Author Topic: Band Biographies  (Read 15895 times)

buzby

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #120 on: May 14, 2019, 12:00:34 AM »
Went to see Stephen Morris' book tour in Liverpool tonight being interviewed by Dave Haslam and then open to questions from the floor. I've said it before, but he really is one of the wittiest and most avuncular people in the music business.

Just started on my (signed) copy of Record Play Pause (I'm about 4 chapters in). It seems to be a book of two halves - the first half covers his family, childhood and growing up in Macclesfield. The second half covers his joining Warsaw and the Joy Division period of his career. It's very much in the storytelling format, rather than the 'trainspotter' gig-by-gig listings and track-by-track analysis of Hook's books (at least some of which I'm sure was crowdsourced), but it's none the worse for it as Morris writes in a very witty, easy-to-read style.

The book features this postcard he sent to Gillian while Joy Division were touring Benelux in January 1980 and Haslam asked him to read it out (Gillian was sat at the back of the room):

"Things are getting a bit silly generally speaking - PA problems, getting out of bed etc. But I am confident things will get worse"

Here's an interview he did with Liverpool listings website Getintothis in advance of the event. There's another recent interview publicising the book where he discusses his gear through the years (and mentions the drumkit that was stolen in New York that was recovered years later).

buzby

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #121 on: May 30, 2019, 11:26:10 PM »
iIve finished Record Play Pause now, and I'd say it's my favourite of the three members books. It does sort of sit right in the middle of the Hook and Sumner books - the first half is mostly concerned with Steve's early life and childhood, growing up in Macclesfield, so it's in a similar vein to Sumner's Chapter and Verse in that respect. The second half concerns his early experiences at drumming in bands, then joining Warsaw as they were then and covers the period up until Ian's death, their morphing into New Order and their 1981 mini-tour of the US (the second volume will presumably cover Gillian joining the band onwards).

The second half is more similar to Hook's Joy Division book, with tales of their gigs, recording sessions, working methods and the Ian that he knew and was friends with (he does point out that it became clear that Ian was a different person to everybody he met, and usually told people what they wanted to hear). It's not an in-depth chronology or history of Joy Division, instead concentrating on certain key events and periods in their careers and lives. When he talks about gear and studio sessions there's none of those awful 'Geek Alert' footnotes that Hook put in his books either (I like technical stuff as much as anyone, but those panels in Hook's book were a little on the patronising side)

The main thing about it is that it's written very clearly in his own voice, which f you have read or seen any interviews with him is laced with a very dry sense of humour (which is usually deployed in a self-deprecating manner) and he's also very honest about his life and things he's done that' he's not particularly proud of (which usually involve drugs of some description - even up to the end of the book in 1981 it's slightly amazing that he's still relatively normal given his adventures with pharmaceuticals starting long before he joined the band). Gillian doesn't feature  that much in this book, but when she is mentioned we get a very touching picture of the early days of their relationship.

He is also very complimentary of both Hook and Sumner's talents (even though a lot of the time he is the victim of their japes or jokes), which makes a refreshing change, particularly from Hook's book. This may be because he seems to have started writing in the hotel during their appearance at the 2005 Fuji Rock Festival, so that may or may not change in the second volume.

For a JD/NO obsessive like me there's ot all that much that's new or revelatory. We do get to hear from the horses mouth about his expulsion from King's Grammar, and one thing I don't remember hearing before is what the numbers mean in their early song Warsaw, where they came from, and how they relate to Bernard's infamous outburst that was captured on the 'Short Circuit' Electric Circus album. There's also the tale of the creation of As You Said (a.k.a. 'The Worst Song Joy Division Ever Wrote') which is prescient of how electronics would play a much more important part in the future incarnation of the band. It's nice to hear another perspective on the events though, and his writing style is very readable and entertaining.  Roll on Volume 2 nest year.

4 out of 5 packets of John Player's No.6.

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #122 on: May 31, 2019, 10:58:56 AM »
Went to see Stephen Morris' book tour in Liverpool tonight ...

Ooh, this sounds good.

... being interviewed by Dave Haslam

Oh shit.


Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #123 on: May 31, 2019, 11:02:16 AM »
Steve Morris has always seemed the most amiable member of JD/NO. He did a brief Q/A with Hooky after a screening of the Joy Division documentary* at the Lowry way back in 2007 and came across very well with a decent sense of comic timing too. Good review, Buzby - still kicking myself for missing out on his talk at the Dancehouse in Manchester.

*Due to a protracted series of circumstances, I was sat behind Hooky and his mam, next to Wilson's first wife and in front of Alan Hempsall from Crispy Ambulence. Morris was asked what his favourite fruit was, and replied "I've always been partial to a melon".

Bennett Brauer

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #124 on: May 31, 2019, 11:40:43 AM »
FUN FACT: Pub Landlord Al Murray* makes Morris's drums.


*  's company

imitationleather

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #125 on: May 31, 2019, 04:39:10 PM »
Interesting review buzby. I've always wanted a Morris autobiography as I've found him the funniest and probably cleverest member. The books published so far have probably reflected the personality of those writing them quite well, which hasn't always been a positive thing. While I liked the parts about growing up in Sumner's book, I was just mystified by how superficial it was once he got to actually being in the bands. He surely has a goldmine of stuff to write about, but the entire thing seemed to hang on a few anecdotes about him having stomach complaints. Hooky's books, of course, just get increasingly and suffocatingly bitter.

Shall definitely be picking Morris's up.

Blue Jam

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #126 on: June 15, 2019, 03:56:27 PM »
I've been meaning to read Marilyn Manson's The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell for ages. Apparently it's all made-up bullshit, but highly entertaining made-up bullshit. Would it be good holiday reading?

iamcoop

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Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #127 on: July 02, 2019, 12:12:09 PM »
I've been meaning to read Marilyn Manson's The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell for ages. Apparently it's all made-up bullshit, but highly entertaining made-up bullshit. Would it be good holiday reading?

I haven’t read it for years but my overriding memory of it is that the first half of the book where he discusses his upbringing and high school years is excellent. Manson is clearly very intelligent and actually started his career trying to get into journalism so he has decent writing chops. The stuff about the relationship he has with his grandparents in particular is pretty disturbing and bleak.

The second half of the book that chronicles his rockstar days just descends into your typical salacious drug taking and groupie-fucking stuff which I probably enjoyed as a 15 year old but would now find extremely tiresome.

It came out a year before Columbine happened so I would be interested in another volume from him that really goes into detail about how that affected him and all the baggage that came along with it but I’d suggest that’s extremely unlikely.

But yeah, it would probably make a fine holiday book given it’s mostly very entertaining and you can burn through it in a couple of days.

Re: Band Biographies
« Reply #128 on: July 21, 2019, 11:18:00 AM »
My copy of Spirit of Talk Talk arrived yesterday and while it was lovely to see rare pictures of Mark Hollis smiling, it seemed a bit light.  The new preface by Simon Brenner and the section devoted to James Marsh's artwork were frustrating only because they gave me hope that more wonderful behind-the-scenes details may be unearthed by others, but I may end reading up the bits about the Talk Talk sessions in Phill Brown's book more often than this book.  It is nicely put together and at least it seemed that Hollis was very humble and gracious about the previous editions.

The Lol Tolhurst book mentioned on the last page was fascinating, but only up until 82-83 before becoming an endless scroll of "recorded an album, got fucked up, went on tour, got fucked up."  The chapters about growing up in Crawley, getting some kip in the mental hospital's vegetable patch and all the early years were great.  Despite what someone said about wishing this book was written when Lol and Bob were still enemies, I am glad that Lmao Tolhurst wrote it later because I was cringing throughout the chapters regarding the lawsuit.

My Damage by Keith Morris was the best read out of them all.  He was the best Black Flag vocalist (IMO) and while I'm not keen on listening to the Circle Jerks, the Off! stuff is great and he always struck me as someone who was a natural storyteller.  He admits that he was a coked-up piss artist up until his mid 30s, but he's gained a lot of humility and he's not afraid to combine bleak shit with funny shit throughout.  Recommended.