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Johnnie Johnstone

Through The Crack In The Wall : The Secret History Of Josef K

    Everything was just so intense. There was an alienation and awkwardness about Josef K, but that was actually very true to life for me. Listening today I find really difficult because it brings back so many memories, so many ghosts and characters from the past.

    -- Paul Haig. A lot of what Josef K were about was as much to do with what not to play as what to play. Josef K could never have anything rootsy, no blues scale.

    We were always looking for the modern. -- Malcolm Ross. Josef K are the great lost post-punk band.

    Taking their name from the haunted protagonist of Franz Kafka s existentialist novel The Trial, they posed for photographs before brutalist and gothic architecture and produced visionary, often incendiary music that felt like the product of perpetual anxiety. And it really was. Through The Crack In The Wall is the first ever biography of the band, tracing their story from their origins in the leafy suburbs of Edinburgh through to their untimely implosion four years later.

    It s a tale of fun and frenzy, filled with highs and lows. From their thrilling live shows, which left onlookers spellbound, to more anxious occasions confronting a baying audience of rioting anarcho-punks in Brussels; from a brief spell as press darlings of the inkies to the fateful decision to pull their debut album just as pop stardom beckoned -- one that continues to haunt them today. Drawing extensively on new interviews with the band members and those around them as well as contemporary press articles, the book explores the band s inner workings and analyses their relationships with Postcard Records supremo Alan Horne, labelmates Orange Juice, and manager Allan Campbell.

    It re-evaluates their position in the pantheon of post-punk greats and considers how their music helped shape the UK independent scene of the eighties. More than anything else, though, the book s primary purpose is to celebrate the incredible music Josef K made and consider what makes it more vital today than ever.

    Paul Simpson

    Revolutionary Spirit : A Post-Punk Exorcism: The Teardrop Explodes, Care, The Wild Swans, And Beyond

      Part memoir, part social history, Revolutionary Spirit is the poignant, often hilarious story of a cult Liverpool musician s scenic route to fame and artistic validation. If Morrissey was the Oscar Wilde of the 1980s indie scene, Simpson was its William Blake, a self-destructive genius so lost in mystical visions of a new arcadia that he couldn t meet the rent. Simpson s career begins alongside fellow Liverpool luminaries Julian Cope, Ian McCulloch, Bill Drummond, Ian Broudie, Will Sergeant, Pete Wylie, Pete Burns, and Pete de Freitas at the infamous Eric s club, where, in 1976, he finds himself at the birth of the city s second great musical explosion.

      Along the way, he co-founds and christens the neo-psychedelic pop group The Teardrop Explodes, shares a flat with a teenage Courtney Love, and forms The Wild Swans, the indie band of choice for literary-minded teens in the early 1980s, who burn bright and brief, in the process recording one of the all-time great cult hit singles, Revolutionary Spirit . Marriage, fatherhood, and tropical illness follow, interspersed with artistic collaborations with Bill Drummond and members of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, among others. Following an onstage reunion with Cope at the Royal Festival Hall, Simpson discovers that seven thousand miles away, in the Philippines, he is considered a musical god.

      Presidential suites, armed guards, police escorts . . .

      you couldn t make it up, and, incredibly, he doesn t need to. Revolutionary Spirit marks the arrival of an original literary voice. It is the story of a musician driven by an unerring belief that artistic integrity will bring its own rewards, and an elliptical elegy to the ways it does.

      Mark Volman & John Cody

      Happy Forever : My Musical Adventures With The Turtles, Frank Zappa, T. Rex, Flo & Eddie, And More

        Mark is one of the most indomitable yet gentle spirits I ve ever met. He will always be one of my favorite artists I ve ever worked with. And someday when I grow up, I want to be just like him.

        Alice Cooper. This book is a puzzle. The outside frame pieces are about me, but the picture wouldn t be complete without the perspectives of all the people telling you about me.

        Mark Volman. Mark Volman has led a storied life, and many of those stories are contained in Happy Forever. A true son of southern California, he has gone from topping the charts with The Turtles ( Happy Together ) to underground cred with Frank Zappa and beyond.

        As Flo & Eddie, Mark and his longtime singing partner Howard Kaylan were the not-so-secret ingredient on many other artist s records, taking Bruce Springsteen into the Top 10 for the very first time and helping T. Rex dominate the British charts. Then came The Ramones, U2, Blondie, Duran Duran, and so many more; the list of credits is long and varied.

        Happy Forever covers all of that, along with subsequent forays into animation, a stint as a radio personality in Los Angeles and New York, and a midlife return to academia, which led Mark to create and run innovative college programs in LA and Nashville. But this is not the world according to Mark Volman, and it is not your average musical autobiography. Alongside his own comments, this uniquely insightful book contains contributions from more than one hundred of Mark s peers, friends, and lovers who share their thoughts on the man himself and on topics that span the social and cultural landscape of past half-century.

        Happy Forever s cast list reads like a who s who of popular music, featuring members of The Doors, The Monkees, The Byrds, The E Street Band, and many more; producers Tony Visconti, Bob Ezrin, and Hal Willner; voice actors from The Simpsons and the Firesign Theatre; and key figures from the worlds of radio, animation, and academia. The book also includes previously unseen photographs and forewords by Alice Cooper and Chris Hillman.


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