaid Parade, John Entwistle's death, Timothy White's death, Clinic Firewater and Radio 4 live, The Who's decision to carry on)
FOR JUNE 15-21 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, Liars live, GiantFingers, the Big Takeover)
FOR JUNE 8 -14 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, StellaStarr*, Jose Padilla, Dee Dee Ramone, suicide bombings)
FOR JUNE 1-7 DAILY MUSINGS, CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, Southpaw, Six Foot Under, Andrew Sullivan)
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iJamming! Site Copyright Tony Fletcher 2002