Andrew Weatherall / A Personal Ongoing Musical Odyssey

It might prove impossible for this to be complete……not just down to space, time, and my dodgy memory, but also, despite Andrew`s untimely passing there are so many musical clues he left that, which for me,  have yet to be explored. 

This journey starts with the Boys Own fanzine, The Outsider, The Charts. The first issue I saw was in the autumn of 1989. Borrowed from the brother of a workmate (Hi Christian, Hi Adam), and duly Xeroxed. This sent me searching for Gary Clail`s Beef, A Song For Denise by Piano Fantasia, Fluke`s Thumper, Biting Tongues` I Surrender. A.R. Kane`s A Love From Outer Space. 

Daniel Lanois` Acadie, The Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Van Morrison`s These Are Days. In the fanzine, there was also an ad for Steve Bicknell`s Friday night party in Paddington, Kazoo. So it was off to Kazoo I went, with Jackie Scott – the only other Croydon nutcase who was up for it. The crowd was split between smartly-dressed football types, and those in crushed velvet. The Downham Tavern chaps were in. A rather scary looking gentleman took offense when he mistakenly thought I`d called him Pentonville. I hastily assured him I hadn’t. Tunes that have fused with the evening are The Beloved’s Hello – pre-release, before their Top Of The Pops action – and the “Soul II Soul” bootleg of Edie Brickell`s What I Am. I was so chuffed when Blackmarket Records said, “Yes, mate”, and produced a copy from under their counter. 

I had no way into Boys Own – really, you had to know somebody, probably still do – but Flying was the next best thing. Flying was like Boys Own`s mad younger sibling – who welcomed crazies of all creeds and colours with wide open arms. When Weatherall DJed at Flying the queue would reach to Charing Cross Road. He`d play Meat Beat Manifesto`s Radio Babylon, The End`s Exstacy Express – which to me sounded like Kraftwerk right on one – which illustrates just how off my shed I was. Andrew mixed out of Madonna’s Vogue into his rework of James` Come Home, and I hugged him when he made a dash for the loos. I did a lot of hugging between `89 and `94*. 

There was a Christmas special that me and Dave went to where the whole club held hands when Andrew played Primal Scream`s Come Together. There was the party for The Farm, at The Astoria, where Ali – whisky and orange in each paw and a smile a mile wide – shouted up at Andrew, begging him for St. Etienne`s Only Love Can Break Your Heart. 

At Flying spin-off, Gosh, Andrew would hang about with fellow ex-rock-n-roller, “tattooed” John, and then come on to close proceedings. Clearing the floor of Italian house screams and J.J. Tributes with Love Corporation`s Give Me Some Love. Bells tolling, new age choir sighing. Time standing still. Jah Wobble`s Bomba was a call to the floor for the faithful. A Homeboy, A Hippie, and A Funki Dred. For some reason I’ve got Bobby McFerrin stuck in my head. 

Then there was El Metro`s, in Hammersmith, the night after the night before. When Lofty cued-up the more “pop” version of Give Me Some Love and Andrew was out frugging with the rest of us. Now, that was a moment. 

Flying friends who lived out west, hit Full Circle on a Sunday, then called me on the Monday at work – with a list of records that Andrew had shown them, and let them jot down. Justin was too excited, reeling off names. Brian was trying to stop him, knowing that I`d have a pen and paper ready*. Gil Scott-Heron`s The Bottle, Information Society’s Running, Giorgio Morroder`s The Chase.

There was Bob Jones` Other Side night at Sav Remzi`s Red Eye in Peckham. Mags Prout`s Dreaming Stop, Groove Collision`s The L.O.V.E., and Dub Syndicate`s Ravi Shankar Part 1. 

At Solaris, on the Gray`s Inn Road, Andrew wore a skin-tight lycra Spiderman top – made for him, I think,  by Nick Coleman. Top tunes were Sway & King Tech`s Follow 4 Now, That Divine / Carol Jiani megamix, very probably Leftfield`s Not Forgotten, and Rozalla`s Everybody’s Free. “Don`t fear the cheese”, Andrew once said. There`s a radio interview – Manchester’s Kiss 102, from 1996, maybe? – where he talks about the importance of balancing education and entertainment.  

Blue Source held their Fishtique parties at Woody`s in Westbourne Park, and Weatherall maned their front room. The Fini Tribe bellowed, “Bass, can you hear me?” and we bellowed back, “Fuck me, yes we can!”

I bent his ear, raved, about Damaged, while we danced in The Milk Bar to Danny at Pure Sexy. I pestered him about where to find Chris & Cosey records while at Moist. 

The Yellow Book threw a one-off. Boys on the main floor, girls DJing in the basement. Phil Perry span Dave Lee`s mix of Symphonia, Heidi debuted DSK`s What Would We Do. Rocky did the same for Don’t Fight It, Feel It. Andrew played Dizzi Heights` Would I Find Love, perhaps for the last time. I danced with Jo. Bobby danced with Ruth. 

Primal Scream celebrated the release of Screamadelica with a gig at The Empire, Leicester Square. I ran up to Andrew and congratulated him on how well he looked, and he laughed. I`d just been ejected from the VIP room – at the request of Annie Nightingale, who said I was staring at her. To be honest I was more likely transfixed by a spec of lint. Andrew was busy earning himself the nickname “Citizen Kane”. I don’t think either of us were in the best of shape*.  He smashed Holy Ghost`s Mad Monks On Zinc into Yothu Yindi`s Treaty. Higher Than The Sun shook like an earthquake*.

There`s a quote from Andrew doing the rounds about how ecstasy flipped him from attending Psychic TV gigs to singing along to Chris Rea`s Josephine, but from here, there was a return to the dark. Two weeks later I was with Throb and Alison, at Kinky Disco, bemoaning the techno. Mundo Muzique`s Enemy Missile. DJ Hell`s My Definiton Of House Music. 

But plunge together we did all the same and the adventure continued, harder and faster, with Sabresonic at Happy Jacks. We`d go every Friday, The Lizard and me, the Lizard`s brother, and whoever we could rope-in. I`d pick up a bag of pills on the way home from work, neck one, and draw a hot bath. Then hail a call a cab over to Islington, and wait an hour while the Lizard brothers decided what to wear. They needn’t have bothered, it was like a dungeon in there, under London Bridge, on Crucifix Lane. Upturned oil drums for tables. A trance temple ov psychotropic-ed yoof: 

4Voice – Eternal Spirit; Abfahrt – Come Into My Life; Robert Armani – Circus Bells; Aubrey – Squidgy Black; Bandulu – Invaders; Baruka – Play It Loud; Joey Beltram – The Start It Up; CJ Bolland – Camargue; Capricorn – 20HZ; Dee Patten – Who`s The Bad Man; DIY – Hothead; Dub Charge – Conflict Of Drums; The Dust Brothers – Song To The Siren; Ege Bam Yasi – Variation; Funtopia – Do You Wanna Know; Hawke – Sax On Acid; Koenig Cylinders – Carousel; Orbital – The Naked And The Dead; Plastikman – Spastik; Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia – Maenad; Remy & Sven – Piano Power; Robotman – Do The Do; The Sabres & Lydon – Open Up; Secret Knowledge – Sugar Daddy; Shop – Nitwit; Smokebelch II; Trance Induction – New Age Heart Core; Underground Resistance – Astral Apache; Underworld – Rez; Vapor Space – Gravitational Arch Of 10; Sven Vath – Ritual Of Life; Paul Weller – Kosmos….Jungle at 33. Bastard Bunny girls with machine guns. 

Andrew bought me a beer – “You`re always at everything, let me buy you a drink” – and I walked around telling everyone that I was going to have the bottle bronzed. I was only joshing of course…hang on a minute, I’ve got it here. 

When Sabres moved to EC1 it`d be 4E`s Temple Traxx, Pierre’s Pfantasy Club`s Dream Girl, Armand Van Helden`s Donkey. Anything and everything on Chicago`s Relief. 

There was that time they were updating their mailing list. All you had to do was write down your name and address. I`d taken something, fuck knows what, but it was strong, and at loss during the warm-up, impatient, I figured I`d sort out my membership. Andrew, Dean, and Nina – who appeared to be wrapped in a dress made from a silk Stars & Stripes – were sat at desk and they looked on in disbelief as, instead of neatly printing my details, I scribbled wildly across the address sheet. To be honest, I was also gaping in disbelief. Without saying anything I walked over to The Lizard – who was randomly licking and smacking his lips. “Mate, you need to go and get a new membership”, and pointed the way. I watched him walk to the desk and bark gibberish at the 3 of them – horror in his own eyes – as they fell about in fits. I`m laughing now. It was fucking funny. The more he tried to explain, the more nonsense came out, and the more horrified he looked. Barking, gesticulating too, he was. When he came back, I pretended not to have noticed. 

“How`d it go?”

I once fell asleep outside EC1. Upright with my head pressed against a lamp post. 

At The Heavenly Social I remember sitars. The Dave Pike Set`s Mathar and Ananda Shankar`s Jumping Jack Flash. Suddenly coming to on the dance floor and there was Kevin Rowland – looking just as shocked as I was. At a Red Snapper gig in Camden`s Dingwalls I propped up the bar with Jamie from White Noise, and Richard D. James, while Andrew played an amazing funk set. I couldn’t tell you what any of it was but I`d put money on most of it being purchased from Soft Rocks` Chris Galloway. 

Throughout all this there were print interviews and play-lists, Top 10s, Club 5s and Yard 5s. K. Earning Andrew the unwanted press prefix of “ubiquitous”. Alexi`s Sado Drums, the nyabinghi of Count Ossie`s No Night In Zion. Bowery Electric`s Electrosleep, Steve Jesse Bernstein`s Morning In The Sub-Basement Of Hell, Justin Warfield`s Live From The Opium Den. The Brotherhood`s I Might Smoke A Spliff But I Won’t Sniff. Sinead O`Connor`s Heroine. 

There were radio shows – Giving It Up on Kiss, and the New Year’s eve one where Bobby Gillespie gatecrashed. The tunes going from Bernie Worrell`s BW Jam to Johnny Thunders, Kim Fowley`s Dangerous Vision and The Faces` As Long As You Tell Him, as the friends imbibed*.

I`d bump into Andrew in Soho`s record shops. In Selectadisc, with his freshly skinned head. In Sister Ray, looking for those Chris & Cosey tunes. In Atlas, where while I was ranting to Andrew (i.e. boring him) about the similarities between the new Lali Puna LP and the music collected on his Nine O`Clock Drop, one of the shop`s staff – mistaking me for someone vaguely important – came up and said, “We`ve got those records you wanted. Send one of your people over to pick them up”. “People?”, and we both looked non-plussed. 

Conversely, at some do Andrew was talking to a guy in Sci-Fi shades, and I staggered up, foaming on about how great Mo`Wax was. “No mate, it`s not James Lavelle.”

Most folks` anecdotes are stories about the wonderful, generous and witty things that Andrew said and did. All of mine involve me making a tit of myself. Excitedly engaging him in “conversation”. I mean I was off my nut back then, and didn’t think twice about going up to anyone and telling them how awesome I thought they were. It is a reflection of Andrew`s character that he always accepted these greetings with patience and humour. 

Bloodsugar, in Hoxton? Well we`d go, but we didn’t always get in, and it was nippy in the queue if you were already high. The few recollections of The Blue Note that I have include Planet Patrol`s Play At Your Own Risk, Mood II Swing`s Do It Your Way, and Rico’s Helly. Rick Hopkins opening with The Ballad Of Nicky McGuire. Andrew closing with La Rolls` Sure Is. Cavorting with Sarah “Cracking” Cracknell. My mates chopping out lines of gak on their wallets in the middle of a packed floor. Tired of the procession to the equally packed toilets. The times they were a changin`, and I kinda dropped out. 

I popped back in though, now and then. Sorta sober. We`d check Andrew at Kenny Hawkes and Luke Solomon’s Space. There was a Nuphonic party at The Leopard, one Sunday in Islington. In amongst the Idjut Boys-esque dub disco, Andrew played something that seemed to go on for an age, doing nothing. Then it shouted, “Release the pressure”, and tore the roof off. Me and The Lizard nodded sagely at the genius. 

SORRY I`VE GOT NO IDEA WHAT IT WAS

From the outside, there were still Andrew`s mixes. Electro IDs like Seven Hurtz` Stokers Motor, Sexual Harassment`s I Need A Freak, and Shock`s R.E.R.B. Eclecticism that took in Shockheaded Peters` I Blood Brother Be, The Harry Roche Constellation`s Spiral, The Marvels` Rock Steady, Eno`s Third Uncle, and Electronic Concept Orchestra’s Windmills Of Your Mind. François De Roubaix` La Fête Des Deux Avions. John Cale`s score for Le Vent De La Nuit. Pink Industry’s Don’t Let Go felt particularly poignant late Tuesday night.

Even now Andrew`s early remixes have me hunting down sample sources. American Spring, The Emotions, Claire Hammil, Billy Stewart. Finding Evie Sands through his work with Beth Orton. 

That Skull & Crossbones CD, a selection of glam and rock`n`roll – T-Rex` Free Angel, Fabienne Delsol`s I`m Gonna Haunt You, Alex Chilton`s Hey Little Child, and The Preachers` Who Do You Love? – all started a quest for old 45s. Jimmy Sysum And The Rockin’ Three`s Big Time Mama, Ray Stanley’s Love Charms, Charlie Feathers` Everybody’s Loving My Baby Now. Cosmo`s I`m A Little Mixed Up. 

The Music That Made Screamadelica show broadcast by 6Music had me Hoover-ing up everything I that I didn’t own. Little Annie’s As I Lie In Your Arms, Isaac Hayes`s Walk On By, Chairman Of The Board’s Life And Death In G&A, William Bell’s 50$ Habit. Curtis Mayfield`s Think. Donnie Fritt`s We Had It All. 

More recently I’ve trusted and relied on Andrew`s NTS show, Music’s Not For Everyone, to hip me to leftfield discoveries, particularly in the world of rock, with which I`m otherwise woefully out of touch. KXP`s 18 Hours Of Love, Davila 666`s Yo Seria Otro, Carlton Melton`s Digging In F.F. Shite. Treasures like Lee Hazlewood`s Soul`s Island, that I don’t know how I lived without. 

Then there`s A Love From Outer Space – “An oasis of slowness in a world of increasing velocity” – which for the last fortnight I had nearly 10 hours of on loop. I’m not sure who, Sean or Andrew, played what, but I could only put titles to a handful: Chris & Cosey`s This Is Me, Liza Richardson`s remix of Femi Kuti`s Eh Oh, Harvey`s Locussolus, Mugwump`s Boutade. MIA`s Paper Planes. Rampi`s Feel It Burn. Teengirl Fantasy’s Cheaters. Todd Terje`s remix of M`s Pop Musik, The Crooked Man tackling Amy Douglas` Never Saw It Coming. Andrew`s version of Twilight Sad`s Videograms. I also know that Andrew blew peoples minds, created magical memories, with both Songhoy Blues` cover of Led Zep`s Kashmir, and Mama`s Unmask Me.

I’ve got a radio show dedicated to Andrew to do on Saturday. It`s only an hour and, man, that`s gonna be tight. I said to someone at the station that 24 hours would be easier. It wasn’t a joke. 

10 thoughts on “Andrew Weatherall / A Personal Ongoing Musical Odyssey

  1. I’m right alongside you with the MNFE shows. What will I do I selfishly think? So I’m going to go back and listen again starting with the XOYO series. I only ever dug into the favourites from each month, so there’s thousands of other suggestions that he offered to his Sisters and Brothers. Hearing Greetings…always makes me happy.

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  2. This is a great read among the big recycling going on mostly elsewhere, thank You. Also, never bothered to let U know but Your show is the best in my world – ok, one of the best along with MNFE and BiS and just a few others. Greetings from Poland.

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  3. Weatherall down full circle with a brief respite before shave your tongue. My 21st birthday weekend. Your words have helped Rob as a fellow obsessive xx

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  4. Then there was El Metro`s, in Hammersmith, the night after the night before. When Lofty cued-up the more “pop” version of Give Me Some Love and Andrew was out frugging with the rest of us. Now, that was a moment.

    My copy had the labels on the wrong side, took me about a month to realise why it wasn’t what I thought despite main version being 4min & THAT remix being 10
    Maybe Lofty did the same 🙂

    Like

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