|Kneel before Gnod.|
Gnod were on supersonic form at the Julian Cope Copendium book launch. It was an evening not just for them, but a celebration and a perfect metaphor for everything Cope stands for; a true recount of 21st century barbarianism, heathen rejoicing and primal evocations in the hall of mirrors. In attendance were (not) Manchester Motherfuckers and ‘intuitive non-careermovers’ Gnod, as well as similarly emotionally encumbered sonic conquistadors and volumatic cosmonauts the Kosmik Deed (Kosmik) James and (Kosmik) Jewlian confirmed. In attendance of course natch was Cope, Fido’s Blues, the insane Black Sheep road movie that deserves a whole non-music (although sorta music) In Search of Space frantic Benzedrine freakout all to itself. I may descend into complete incomprehensibility as I go on, as I did in front of Julian Cope as he signed my newly sold-out-for copy of Copendium (for those interested in rock artefacts, it’s a must, for those interested in rock writing, the Head Heritage Unsung keeping the red flag flying is a must). I can tell you all I informed him of this stumbling guffawing bullshit ride over the crunchy skin of the underground and occasionally into its nougat centre and his response was, “right on man! I propelled you”, I was humbled. Anyhoo. There was love, death, and a bit with a dog. Rawk awn.
[All quotes are paraphrased and come attributed with a big *sic because I was way too spaced to keep notes or think to record it]
First there was the conversation with Julian Cope, which invited a whole lot of his philosophy getting expunged and was a real eye opener. Highlights – “Don’t you want to be like Eric Clapton?” asks Lee Brackstone, “what? A fucking racist cunt?” replies Cope; on modern music in family life “that family that plays together stays together, man, my family all listen to this stuff, constant heavy rotation, we work out to it, we all get completely cunted to it in the evenings”; on why Randy Holden didn’t need more than one record: “they nailed it”. It was super cool to hang out with someone who inspired me to understand and talk about music in the way I do, to contemplate things from his own very twisted, alternative, and informed perspective. Who encouraged me to look at music through the cracked, dirty and misfocused lens I can now not help but do. He explained his concept of ‘intuitive non-careermover’ which I’ve never understood. Intuitive non-careermovers are those who are absolute motherfuckers. The nature of any art is that especially as one grows older one has to choose, between the art and paying one’s mortgage. Every second of every day one has to do this (unless one has stumbled drunk into some holy temple and been blessed with phenomenal success as well as creative genius). Intuitive non-careermovers are people for whom that choice can only be made in one direction – for the art. Cope also discussed the relevance of ‘usefulness’ as a summation of a record. Too weird to live, to rare to die. Cope also covered a few of his other projects, a new novel and a new nonfiction book, before letting Gnod get cracking.
|Gnod pull full Chuck Yeager about thirty seconds in.|
We’ve already spoken about how superb Gnod are. Thoroughbred weirdness leeching out of the pores of trepidatious Viking beards and mattresses full of bed bugs and driving in the dark drinking Jack listening to the Twin Peaks theme… or something. It’s taken me a while to nail this together, to come to terms with what I saw and exactly what happened. The set ended and I felt genuinely spaced, in the throes of a full-on frenzy of gittering proportions, confronting a crying stranger on a Glasgow street corner sobbing into her phone with a gentle hand on the shoulder, and saying “it’s okay, you’re doing well” before adding something about not being drunk and bouncing off. High on a state of sobriety. I know many who espouse the notion that you can get a lot higher without drugs than with them, I don’t know Gnod’s position on that issue, but I can guess it. Certainly the raucous and tribal possession of the singer, as well as the trancelike jivings of the bass and drum priests leads me to believe these fellas predominantly get high on sound. Salford’s primary rhythm DJ disco motherfuckers have an ever-changing roster and an amorphous live show along the lines of a benevolent Shoggoth warping and bending to totally fill any space they deign to play. I can’t name the vocalist, though I’m sure comments will worm themselves through the internet to divulge his identity it really doesn’t matter, on stage he becomes a different entity, taken to violent spasmodic seizures and troubling vocal delivery like the pains of a angst fit panic attack. For a brief terrifying moment I think the leather-jacketed creature genuinely is being attacked by invisible assailants, and that his mind has snapped. The guitars are genuinely a solid wall of lit napalm pouring through the glowing corridors of a decomissioned post-Soviet nuclear bunker on launch-ready alert. I stood next to the speakers to take a photo just long enough to realise my tinnitus wouldn't thank me in the morning. Thudding drunk on christ knows what, the entire blast is totally mentally disintigrating.
|Head Gnoddist priest takes a rest|
The evening continues, I intimate to the Gnod boys that their show was stellar, they say they thought I was older… Julian Cope returns to explain himself via YouTube in what is definitely the most bizarre segment of the evening, over and above the chaotic Black Sheep ‘ambulent’ protest road movie Fido’s Blues. Cope explains that Phil May’s the Pretty Thing’s drummer invented rock and roll in 1965 with stage antics that would bewitch the ‘heathenised’ minds of rock and roll fans of the most disturbed shows of the here and now. Fido’s Blues is everything promised. ‘Disorienting’ is the word used by one critic and I can’t agree. A forty minute eleven-stop tour of revolutionary monuments and places by Cope and fellow Black Sheep, entirely abandoned with diegetic sound in favour of a sometimes shocking latterday Cope score somewhere between his Woden and L.A.M.F. workouts and thoroughly disassociative in its effect. The whole thing leaves me pretty spaced. The whole evening leaves me pretty spaced though I meditate on something in the days to come – I am, for possibly the first time in my adult life, genuinely uncomplicatedly happy. This isn’t a life blog and won’t become one because those people are cunts. I will say this certainly stems from no longer being a part of the capitalist machine, as I recently quit my pathetic job. “There comes a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part, you can’t even passively take part”.
Written under duress by Steven. Photos also by Steven, natch.