Uncut July 2006 Magazine
Another article looks back at "Ceremony", New Order's first single, released in January 1981. It was one of the last songs written by Joy Division's lead singer, Ian Curtis, who had killed himself the last May.
Ian Hunter (who was in Mott the Hoople) is interviewed, as is Elvis Costello, for a page-long piece, in which he discusses his collaborations with Bono and Paul McCartney (who apparently is 64).
Paul Simon pens a guest editorial suggesting that almost all of the most famous artists in his generation have been commercially punished when they've tried to be inventive. Therefore, he says, we get in the case of the Rolling Stones, an "incredibly entertaining" act "parodying what they were" which is "what people want to see".
A photographer was allowed to document a "hard day's night on the road" of the Racanteurs' UK tour. At first blush, one might wonder, "Hey, isn't it inconsistent for the band to allow that and not allow pictures to be taken at another show? Not necessarily, "one"! First, this piece was shot at night. Is it that hard to believe any rock musicians might be "night people", let alone Jack White? The Amoeba in-store was at 11:00 AM. Second, there's a distinct possibility it's the photos in Uncut that led the boys to take a second look at their "let's allow some photography" policy. In the photos, White is rockin' the Boy George look, circa 1984. The hat, the hair, the pants that resemble pajama pants. Meanwhile, Brendan Benson sets a bad example for the kids and does his body and voice no favors either by smoking.
Bassist Jack Lawrence stands, holding some iced tea, but attention hog White, pouring his drink in an apparently showy manner makes Lawrence look down and diverts much of the photographer's attention for himself. We want more Jack! Er, the other Jack! Both are talented, but we're already getting plenty of one. Meanwhile, socially responsible drummer Patrick Keeler sends one less plastic cup to a landfill by chugging Jagermeister directly from the bottle. Nicely done! Still, he might feel his pro-environment agenda is bound to be as overlooked as Lawrence's standing-around-and-holding-iced-tea, as long as there are a couple of smoking-and-pajama-wearing-singers around. Keeler and Lawrence should totally start a side project to get the attention they deserve.
Elsehere in Uncut, Billy Bragg shares his thoughts about six of his albums (Life's A Riot With Spy Vs. Spy, Talking With The Taxman About Poetry, Workers Playtime, Don't Try This At Home, Mermaid Avenue, and England, Half English).
"I'm a love songwriter who writes political songs, not the other way round. I don't mind being labelled a political songwriter, but not being dismissed as one. The only political song here is 'Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards' which is where I say 'mixing pop and politics, they ask me what the use is?', and I shrug and say, 'You gotta try.' It's an admission that you can't change the world through singing about it, written not through disillusionment, but through honesty and weariness."
- Billy Bragg, from his comments on Workers Playtime
Billy Bragg - Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards (from Workers Playtime)
Appropriately enough the best and worst protest songs according to Uncut are listed in this issue.
The 10 Worst Protest Songs:
1. Culture Club - The War Song
2. The Beach Boys - Student Demonstration Time ("Pro-fascist bully boy pish from Surf's Up!")
3. John Lennon - Give Peace A Chance
4. Wings - Give Ireland Back To Ireland (from Wild Life)
5. Simple Minds - Belfast Child
6. Yes - Don't Kill The Whale
7. Bob Dylan - Masters Of War
8. Artists United Against Apartheid - Sun City
9. Kenney Jones - Mr Brown (You're Robbing Me)
10. George Bowyer & The Countryside Alliance - Guardians Of The Land
The 10 Best Protest Songs:
1. Edwin Starr - War
2. The Special A.K.A. - Nelson Mandela (from The Two Tone Compilation: A Checkered Past)
3. The Exploited - Beat The Bastards
4. Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young
5. The Redskins - Kick Over The Statues
6. Bob Dylan - The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll
7. Stiff Little Fingers - Suspect Device (from All The Best)
8. The Smiths - Meat Is Murder
9. Country Joe - I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag
Country Joe And The Fish - The Fish Cheer & I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag (from I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die)
10. Bruce Springsteen - Born In The USA
There's also a short list of bands named after songs, such as Sisters Of Mercy, Radiohead, and Right Said Fred.
Leonard Cohen - Sisters Of Mercy (from Greatest Hits)
Talking Heads - Radio Head (from True Stories)
Bernard Cribbins - Right Said Fred (from The Very Best of Bernard Cribbins)