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Handpicked | Een pracht verhaal over de vroege punk

Handpicked | Een pracht verhaal over de vroege punk
Door Fast Moving Targets • Editie #812 • Bekijk online
Zolang ik blijf schrijven en praten, zul je het verhaal horen hoe de punk van de late jaren zeventig mij blijvend heeft beïnvloed.
En dan heb ik het niet eens over de muziek, want de vroege hiphop en house hadden voor mij hetzelfde wat de vroege punk had. En het begin van het internet was niet anders. Alle bewegingen met een hoog Do It Yourself gehalte hebben mij altijd gegrepen.
Ik stuitte vandaag op een verhaal waar dat vanaf spat. Begin je eigen band. Begin je eigen label. Begin je eigen bedrijf. Laat je niet remmen door de beperkingen. Doen!
Een verhaal over mijn helden The Mekons en het label Fast Product. En ook een klein beetje het verhaal van mijn leven.
Hungry Beat is a new oral history of Scotland’s post-punk scene between 1977 and 1984. Written and put together by musician and Creeping Bent record-label founder Douglas MacIntyre, film director Grant McPhee, and writer Neil Cooper, the book focuses on Fast Product and Postcard, the two record labels in Scotland that helped kickstart a cultural revolution.
While Postcard gifted the world Orange Juice, Josef K and Aztec Camera, Fast Product put out debut releases by The Human League, Gang Of Four and Scars. Fast Product’s first release was ‘Never Been In A Riot’ by Leeds-based band, The Mekons. The story behind the making of that record set the tone of things to come at Fast Product, as label co-founders Bob Last and Hilary Morrison explain in this exclusive excerpt from Hungry Beat.
Bob Last: I approached The Mekons about recording a single for Fast Product but they tried to dissuade me from making a record with them. I remember them telling me about Gang Of Four and at that time I wasn’t interested, so that’s how I encountered The Mekons and they were an exemplar of having a world of ideas and absolutely no interest in musical competence for its own sake. I mean, you could not have had a more extreme example of that, which was part of what appealed, but there was also clearly a real insight and thoughtfulness layered into that noise that they made.
Hilary Morrison: We had nowhere to record The Mekons single and weren’t sure of the process. Then one of The Rezillos told us their uncle had a place in the country, a cottage down in the Borders, and that we could record the single there. So we went down to the cottage and it was all locked up, the uncle only stayed there sometimes. So, the long and short of it was The Mekons’ first record started by me breaking into this house out in the middle of nowhere. I was quite small, so I was put through a window and let everyone into the cottage and we took over the house for the weekend and recorded The Mekons single, the first release on Fast Product. I got sent on the overnight bus to go down to London to try to talk Rough Trade into distributing The Mekons single and get it into record shops, but they thought the record was incompetent and hated it.
Bob Last: Famously, Rough Trade said it was the worst record they’d ever heard and they weren’t stocking it. Which of course we absolutely loved, it was exactly the correct wrong thing for them to say. That Geoff Travis from Rough Trade would not distribute our first record on the grounds of it not being musically competent was the perfect kind of tension and irony that we were playing with. It was in fact musically extremely competent in the sense that it did what it needed to do to get across the point that they wanted to make, and that’s what was interesting about it. We didn’t have a clue how to put a record out and promote it. We just went out and hustled people. It is cool to leap off a cliff sometimes, provided you know it doesn’t always work out, but I think we started getting somewhere because we had that kind of front and belief in Fast Product. There’s always an element of luck and I don’t think we started really selling The Mekons single until it got reviewed in the NME when Tony Parsons and Julie Burchill did this joint review and made it single of the week. That was when it really started working, that was the first external attention that Fast Product got.

En zo klonk die single
The Mekons - Never Been in a Riot (1978) [7"]
The Mekons - Never Been in a Riot (1978) [7"]
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