Home' Rhythms Magazine : 2017 Jul-Aug Contents 40 Rhythms
gEnE cLaRk – NO OTHER (1974)
Renowned as the heaven’s Gate of
rock and roll, No Other was seen as
a momentum failure for both ex-
Byrd Gene Clark and David Geffen’s
Asylum label, rumoured to have cost
in excess of $100,000. Since that time,
No Other has been re-evaluated as
the apex of Gene Clark’s stellar solo
career. In 2014, Pecknold joined an
indie supergroup involving members
of Beach House, Grizzly Bear, Fairport
Convention and the Walkmen to
present No Other live. Pecknold sang
two numbers, existential album opener
‘Life’s Greatest Fool’ and the mystic
showstopper, ‘Strength Of Strings’.
Pecknold says: “Gene Clark’s got
a great voice and a great sense
of melody. No Other has a lot of
overblown arrangements that are
kinda charming. I guess it does relate
to Crack-Up, in a certain sense. That
was in my mind, thinking about
Gene Clark and certain songs of his.
I think there’s an occasion grandeur
to this album that is, hopefully, less
overblown than Gene Clark’s variant.
Maybe Crack-Up is a cousin of No
van DykE PaRkS – SONG CYCLE
In 1966, musical maverick Van Dyke
Parks was co-writing with Brian
Wilson for The Beach Boys’ fabled
‘lost’ album, Smile. Together they
penned songs like ‘Surf’s Up’, ‘Heroes
And Villains’ and ‘Cabinessence’.
Asked if Crack-Up is the Fleet Foxes’
Smile (albeit one that will be released
on time), Pecknold concedes it
might be closer to Van Dyke Parks’
audacious ’67 debut solo album, Song
Pecknold says: “On Song Cycle,
Van Dyke Parks doesn’t stay on one
idea for too long. There’s a surfeit of
ideas. There’s an athleticism to the
arrangements and the transitions and
the contrasts at play.”
aRThuR RuSSELL – CLOSE MY
The way Robin Pecknold sees it,
Arthur Russell is something of a
Renaissance man – an artist unafraid
to veer across the musical map.
Russell was equally at home singing
cowboy campfire tunes as he was
writing disco tunes for Manhattan’s
Studio 54 dancefloor. Pecknold is fan
of the country waltz, ‘Close My Eyes’,
from the 1973 Columbia sessions
recorded by the legendary John
Hammond and included on the 2008
compilation, Love Is Overtaking Me.
Pecknold says: “I feel like the music
I was listening to and the music that
was inspiring me doesn’t really sound
like the record and was inspiring for
another reason. Something like Arthur
Russell. Maybe certain parts of Crack-
Up have that character.”
Even going back to school, that made me laugh because it
seemed like the opposite of what I should do. Sometimes I’ll
get on these contrarian streaks where I think I’m being very
subversive but I’m actually not. I’m just doing normal stuff. I
mean, a nine-minute song is pretty normal.
I just asked this of Peter Perrett from The Only Ones
yesterday – but, are you more of a shit stirrer or a
I don’t like contrarian. Being a contrarian is giving the other
person all the power. Actually, I would say that about both
of them. Both shit stirrers and contrarians care too much
about what other people think.
What is the better song – The Bee Gees’ ‘First Of May’ or
the Fleet Foxes’ ‘Third Of May’?
[Laughs] I didn’t even know they had a song called the ‘First
Of May’ until recently. I probably have heard the song but
I didn’t know it was called that. And, it’s probably a better
song than ‘Third Of May’. Can I ask you a question: we’re
actually doing a Bee Gees’ cover in the set, is that too on the
nose to do in Australia? It was fine in the States, but...
It’s absolutely fine. We hold onto them as tight as
Manchester, the Isle of Man and Miami hold onto them.
[Laughs] We’re playing ‘In The Morning Of My Life’.
That’s interesting. I saw that was on a setlist and I was
going to ask, what’s the better song – The Bee Gees’ ‘In
The Morning’ or your ‘In The Morning’?
We don’t have a song called ‘In The Morning’ but we do
have a song where I say that a few times called ‘The Shrine’.
But ‘The Shrine’ is probably, again, not as good as The Bee
They’re both good songs. Barry Gibb did write his when
he was 18.
Let’s call it a tie.
hanDLE wiTh caRE:
A CRACk-UP BREAk-DOWN.
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