July 19, 2011

I know what the senator wants
what the senator wants is a blow job

Billy Name, Brillo, 1963

* Tim Burgess discusses his love for Felt. excerpt:

What was it that drew you to the band's music to begin with: its mystery, its sound, Lawrence's personality, or what…?

TB: I think it was the music, obviously, that drew me in, but I became intrigued more and more by Lawrence and his aesthetic: 10 singles, 10 albums, 10 years and so on. I was attracted to the mystery, and it was the first time I really became aware of the power of mystery in groups. I loved the artwork and the titles: album titles and song titles.

When we listened to Ignite The Seven Cannons, which is the only album with both Maurice Deebank and Martin Duffy playing, we shared a moment where we acknowledged together the similarity in vocal style between Lawrence and Tom Verlaine. In fact, listening to more of his stuff since I got home to Berlin, I think Felt seem to owe a considerable debt to him, both for Lawrence's vocal delivery and for the interplay between him and Deebank, reflecting Richard Lloyd and Verlaine's musical relationship. Were you a fan of Television and Tom Verlaine? Were you already aware of the musical connection between Felt and Television when we met?

TB: No, I am not a Television fan. I have tried to be. Maybe subconsciously through Lawrence. Also, I wasn't very aware of the connection. Which is a beautiful thing. I was aware that Felt got the name from a Television song, and I remember he mentions Verlaine in 'Mobile Shack' (one of my favourite Felt songs), but never meticulously followed it through, perhaps like I did with R.E.M's debt to The Byrds. I maintain that Felt are by far the best band to ever come out of Birmingham. I also maintain that Felt are better than Television.
Felt made, it has to be said, a fairly small impact upon the world in general, and yet musicians often cite them as a significant influence. What do you think it is about Felt that makes them such a musician's band?

TB: Martin Duffy is a genius, actually the only musical genius I have ever met – listen to side two of The Pictorial Jackson Review – so that would be part of the reason they would be considered a musician's band. Me and Kevin Shields sat up all night once with open mouths praising his natural ability. Lawrence obsessed, but with humour. His obsessions and bizarreness were a hilarious take on an outsider's point of view. Even though they were possibly taking over his life. I can hear Lawrence's humour in Jarvis Cocker more than any other performer. From all I hear from people who know him, he is pretty happy.
Were you at, or at least aware of, the show where he took acid and, after one song, asked the audience to get their money back and go home? It was, apparently, an audience largely made up of A&Rs…

TB: I heard that story… I love it!

* Help Malkmus come up with radio-friendly lyrics for Senator, from the forthcoming album Mirror Traffic.

* "One has to believe in what one is doing, one has to commit oneself inwardly, in order to do painting. Once obsessed, one ultimately carries it to the point of believing that one might change human beings through painting. But if one lacks this passionate commitment, there is nothing left to do. Then it is best to leave it alone. For basically painting is idiocy." -- Gerhard Richter, 1973


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