Tag Archives: zounds

Fear of a black and white planet

I STARTED writing this piece about three years ago. This displays a shockingly shit work ethic, so apologies to everyone I talked to. I am such a lazy arse.

What did John Lennon say? Life is what happens when you’re making other plans. Then again, he also said, Yes Yoko, we will give over an entire floor of the Dakota building to refrigerating your fur coats, laa – so maybe we shouldn’t hold him up as some kind of arbiter of good taste and time-management.

Where was I?

Around the time the 10 Inches Of Fear package came out, I tried to sell a feature to a few of the glossy music-numpty monthlies but they weren’t having any of it – perhaps not so surprising given that it’s all about a collision between two musical big ideas for which they have no great liking in the shape of anarcho-punk and acid house. Their loss.

But I thought I’d do it anyway. Why deprive readers of this blog just because those miserable cunts in London don’t know their arses from their elbows? I set about interviewing as many of the people involved in the project as I could.

Unfortunately, after I’d talked to everyone else, the interview I did over the phone with Mark Wilson from the Mob was blotted out by the dull throb from a lousy landline and I kind of lost all enthusiasm for it. It just began to seem too much like hard work.

I didn’t so much put it on the backburner as wrap it up in a couple of carriers, stick it in a bin bag and bury it at the bottom of the garden.

I eventually got around to giving it another go, though I still couldn’t make out half of what Mark Wilson said.  It’s a bit of an epic one, so I’d make a cup of tea and put your feet up.

Grumpy old punx should also note that I talked to Donna / Honey for quite some time and have plenty more material which didn’t really fit into this piece. I’ll get it together and write all that up at some point in the future.

See you in 2013.

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Filed under expletive undeleted, features

The Curse Of Zounds by Zounds (Rough Trade)

AS MUCH as I loved fast and furious bands like Antisect, Amebix and Discharge, who operated at the heavier, more raucous end of anarcho punk, there was also a place within my heart for the bands who took a stealthier approach, who sang rather than shouted, who took their time with what they wanted to say and employed a number of chord changes, hell, sometimes even actual melodies to say it.

Foremost among them were The Mob and Zounds – and the Poison Girls of course, but we’ll have to save them for another time – who always seemed to be linked in my mind, not least because they toured together a lot and shared a drummer for a while. And the two bands also seemed to share a style of approach which often seemed completely at odds with many other bands who released music on Crass Records – not least Crass themselves.

Both the Mob and Zounds employed humour, subtlety and experimentation where others were content to focus on shouting, profanity and buzz-saw guitars – not that there’s anything wrong with shouting, profanity and buzz-saw guitars you understand, but everyone needs a bit of light and shade sometimes, don’t they? Some respite from the anger and hatred, a break from the big ideas? I was very grateful they were around.

They didn’t parrot the by-the-numbers sloganeering endemic in much of the scene, and instead talked about people rather than problems, the personal rather than the overtly political. It was a very different way of working and one that was about setting a mood and creating an atmosphere as much as telling you what was what in the world.

In contrast with the black and white, one-side-or-the-other certainties of Crass and many of the bands on their label, Zounds and the Mob didn’t claim to know all the answers, or indeed any of the answers. They probably weren’t even sure about the question.

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Filed under hip replacement, punk rock