Somewhere under the Heathrow flight-path, Eugene Chadbourne, plump Professor Weeto lookalike, avant-grade country musician, and presumably the only banjo-playing socialist to ever try putting an electric guitar pickup in a rake, sings his chirpily offbeat song about people killing each other over land. Chadbourne’s output slaloms so wildly between almost traditional country and experimental improvised noise-jazz that it’s fully possible – especially given his proficiency on the guitar – that he’s playing the banjo badly because he likes the sound, rather than just not being very good at it.
Eugene Chadbourne albums habitually sound like they were recorded in a tin shed, and there’s a reasonable chance they were. That’s not a criticism. Septuagenarian drum-king Warren Smith provides pitter-pattering propulsion to Chadbourne’s fumbling banjo on ‘The People With Too Much’, the latter squeakily upbeat as he paints a prole’s-eye view of the mindless excess of the needlessly wealthy.
Truly one of the least prestigious, least sought-after accolades in the history of the world, Billy Jenkins is probably the Bemolution’s favourite living musical artiste*. Please note, sadly, that that’s ‘living’ artiste, not ‘musically active’. Both spiritually worn-down and made financially unviable by the crushing commercialisation of everything, Billy Jenkins the musician has characteristically jacked it all in to officiate humanist funerals.
The Bemolution occasionally, certainly pathetically, writes to Billy to ascertain whether he’s any more likely to strap on his guitar again than he was during the last quarter, and he’s always gracious enough to reply:
“Me and music still not hearing ‘ear to ear’. The humanist funereal duties keeping the muse fully occupied – writing and conducting about sixty a year. That means an average of about 3,500 perfect emphatic words a week. Every week for the last five years…”
“The last CD I brought out – ‘Jazz Gives Me The Blues’ – took 26 funerals to pay for. ‘What you’re really saying is’, said Charlie Hart who recorded and produced, ‘that 26 folks had to actually die to make that record…’ Yup. And, with no-one buying anything, it ain’t worth the literal grief any more… The future is looking rather silent but faced with a smile.” Continue reading
It’s an exciting day for the Bemolution. Art-rock colossus David Bowie has startlingly reappeared from a decade of silent exile that many read as retirement, marking his 66th birthday by issuing his first musical peep since 2003. Four-minute single ‘Where Are We Now?’ was laconically deposited on ITunes with no prior warning, no comment from the man himself and little else beyond the promise of a full album to follow in March. Continue reading