Nearly a quarter of a century ago, I left my little house in Exeter and rushed into town to buy Roger Waters' album 'Amused to Death' on the day it was released. I bought it, and then excitedly rushed home again. And you know what? I hated it, and even now - although I have mellowed to it - I think it is massively overrated, bombastic, and although the bombast is something that has been in Waters' music for a long time, in 'Amused to Death' it was often counterpointed with schoolboy sarcasm which in a man of his age was just embarrassing. The worst offender was a cod-C&W song about Tiananmen Square which irritates me to this day.
So, today, with the release of his first album of new rock material since then, I was not over-optimistic. The three songs he had released as tasters were OK, but nothing to get excited about. And the reviews I have read were not exactly positive either. However , I was still childishly excited at the prospect of being able to find out what the old bugger’s new record was like. And guess what…
I REALLY LIKE IT
Unusually for a Waters album there is no bombast. Indeed the absence of his big cinematic reverb is the most notable aspect of the sound of this record. The drums even sound, in some places, as if they are from a hiphop record. (That is a good thing, by the way).
Producer Nigel Godrich has crafted an oddly confessional sound which is totally 2017, although one suspects many of the people who will buy this record have their mind set back in the 1970s. At least that is what other reviewers have suggested, and those reviewers have implied that such Pink Floyd fans will only listen to this record a handful of times. Just on a couple of listens this record is one of my favourites of the year so far, and — and I realise that I am going out on a limb here — might even be the best of his four solo albums.
The word-play is clever, and the musicianship is beautifully understated. And the three songs that I had heard individually work so much better within the context of the album as a whole. It revisits many of the themes of previous albums, but never becomes mawkish. And the orchestration, for the first time ever on a Waters album, and possibly even on a Pink Floyd album post Atom Heart Mother is subtle, tasteful and adds to the overall feel rather than compounding the bombast.
Good show Rog!
And now, here is the news:
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COMING THIS WEEKEND
Gonzo Magazine #235
THE OLD SCHOOL DANCE GOES ON FOREVER ISSUE
We ponder the horrific events of last Monday, Jon waxes lyrical about Wreckless Eric, John goes to see Ryley Walker, Alan isbeing Green in Denmark, Graham talks about Hawkwind, and Corinna is as groovy as ever.
And listen up Kiddies: It’s all free!
And there are radio shows from Mack Maloney, Friday Night Progressive,and Strange Fruit. We also have columns from all sorts of folk including Roy Weard, Mr Biffo, Neil Nixon and the irrepressible Corinna. There is also a collection of more news, reviews, views, interviews and pademelons outside zoos (OK, nothing to do with small marsupials who have escaped from captivity, but I got carried away with things that rhymed with OOOOS) than you can shake a stick at. And the best part is IT's ABSOLUTELY FREE!!!
This issue features:
Wreckless Eric, The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast, Ariana Grande, Yes, Rick Wakeman, Strange Fruit, Friday Night Progressive, Mack Maloney's Mystery Hour, Sir Roger George Moore, KBE, Granville William "Mickey" Roker, Kenneth Cordray, Jimmy LaFaye, Paul Blake "Frankie Paul", George Reiff, Kid Vinil, Mary Hopkin, This Misery Garden, Martin Stephenson and The Daintees, Ashton, Gardner and Dyke, Jeremy Smith, The Doctors of Madness, Alan Dearling, Hyldemor/Hyldest, Skousen & Ingemann, Christiania, John Brodie-Good, Ryley Walker & Band, Kev Rowland, Oliver Lake & The Flux Quartet, Orange Clocks, Perspire, The Phans, Rog Patterson, Ronald Murphy, Mr Biffo, Roy Weard, Hawkwind, Xtul, Martin Springett, Elvis, Pete Doherty, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Neil Nixon, Dick Dale
Read the previous few issues of Gonzo Weekly:
Issue 234 (Jon Anderson)
Issue 234 (Al Atkins)
Issue 233 (Richard Strange)
Issue 232 (Roy Weard)
Issue 231 (Allan Holdsworth)
Issue 230 (Curtis Womack)
Issue 229 (Larry Wallis)
Issue 228 (Space Pharoahs)
Issue 227 (Chuck Berry)
Issue 225-6 (The Rites of Spring)
Issue 224 (Hibernal)
Issue 223 (Beatles)
Issue 222 (Cruise to the Edge)
Issue 221 (Deke Leonard)
Issue 220 (Larry Wallis)
Issue 219 (Martin Stone)
Issue 218 (Mark Reiser tribute)
All issues from #70 can be downloaded at www.gonzoweekly.com if you prefer. If you have problems downloading, just email me and I will add you to the Gonzo Weekly dropbox. The first 69 issues are archived there as well. Information is power chaps, we have to share it!
You can download the magazine in pdf form HERE:
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* The Gonzo Daily is - as the name implies - a daily online magazine (mostly) about artists connected to the Gonzo Multimedia group of companies. But it also has other stuff as and when the editor feels like it. The same team also do a weekly newsletter called - imaginatively - The Gonzo Weekly. Find out about it at this link: www.gonzo-multimedia.blogspot.co.uk
* We should probably mention here, that some of our posts are links to things we have found on the internet that we think are of interest. We are not responsible for spelling or factual errors in other people's websites. Honest guv!
* Jon Downes, the Editor of all these ventures (and several others) is an old hippy of 57 who - together with a Jack Russell called Archie, an infantile orange cat named after a song by Frank Zappa, and two half grown kittens, one totally coincidentally named after one of the Manson Family, purely because she squeaks, puts it all together from a converted potato shed in a tumbledown cottage deep in rural Devon which he shares with various fish. He is ably assisted by his lovely wife Corinna, his bulldog/boxer Prudence, his elderly mother-in-law, and a motley collection of social malcontents. Plus.. did we mention Archie and the Cats?