Friday, March 6, 2015

the rotters' club

Hatfield and the North sought non-stop laughter to dispel disaster and shared it with progressive jazz rock interludes and chaotic lounge lumps.  The group grew out of a number of bands in the Canterbury scene including Phil Miller (from Matching Mole), his brother Steve Miller (from Caravan), Pip Pyle (from Gong) and Richard Sinclair (from Caravan).   Dave Sinclair (from Matching Mole and Caravan) replaced Steve Miller and group became Hatfield and the North, taking their name from a highway sign in the area.   Dave Sinclair was replaced by Dave Stewart (from Egg) and they recorded their eponymous debut in 1974 with producer Tom Newman.  

Richard Sinclair reveals:  "For my part, I was born in Canterbury and my parents and my grandparents, were musicians. My father had a dance band that played every weekend in Canterbury and the parents of Hugh and Brian Hopper used to go to see the 'Dick Sinclair Band'...and they talked about 'us sons' one evening. Hugh and Brian needed a guitar player and so my dad kitted me out with his Selmer Truvoice amp. And I went to meet them. I was then 15 years old, and that was the start of the 'Wilde Flowers' me, Hugh and Brian Hopper. A few years passed and the Wilde Flowers grew to include, Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayres, Pye Hastings, Richard Coughlan, Daevid Allen, and others. 'Soft Machine' and 'Caravan' were formed from the generic Wilde Flowers. 'Kevin Ayres and the Whole World' and 'Gong' came about later.  So it's good that the whole group of mates known as the 'c'bury scene' are considered to be progressive, I hope that the genre and the music, carry on progressing and do not stand still! Get on your feet and get on up!... I would say that you need a sense of humour to be a musician in the first place! I was raised on the themes of my dad such as "never let your braces dangle" and "does your chewing gum loose it's flavor on the bedpost overnight" humor as a vital ingredient to learning to play."

Their second and final album 'The Rotters' Club' features Phil Miller on guitar;   Dave Stewart on Fender Rhodes electric piano, Hammond organ, Minimoog, Piano, and Tone generator;   Richard Sinclair on bass guitar, lead vocals, and guitar;   and Pip Pyle on drums;   with Jimmy Hastings on saxophone and flute;   Lindsay Cooper on bassoon;  Tim Hodgkinson on clarinet;  Mont Campbell on French horn;  and the Northettes Barbara Gaskin, Amanda Parsons, abd Ann Rosenthal on backing vocals.     'The Rotters' Club' made it to number forty-three on the UK album chart.  

Dave Stewart would expound:    "Obviously if you approach music in an intelligent kind of spirit, and you have an inquiring mind, and you're looking for music to progress and not just repeat old ideas, you do need musicians to generate ideas that are intellectually stimulating, right? And sometimes, when you first hear these ideas, the experience will be almost entirely cerebral. You won't get much of the pleasure-in-the-stomach feeling out of it. You'll be thinking, "Oh, yeah, hmm, interesting idea", or "I wonder what the hell they're doing therer But the thing that most people instinctively want from music, you know I'm generalizing here, is some sort of emotional experience. I don't mean strictly emotional in the sense of "this music will make you happy, this music will make you sad," but a more subtle thing where the experience of listening to the music will put you in a kind of emotional state which you'll enjoy. For myself, I've found that intellectual stimulation on its own is not enough. Being a professional musician, I'm able to think about music all the time, and this experience helps me understand unfamiliar musical ideas pretly quickly. But, like most people, I also have a simplistic sort of receptor that's looking simply to enjoy music, and for that reason I can still enjoy fairly crude pop music from my teens like "You Really Got Me" by the Kinks. And although that's not at all intellectually challenging, I must admit that I would enjoy that, even now at the age of 45, more than I would enjoy Anthony Braxton's music. A million times more. From what I've heard of Anthony Braxton's recorded stuff, I would certainly classify it as "challenging", which probably means that relatively few people are going to enjoy it. But I personally like it when music unites people from different walks of life, people who aren't musicians, who don't earn a living out of music, you know, ordinary folk who work in garages. I just enjoy the simple emotional appeal of music, and I don't like music that strays too far away from that. I think it's a basic human thing, and if you don't bear it in mind you can end up in a bit of an ivory tower. There's this feeling of isolation, and from there you go on to become very defensive about music. You find yourself continually having to argue with people about how 'good' it is, defending it intellectually. I remember overhearing such a conversation between Chris Cutler of Henry Cow and a Henry Cow fan at the Roundhouse in London. Henry Cow used to play a fair amount of what we would call "free music", meaning improvised, where they would all, you know, squiggle (verbally scats a few nonsensical phrases), and I must say, often that music sounded very similar from night to night, which maybe gives the lie to the assumption that it's really 'free' - anyway, they certainly weren't playing from a chart. The audience was sitting there listening to it, and there's this mild feeling of restlessness that you often get when people hear that kind of music... that communal, unstated but deeply felt wish that someone would shout, "One, two, three, four!" and the band would tear into 'Louie, Louie' ... (laughter) Afterwards, this guy came up to Chris Cutler in the bar and said, "You know, I love the band and I love your music, but I can't see the point of that free stuff". And Chris said, hackles rising a little, "Well, I have to say that that's the side of our music I would defend the most strongly". And I thought, yeah, you'd have to bloody defend it the most strongly, because you're always going to be attacked on it! So if you think that music is a kind of intellectual battlefield that you've got to fight your way through and come out bloody but unbowed on the other side at the age of 70, then you might want to wholeheartedly take on a total experimental approach to music throughout your whole musical life. You would be a brave person, and I would applaud you for it, but you would find it perhaps very hard going. And you might miss out on a few easier emotional rewards on the way."

"Share It"

"Hey there! Rotter's Club!
Explain the meaning of this song and share it"

There's no way of understanding what's been going on
I lost track yesterday
Now I found out that it's generosity that turns me on
So let's keep it that way
Help yourself to me, I'll help myself to you
and all your friends - we can spread it around
So if you can spare it then come on and share it
Let's get on with it cause we're wasting our time 

Please do not take it seriously really, what a joke!
The only thing that matters is to share it

Crass displays of acute embarrassment would make you cringe
Spend your money elsewhere
I won't trouble you with all that cheap philosophy
It's better still to watch that on T.V.
Most especially adverts of some slinky hairspray
When the plastic actresses take off their clothes
Just to demonstrate all their curves and cleavages
and subtleties quite forgetting their hair

Please do not take it seriously really, what a joke!
The only thing to do is grin and bear it

Mirthless merriment, sickly sentiments so commonplace
It would bore you to tears
Give me non-stop laughter, dispel disaster
Or the Rotter's Club might well lop off your ears 

Laughing and drinking, dancing, grooving, stoned again
Falling over singing, hoping that you'll share it

 'The Rotters' Club' 
full album:

"Share It" (Sinclair/Pyle) – 3:03
"Lounging There Trying" (Miller) – 3:15
"(Big) John Wayne Socks Psychology on the Jaw" (Stewart) – 0:43
"Chaos at the Greasy Spoon" (Sinclair/Pyle) – 0:30
"The Yes No Interlude" (Pyle) – 7:01
"Fitter Stoke Has a Bath" (Pyle) – 7:33
"Didn't Matter Anyway" (Sinclair) – 3:33
"Underdub" (Miller) – 4:02
"Mumps" (Stewart) – 20:31
"Your Majesty Is Like a Cream Donut" (Quiet) 1:59
"Lumps" 12:35
"Prenut" 3:55
"Your Majesty Is Like a Cream Donut" (Loud) 1:37

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