I feel icy
I feel cold
I feel old
Is there something there behind me?
I feel empty
I feel dark
I am mesmerized
By my own beat
Like a heartbeat
I just ran across this totally fascinating account of the recording of Wire’s Chairs Missing, written by Mike Thorne, who was sort of a fifth member of the band, helping record and playing keyboards on the first three albums.
I had played keyboards on a few tracks on Pink Flag, but didn’t think that my contribution warranted disturbing the rock-solid coherence of the group’s sound. There is piano under Reuters as basic coloring, and more forward noises in Options R, although I listened to that track recently and couldn’t hear anything I’d done (most of it was intended to color Bruce’s or Colin’s guitars anyway) except the harmony to the bass on the descending line at the very end. So what if I was playing a cranky old RMI Electrapiano whose pedal would fall off onstage and require a short, discreet technical session with sticky tape. Wire said I should play synthesizers on the next album. I said, ‘I can’t move my fingers fast enough.’ They said, ‘If you don’t do it, we’ll get that Brian Eno in.’ I said, ‘OK.’
Dig around on their site, The Stereo Society. There are similar accounts for Pink Flag and 154 and interviews with other Wire members and other artists past and present (Captain Sensible, Glen Matlock, Lene Lovich, Hilly Kristal…) loosely affiliated with this sort of manifesto thingy on the front page:
You might think we’re throwbacks.
We keep living in that era when you listened to music with open ears. When you looked for something different and stimulating. When labels and categories and marketing didn’t matter so much as if something unusual grabbed at your ears..
The world changes. Used to be, you could make new and different music and if it worked and did it for the big wide people you’d have a hit. It worked pretty well in the old big music business structure. No longer. Let’s see if we can get something going again.
We think that music shouldn’t have convenient categories and definitions. To get filed and neutralized in some harmless corner. All it should do is just move and rattle you a bit. That’s why the music we make and sell is all over the place. We just think it works, and that’s that.
It’s like I’ve been telling you people, if you’d just listen to me.