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Thursday 6 April 2023


Today would have been Andrew Weatherall's 60th birthday. His absence is felt very strongly among his family and friends and in the corners of the culture he inhabited. His presence is there too I think, in the open minded spirit of adventure, of finding new music and doing things your own way. Fired up by youthful rebellion, the DIY spirit of punk and acid house and an interest, often obsession, in what was happening on the margins, he was a singular character. In the end, by the time he died in February 2020, he was approaching national treasure status. At the start he was an inexperienced DJ asked to bring his box of 'weird records' down to Shoom. Then he was a novice remixer asked to make something new from an indie rock 'n' roll record (in fact his remixes of Happy Mondays and That Petrol Emotion both pre- date Loaded, as do his remixes Word Of Mouth, Deep Joy and West India Company- the chronology is not entirely clear but all those were released before Loaded). In between 1989 and 2020 he took us on a ride from the Balearic network to techno, from Sabres to Swordsmen, from deep house to rockabilly and 60s garage to the multi- coloured cosmic chug of the 2010s, all of it underpinned by dub. He moved on, working quickly and always looking forwards. The way he became a master in not just one form of electronic music but several is largely unparalleled- not many of his peers could play several hours of dub one night, techno the next and house the third and do it well, brilliantly in fact. 

With Andrew you weren't just buying records either, you were getting into something deeper- he left clues scattered throughout his back catalogue, in song titles and remix names, references to books and artists that you might not pick up on until many years later. You also were not just buying a record. In 2007 he released Wrong Meeting, an album of rockabilly, garage rock and experimental rock 'n' roll with the man himself singing. The album came out on vinyl (at a time when virtually no one was buying vinyl never mind releasing new albums on it), in a box with an illustrated lyric booklet, a t- shirt and a hand signed print (a print of a Weatherall linocut of guitarist Chet Atkins from the cover of his Workshop album). 

There are a series of events taking place during April to celebrate his 60th birthday. Tonight at Fabric in London a host of names will play records/ CDs in several rooms, starting at 11pm and going through until dawn- David Holmes, Daniel Avery, Sean Johnston, Dave Congreave, Adrian Sherwood, Miss Kittin, Fantastic Twin, Radioactive Man, Ivan Smagghe, Manfredas, Optimo and Fi Maguire will all play to rooms full of friends and fans, trying to capture something of the spirit of the man in music. 

Later on this month, in a turn of events which still baffles me at times, I will be part of the birthday celebrations at The Golden Lion in Todmorden. On the Saturday afternoon and evening myself and four other fans/ DJs (Martin, Mark, Dan and Baz) will play support to Timothy J. Fairplay and Justin Robertson as The Flightpath Estate DJs. This blog and my repeated writing about Andrew Weatherall and his music led to this- I like to think in some way reflecting the spirit of Andrew, do what you want to do, create something you love, do it yourself. 

I've put together a mix of songs inspired by Andrew for today. There's so much variety in his life and work you could put together ten mixes and only scratch the surface. His radio shows at 6 Mix and NTS, his Music's Not For Everyone banner that took in goth, garage, rockabilly, 80s indie, cosmic blues and country, rock 'n' roll and punk, where endlessly inspiring and I've tried to reflect some of that in the hour of songs below with one of his songs in the middle. 

AW60 Mix

  • The Triffids: Wide Open Road
  • Chuck Prophet: Play That Song Again
  • Forest Fire: In Shadows
  • Grant Hart: You're The Reflection Of The Moon On The Water
  • The Dream Syndicate: John Coltrane Stereo Blues
  • Dennis Wilson: Carry Me Home
  • The Replacements: Sadly Beautiful
  • Two Lone Swordsmen: Get Out Of My Kingdom (Demo)
  • Rowland S. Howard: She Cried
  • White Williams: Route To Palm
  • Rose City Band: In The Rain
  • The Jesus And Mary Chain: Darklands
  • Cowboys International: The 'No' Tune

Wide Open Road was on The Triffids' 1986 album Born Sandy Devotional, an album widely seen as the band's masterpiece. The song is on Andrew's The Black Notebooks YouTube playlists, Volume One of which you can find here. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. You'll find plenty in there to keep you going. 

Chuck Prophet was the guitarist in US roots rockers Green On Red. His solo career included a 2012 album called Temple Beautiful and this song is built around a cracking guitar riff and a load of good one liners- 'You go fight the power/ I'm fighting off a cold'. Andrew played it on one of his Music's Not For Everyone radio shows for NTS that year, a series that were a monthly treat and are missed beyond words, his voice, his wry sense of humour and his song selection. 

Forest Fire were an experimental rock band from New York whose second album Staring At The X came out in 2011. The song here, In Shadows, is superb and much played in my house. The way the rhythms, FXed guitars and vocals merge into one rush of sound hits me every time. Andrew played it on his third Music's Not For Everyone in 2011. 

Grant Hart, ex- Husker Du drummer and solo artist, features in Andrew's Black Notebooks and radio mixes. You're The Reflection Of The Moon On The Water is a blistering wall of guitars and drums with words inspired by the sayings of the Buddha and came out in 2009. Andrew played it while at 6 Mix in March 2010, a show he did with Fuck Buttons as guests. 

The Dream Syndicate's John Coltrane Stereo Blues is an eight minute epic, from their 1984 album Medicine Show. Andrew played it memorably while doing a MNFE set at Terraforma, a music festival held in Italy, in 2017. The fifty minute film of him DJing in sunglasses and 1940s work clothes to a crowd of young, beautifully lit Italians is here. The song appears alongside Fujiya and Miyagi and Moon Duo, sequencing only Andrew would attempt. 'I got some John Coltrane on the stereo baby/ Make you feel alright/ I got some white wine in the freezer mama/ I know what you like/ We gonna learn about love on a three ply rug'

Dennis Wilson's Carry Me Home was recorded in 1973 but didn't make it onto Holland, The Beach Boys album of that year. It is a broken, beautiful funeral blues for a soldier dying in Vietnam. Andrew produced Primal Scream's cover on their 1992 Dixie- Narco EP, ably assisted by Hugo Nicolson. 

Sadly Beautiful is a Paul Westerberg song from The Replacements' 1990 album All Shook Down, a song he wrote with Marianne Faithful in mind. She was supposed to sing it but that never happened so Paul recorded it for All Shook Down instead. By 1990 The Replacements were to all intents and purposes a Paul Westerberg solo project although Tommy Stimson plays bass on much of the record. Sadly Beautiful shows up in Andrew's Black Notebooks and on various tapes he made for friends in the early 90s along with songs from the previous Replacements album, 1989's Don't Tell A Soul. That album is not the group's best, marred by a glossy radio friendly production but some of the songs are classic Westerberg, Achin' To Be, Rock 'n' Roll Ghost and We'll Inherit The Earth among them. Talent Show is a song I've had a weird soft spot for for thirty- five years. 

Get Out Of My Kingdom was perhaps the pinnacle of the final incarnation of Two Lone Swordsmen, the live band, garage/ rock 'n' roll, Andrew on vocals version of the band. I saw them play at Sankey's Soap in 2008 supporting the Wrong Meeting album, the full live band tearing it up in a corner of the club. Sankey's was once the only thing you'd head into Ancoats for, a maze of streets and dilapidated buildings north of city centre Manchester. Andrew commented once that artists are the vanguard of gentrification. Now Ancoats is the place to live/ work/ socialise.

She Cried was on Rowland S. Howard's Teenage Snuff Film, a 1999 album. The former Birthday Party/ Bad Seed was joined by Mick Harvey. They covered Billy Idol's White Wedding on the album. She Cried is itself a cover of a 1961 melodrama single by Teddy Daryll and has been covered by others including Johnny Thunders, Del Shannon and David Hasselhoff (insert your own joke here). The Horrors also borrowed from it on Who Can Say in 2009. She Cried is in Andrew's Black Notebooks playlists. 

Route To Palm is by White Williams, a song that somehow combines both rockabilly and krautrock and is therefore perfectly Weatherall. White Williams is from New York and released the album Smoke in 2008 (on Domino). Andrew played it on his 2009 6 Mix, a legendary show in the Bagging Area which took in Wayne Walker, La Dusseldorf, Andrew's remix of Primal Scream's Uptown, The Glitter Band, his remix of David Holmes' I Heard Wonders and much more besides. Route To Palm turned up on FACT Mix 85 too. 

Rose City Band is one of three groups headed by cosmic guitarist/ singer Ripley Johnson- Wooden Shjips and Moon Duo are the other two. Ripley's music is all over Andrew's radio shows. In The Rain was played on Music's Not For Everyone in 2019. 

Darklands was the title track on The Jesus And Mary Chain's 1987 album and has been selected by Andrew on various occasions- when on tour in Australia and asked to compile his formative influences in 2018 and in an internet article called Five Songs For The End Of The World (or similar) which I can't find right now. 

The 'No' Tune was on a 1979 album by Cowboys International called The Original Sin, a band that included Keith Levene, Terry Chimes and Marco Pirroni in its number. The 'No' Tune was the theme to Andrew's Music's Not For Everyone shows, the chiming guitar line announcing the start of two hours of adventure, two hours of Andrew's Gnostic Sonics. As the guitar notes faded, The 'No' Tune's space lullaby would be replaced by Andrew's voice. 'Huddle round your devices, don your ceremonial robes and headgear...', he would advise, and we'd be off into new territory, music from the past and present sewn together in ways only he could do. 

As such, rather than have the two minutes and forty seconds of The 'No' Tune as an ending, in the spirit of Andrew it should be a beginning, the gateway to music new. Go and find something new today, something from the margins, the edges, the sidelines- and when you do, raise a glass to the man. Happy 60th birthday Andrew.  


Anonymous said...

Just looked at the tag list on the right there, this is the 630th mention. Make note Keepingitpeel !

Adam Turner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adam Turner said...

I'm quoted in an article in the Guardian today too

Adam Turner said...


Anonymous said...

Firstly anyone who is quoted in the Guardian in a positive way is automatically on the guest list for any future parties I may host.
Secondly how good does that Fabric event sound.
And thirdly on the same bill as Justin Robertson. Wow. Good work.

keepingitpeel said...

Who's this now ? Oh right.


*fetches pen*

Fat Lizzie said...

That's an exceptional list of names. Look forward to absorbing it all on a nice long river walk over the weekend. Thanks Adam.

Walter said...

Another great job, Adam. Anything that was featured by Lord Sabre is fantastic for me. The longer I think about his passing away the more I miss him, his inspirations he gave me for very long years. His heritage was taken over by various DJ's but his level is high and will never be reached. As I said - I miss him.

Swiss Adam said...

Thanks all, been quite a day in a way. Getting updates from Fabric. Sounds like it will be quite the night.

Khayem said...

Superb post and mix, Adam. I saw The Guardian piece yesterday before I'd read this post and your comment/link and a big smile cracked my face when I saw your name and quote. I raised a glass to Lord Sabre last night and another for your upcoming DJ set at The Golden Lion. It's going to be pretty awesome, wish I could be there.

JC said...

That book I mentioned...........?????????

Brilliant stuff, mate. Just reward for all your love and dedication.

blureu said...

First time hearing In The Rain. It was just what I needed. Thanks for including.