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August 2, 2008

Formed A Band

Filed under: mr solo — mrsolo @ 7:47 am

As I pressed delete on the lovely (it wasn’t see?) message from an 18 year old unsatisfied customer I ponder the idea of this blog being a record of my plight to form a band around Mister Solo. it is not unusual to hear that I wear a cape and make up as a safety blanket (possibly and I’m willing to go with that) but a stronger view is that I should shove it up my bottom and get a proper job - the youth of today such a touching sense of humour. In fact there were so many refernces to backside functions in the last love/hatemail that I have formed a response in my mind advising the writer that his bile is not aimed at me but his fear and loathing of his own desires. I’m sure this will set him straight and we will become best mates any time soon and he will laugh at how he initially overlooked the obvious allusion of my ‘little DRacula outfit” to the unique and inspiring reciprocal altruism of the vampire bat. happy days.

See in a band its like a gang and it won’t matter if anyone threatens to kill me because they want to smother me in brie but can’t. But the truth is I have never experienced that exact level of loathing when looking out from a group only as a solo Mister Solo. This blog is indanger of sliding into self analysis but hey here goes you never know it could be part of a survival guide for my future band mates. I have never really formed a band - its always just happened. This is how i like to treat pictures and songs too - don’t get in the way of what’s gonna come out. My favourite art is when all those egos finally get out of the way but then unfortunately some artists spend the rest of their career believing it was their ego that created it. I digress.
So lets look at the idea of approaching the forming of a band sideways. A friend of mine called Harry Pye managed to form a band recently and at the same time turned the Sun and Doves into a work of art. It was amazing. Harry had painted a triptych based on a lesser know Lloyd Cole song “Forest Fire” and invited various musicians to come and perform a version of this tune infront of it one evening in May this year. There were some beautiful and diverse renditions and at the end we all got together and went through the entire genre menu on itunes and Forest fire lay panting in a pool of sweat somewhere near the front of the stage. It was marvelous to look around at Harry’s painting midway through the song and in the blink of an eye choose between using it as an aid memoire for the lyrics or lose myself in its colours and general sumptuousness. Amazingly the audience were able to be part of a real process of discovery very much like forming a band without forming angry vengeful thought about what a rip off the whole thing was. This was because it was a JOY! yes forming a band is a joy. This particular band never even had a name and strictly speaking was made up not just of various musicians but an artist, an audience and an urban pub building - bricks and mortar and everything. This is quite some feat of transubstantiation and we gaze on with slack jaws at Harry Pye’s conjuring.
This sideways band forming stance is informed by a suspision on my part of taking the band framework and just sticking to that. Case in point Primal Scream are the mirror (geddit?) of the velvet underground who were cool and nihilistic in a cool and nihilistic way not in a hey lets copy that idea cos its what cool is all about kind of way. Somewhere along the line for some being a band began to mean being mean and moody and generally a bit snotty because there is a propensity among the vaguely untalented to simply skim the surface and unwittingly become a simulacra. I found this on a Flikr site by way of explanantion. Simulacrum (plural: simulacra), from the Latin simulare, “to make like, to put on an appearance of”, originally meaning a material object representing something (such as an idol representing a deity, or a painted still-life of a bowl of fruit).

A sense of a “mere” image, an empty form devoid of spirit, and descended to connote a specious or fallow representation.

A copy of a copy which has been so dissipated in its relation to the original that it can no longer be said to be a copy. The simulacrum, therefore, stands on its own as a copy without a model.For the rationalists out there what are the chances of a singer’s impersonation of Sir Mick jagger and Bernard Sumner actually turning him into an uber love child of both of these (now old and grumpy) gentlemen of rock. What you actually get is Tim burgess. Looked at like this bands are a rubbish shallow form of expression but we all know that bands are brilliant! A JOY in fact.

So our first rehearsal is booked in for next Friday and I still can’t decide if we have a name or if it continues as Mister Solo which when its a band is terrifyingly close to mr mister. Also the Voluntary Butler who produced the latest album is required on guitar so if you see him bang a gong.

1 Comment »

  1. Know what you mean, went to sea Rogues Gallery at the Barbican, 5 star reviews all round, but some how deeply unsatisfactory. A succession of solo artists singing along to a group of session musicians, playing music that was written for gangs or bands, with out any of the connection that comes from collaborators. They all wore t - shirts and jeans, looked uncomfortable and played very safe. The music was very theatrical, larger than life, but the delivery was as if each individuals contribution was the highlight of the show, over dramatic and so in context bland, no light and shade. A band enables true collaboration, safety to experiment, a mix of view points to act as a filter. If the band is gelling, the audience is allowed to picks up on the atmosphere created and join in, it becomes transformative, collaborative, rather than a feeling of being performed at. The audience wants to join in, will dress and act like the band (they become part of the band) and encourage the band to go further experiment more, intensify the experience. There’s a good reason why the early Adam and the Ants fans developed their own personna, and formed a gang and fanatical following still going strong, while the later Adam Ant (solo) fans wore their funny stripe for a few months, gave up and moved on to something else. As for the cape, it’s a very needed flag, not a safety blanket, the jeans and t-shirt brigade are in deep trouble at the moment and they should know it, life is not as safe as they would like it to be, viva la glam!

    Comment by foz — August 5, 2008 @ 2:06 am

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