«I bought the First Born 12” from the Sounds of the Universe record shop in Soho in 1998. It was a time when I was deeply excited about the new and experimental 2 step/garage records that seemed to be coming out every week, and the people in the shop knew I’d want this when I came in. They told me the record had been dropped off by the kids who had made it that day and they were just selling it direct to shops. It had a hand made sleeve with bizarre artwork for a garage 12”, and the music on the record sounded incredible. A wicked shuffling beat with amazing chopped samples flying in and out all over the place. It was on quite a different vibe to the other garage records around and stopped me in my tracks.
I told a couple of A&R guys I knew about the record, because I really thought more people needed to hear this (pre-internet situation), and this guy Ben really liked it and tried to sign the Crazy Bald Heads. He asked me to do a remix of First Born probably thinking they could reissue the 12” with the remix on, and got the parts from them and I did the mix, and was told the Crazy Bald Heads were really happy with it. An acetate of the remix was made and given to Gilles Peterson who played it on his Radio 1 show. Then a while after that I heard from Ben that Crazy Bald Heads had decided to break up the group and they were done and the remix was shelved.
In 2011 I was asked to do a mix CD for Fabric and I wanted to use the original version of First Born and my remix on the cd. It seemed like a good chance to get it out there after all this time. However, we couldn’t find any of the Crazy Bald Heads anywhere to clear the track, and no one knew anything about them. Some of the original garage DJs like Zed Bias remembered the record, but no one had any contact details. I now realised that this was one of the weirdest and most unknown garage records from the late 90’s. Fabric managed to find one of the Crazy Bald Heads at the last minute though and the track was cleared and I was put in touch with him. I met up with him a few months later and we spoke about the idea of a reissue to give this music some more life and because the original 12” is so rare, and now this reissue is finally ready. The reissue audio is from the original DAT, but unfortunately the floppy disk with the original artwork on was corrupted». Kieran Hebden, January 2014. FIRST BORN
Da RS Usa, un outtake dalla biografia “A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton, From Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man”, dove l’autrice Holly George-Warren racconta di un concerto (a occhio si parla di fine anni ’90) di Chilton insieme a Question Mark and The Mysterians (nientemeno). RS
«Alex has such a rep of being a sourpuss, which is really not true. He was doing a gig at Coney Island High, a great old club [in Manhattan] — it was him, his trio, with Question Mark and the Mysterians. He loved meeting the guy behind “96 Tears.” [Chilton] came out first, then Question Mark came out. Anyone who has seen Question Mark knows he is quite eccentric. The whole stage was covered with stuffed animals. So some wiseacre in the crowd took one and threw it. In the back Question Mark was freaking out. Alex goes out and says, “We’ve gotta go get teddy.” He gets everyone to go out and start searching everywhere for teddy. All of a sudden, Alex pops out from where the sound guy is and he’s waving teddy in the air and he brought it back to Question Mark, who was so grateful. That’s a good one that didn’t make it into the book».
Lo si posta così: acriticamente, dogmaticamente, come si posterebbe qualsiasi cosa fabbricata da quest’uomo. Però, boh. La cover lume-di-candela del classico anniottanta di Robert Palmer, avalonizzata, pure, dalla sussiegosa, austera presenza di sua arbiterelegantiarumità Bryan Ferry. Il momento più vicino a Umberto Smaila della carriera di Terje: l’Umberto Smaila di fine serata, da solo al piano dopo che il pubblico se n’è andato e la band sta riponendo gli strumenti e vuotando i bicchieri. L’Umberto Smaila in quell’attimo esatto in cui si scopre capace di cogliere la propria tragicità. TODD TERJE
EDIT: e pure il 45 giri che esce settimana prossima, detto fra noi, non è che sia esattamente…