Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Go-Betweens Say

For fans of The Go-Betweens – and why else would you be reading this? – this site has stacks of interviews with the band spanning the period 1982-97 (a rather arbitary period, I agree, but there’s plenty of information and I for one am very glad it’s been collected).

It’s part of a larger site, which explores Australian punk and postpunk, as well as later, sadly unsung acts The Lighthouse Keepers and The Widdershins.

For those high-fliers among you – and believe me, I know this blog’s demographic – with demanding city jobs and no ‘me-time’, I have selflessly pulled some highlights from the Go-Betweens interviews.

They used to say dumb things, you know, and also some very wise words:

"God, we’re not a fashion band, just look at us!" exclaims Go-Betweens’ bass player Grant McLennan pointing at himself, drummer Lindy Morrison and guitarist Robert Forster who’s wearing a mohair-trimmed jumper while outside a scorching heat beats down from the mid autumn sun.

"I don't think they [The Smiths] ever made a whole good album, but they made their fans think they could never happen again…they are not any better than the Go-Betweens or Belle and Sebastian." (GM)

“We wanted to use Joe Boyd (Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson, REM) for Before Hollywood in 1982 when we were on Rough Trade, but at that stage he wasn’t making rock records. We wanted to work with John Cale for Spring Hill Fair but he was too expensive.” (GM)

"I don’t have any influences. I exist completely on my own. And it’s ever-increasing. I think it’s the same with Grant – we just exist: completely within our own genre. We’re completely self perpetuating." (RF)

“As an album [Before Hollywood] that really got close to a definitive sound for a certain period. It’s great because there’s very few records that do that.
I’m not comparing the album, but Marquee Moon by Television does that; a statement of a band, of intent, an unmistakable mood. Like Highway 61, early Creedence records, The Doors’ first album, Revolver. They’re albums which come close to defining (something).” (GM)

Describe to me the typical Go-Betweens fan?
Lindy: "German, male, between 20 and 26, earnest."
Grant: "Female, heavily into Sylvia Plath, could have played hockey with the Australian Olympic squad but gave it up. And called Mirabelle."
John: "A young man who’s just been jilted for the first time."

"I know that our dear friend Roddy Frame called his last LP Love, but I maintain that the Go-Betweens write about love better than anybody else in the world." (GM)

"The sun isn’t a problem in Australia any more," adds Robert, enlivened, “because they’ve developed these creams ranging from one to 15. So with 15 it’s virtually paint and if keeps out the sun. Now if someone like the Egyptians had had this cream, the pyramids might not have been built. Perhaps if they’d had this stuff they’d have looked like Swedish people!" (RF)

"It’s the sort of thing where you trek up half of Tibet, searching for the man with all the answers. You sit down and ask him the meaning of life, and he says ‘It doesn’t matter how far you we come, you’ve always got further to go.’ I would say, ‘What the fuck are you talking about?’ I’d probably slap him around a little bit, go to a nearby bar, have a drink." (RF)

“Looking back and seeing that none of it is charted, a lot of people would say that's unsuccessful. But 'Marquee Moon' sold nothing, and I know much I still enjoy listening to Television. It doesn't really matter. To me the things I like, and that a lot of my friends like, are the things that maybe have fallen under the floorboards a bit. Our music was never connected with any kind of movement. There's a guilelessness to our music which I'm happy with." (GM)

Grant:"We all love Wired for Sound by Cliff Richard. It’s just such a happy song.”

What's your favourite Robert Forster song?
“There are so many! I'll just say at the moment — 'Rock & Roll Friend'. But then I could go back to 'People Say', the second single, which is a fantastic piece of pop music, or 'Karen' — a great individual slice of liberation of R&B. Then I could go through every album...I enjoy all his songs." (GM)

What your favourite Grant McLennan song?
"I really like 'Love Goes On'. There's nine chords in a row, which he doesn't repeat. It's so him. A lot of his best songs are on '16 Lovers Lane'. And 'Cattle & Cane' is a really good song. It was like 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' or something — a quantum leap, a break-through song." (RF)


ally. said...

thankyou - this is marvelous.

FireEscape said...

Glad you enjoyed it. You did, some time back, leave a comment here about rolling 'r's in lyrics.
Neither of us remembered Karen by the Go-Betweens, where Forster sings "Brrrrecht".