Did I say Calvin was a living legend? I don't know about that. I think as a performer he's effortless; fearless; compelling; engaging; funny and great- which is all too rare.
ItŐs like when I first got into BH all the cats and the kitties I knew would, like, venerate some hoary old slab of rawk like Jim Morrison or something, maybe Bono- this was the eighties- Bon Jovi or some big rocking guy like that or else the indie-alternative: Morrisey or Wayne Hussey.
It was all that hero worship crapola- they'd sneer at fans of Michael Jackson, but they were feting their heroes for everything Michael was serving up to his fans: big shows; big spectacle; big record sales- it was all about bigness; importance and, oh dear, that thing rock fans all hang onto... authenticity. But that crap was no more real than Michael Jackson or Madonna or Prince, y'dig? And I just found all that rock stuff deeply suspicious
... So then I hear BH and I don't get it straight off, something clicks though because I keep going back to it, playing it, being confused by it and then I got it and all the other stuff I'm listening to (mid-80's indie) just seems sort of less potent, less mean't... BH just worked... I got into soul music because of BH, truly, I needed that same hit, that same feel...
A quote from Calvin from CCTL:
"I had a certain vision about some fearless music... music that can't be beat, music that can't be suppressed and music that isn't going to be... um... silenced".
Getting the first BH album, I don't mean buying it I mean that moment when I actually heard it and heard it for real, when I actually engaged with the record was my first PUNK ROCK moment (that was all mine and not what I'd been told was PUNK ROCK by the NME or summit- all the actual '77 Punk stuff when I was a kid was no more real to me than Marvel Comics or The Muppets- I'm not gonh lie about- who was I aged 8? the drummer from Eater? Darby Crash?)
... there's another quote by this guy Rich Jensen, I think, who's a pal of Calvin's, who said he realised PUNK ROCK wasn't just this music that killed plants... but that it was a creative force. A means of _expression: that it wasn't some formulaic 2...3...4 gobbing at your mum and dad isn't life unfair wankfest (my choice of phrase not his).
Another quote from Calvin:
"We were not consuming, we were creating. And that's a political statement in this century"
- he was referring to BH but I think as an ethos that applies to what K- the record label- is all about, it's ethos, and what many rock fans don't get. Case in point after the eighties rock fans got real and got into grunge- it's punk + metal x rock = corporate cash cow. Same thing now- punk + blues x rock = corporate cash cow. Rock fans wouldn't know a true authentic statement unless it shot itself in the head and the record company issued a commemorative cd box set, but only after they'd seen the MTV tribute weekend.
K just does what K's always done- it puts out records by friends/interested and interesting parties. A lot of K recording artistes were K fans before. I think that's how it should be. And Calvin doesn't do all this stuff on his own. K's a real pals thing, that's cool.
Anyway enough of my blather. Things Great About Calvin:
1. Danger is his business
2. K records
3. "Indian Summer" by Beat Happening
4. Everything else by Beat Happening
5. "Fuck Shit Up" by The Dub Narcotic Sound System
6. The International Pop Underground
7. The Tummy Hop
8. His Voice
9. His Handsome Face
And I ain't even mentioned the lyrics, I just dig him the most. Getting into BH sent me off in all kinds of directions, y'know, musically, politically, whatever... maybe you'll get it, something just fits. Oh, and I donŐt really have a beef about rock fans but I worked in a record shop in the late-80's/early 90's and there was always some Jeremy giving you a hard time because you haven't mastered the orthodox rock text (You don't own any Bob Dylan records? You donŐt have a copy of U2's Joshua Tree lp? What do you mean you can't appreciate the majesty of Jim Steinmann? Guns N Roses are shit? You've never made love to an Enya cd?), so fuck 'em.