June 03, 2003

To run away from you, is all that I can do

It's a regular 80's fest on Vh-1 Classics. I mean good stuff -- old XTC videos, Big Country (I was much more upset at Stuart Adamson's suicide than that of Michael Hutchence's -- see, I never got to see Big Country in concert, and now I never will.) Earlier today they played some good nineties stuff too -- though this might actually have been on MTV instead. (I get all the video channels mixed up.) They played My Bloody Valentine's "Only Shallow," and then "Fight the Power," by... heck, I forget the name of that rap band. The one with the guy wearing the giant plastic clock. I had a thought, watching it: how tastefully and almost conservatively everyone in the video was dressed.* Sure, they seemed to have filmed it in Harlem in November, so of course everyone was wearing big winter coats, but am I the only person who remembers that brief span of years in the previous decade when the 80s had calmed down yet fashion still had a little of that "I love a man in a uniform" look? Now all the people in videos look like they were either attacked by a crowd of mad tattooists or were caught in a multicolored spandex tornado.

*Yes, even clock-wearing guy seemed toned-down compared to some of the out-there freaks on music videos today. I can't remember his name either.

Posted by Andrea Harris at June 3, 2003 10:49 PM

Man! You just bummed my day. I had no idea Stuart Adamson had offed himself! When? I was a huge BC fan. The jangling guitars and the killer bass-drum combo were much better than people gave them credit for. Geez. Thanks for raining on the parade, Andrea.

Oh, yeah, and the guy with the clock was Flavor Flav, and the band was Public Enemy:


Posted by: bryan at June 3, 2003 at 11:13 PM

I LOOOOOOOOVED Stuart Adamsons voice!!! "Wonderland" is my favorite song, and I always thought he was underappreciated here in the states...even if he was a Greenpeacenik. If you have a chance, try to get a hold of an album he did when he moved to Memphis Tennessee. He was trying to start up a career in country and western using Scottish influences...well, actually harkening back to Scottish roots....but he formed a team with Marcus Hummon called "The Raphaels". It was an okay album. Marcus wrote a lot of the songs that big names in C&W...unfortunately that includes the Blixie Chix, but its a bit unusual for country.

Anyway, the album is called "Supernatural."

There was always something in Adamson's voice that stirred me. Must be Scotland calling.

Posted by: Sharon Ferguson at June 3, 2003 at 11:39 PM

Andrea, dammit, I had no idea he'd killed himself. Waaaaaahhhhh!!

Posted by: Sekimori at June 3, 2003 at 11:44 PM

I have the little snippet that my mother gave me because she knew I had loved that band. He had disappeared from his home in Memphis, ostensibly to go out for a cup of coffee or to meet with friends, and never came back...there were sightings in Georgia, I believe, of him in a bar, but the next time they found him, he had hung himself in a hotel room in Hawaii. He had long been fighting alcoholism and had been in remission for some time when he came to the States, but starting a new career in a brand new music field was stressful for him.

I remember all of this because I was a forum member set up by those closely affiliated with Big Country's band.

Posted by: Sharon Ferguson at June 3, 2003 at 11:51 PM

Dang. I thought everyone knew... it was sometime last year, wasn't it? Sorry guys. :(

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 4, 2003 at 01:04 AM

Wow memories...I still have Big Country's first album (on vinyl). I played it to death back in the day. (Note to self: put CD version on Amazon wish list.) I heard about Stuart Adamson's suicide back when it happened...so sad.

I probably haven't listed to that My Bloody Valentine CD in ten years. I'll have to dig that one out of my collection and give it a listen.

Posted by: susan b. at June 4, 2003 at 01:05 AM

Andrea, your "multicolored spandex tornado" absolutely made my day. I'm thinking of how to wedge it into a short story.

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at June 4, 2003 at 08:46 AM

I am just amazed you actually saw some videos, everytime I turn to MTV and VH1 its either some reality show with a bunch of college kids or some behind the Music/Michael Jackson thing. I liked Big Country, thier amazing drummer and base player worked on Pete Townshends Empty Glass and Chinese Eye albums, They are/were quite good. Of course I am having my 80's flashback next tuesday when I am going to see Maria Mckee. She has a new album which is pretty good.

Posted by: kevin at June 4, 2003 at 11:23 AM

Well, I was watching Vh-1 "Classics," which is an extra music channel they've shunted their videos off to (like MTV2), and is only obtainable through satellite tv or digital cable. Not all cable companies carry it. Regular Vh-1 has been doing nothing but "celebrity weddings" and things like that, and on MTV it's been an "MTV Cribs," "Jackass" fest. Ugh.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 4, 2003 at 11:35 AM

As I carefully re read your post, you make it obvious that it was VH1 - classics. Since I don't have digital cable, its not available. I do have MTV2 - and i watch occasionally - but I don't have as much free time anymore - still liked Big country though

Posted by: kevin at June 4, 2003 at 12:18 PM

My Bloody Valentine swoon

I wish Kev Shields had done a followup...

Posted by: David Ross at June 4, 2003 at 12:20 PM

Always liked Big Country, not least for their rock bagpipes. (Yes, I like bagpipes so sue me.) It too was much more bummed we he killed himself than either Hutchence (overrated wanker/wife stealler etc wtc) or Cobain (over-rated total a-hole).

Posted by: Andrew Ian Castel-Dodge at June 4, 2003 at 09:24 PM

Andrea, I need my eyes checked. First time I read this post I didn't see the "L" in "clock."

Or is my mind just in the gutter again?

Posted by: McGehee at June 5, 2003 at 06:56 AM

THere should be a sizable repository of old school rap by now, before the New York and LA independent record labels got sucked in to Sony and EMI and rap was marketed directly to 13 year olds. Public Enemy, Tribe Called Quest, De la Soul, EPMD, Jungle Brothers, Boogie Down Productions, even old NWA seems like Mozart in comparison to Jay-Z or 50 Cent.

Great, I've done it. I've become an old fogey about rap. Hopefully, VH1 Classic can devote an hour or two a day to rap/soul/new jack swing of the 80s/early 90s.

Posted by: Norbizness at June 5, 2003 at 10:05 AM

Wow, I knew that about Adamson, but had somehow forgotten. I was just listening to the first Big Country album on vinyl, like, two weeks ago.

Little known fact: Before forming Big Country, rhythm section Mark Brzezicki and Tony Butler had hits as backers for Pete Townsend on "Let My Love Open The Door" and "Slit Skirts."

Posted by: Phil at June 5, 2003 at 01:06 PM