Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Head To Head
Log In
Register
Unsung Forum »
Music of the mad.
Log In to post a reply

86 messages
Topic View: Flat | Threaded
Dog 3000
Dog 3000
4611 posts

Re: Music of the mad.
Aug 17, 2011, 11:01
Yes it's a chin-scratcher. First reaction brain dump:

The Shaggs jump to mind -- not particularly "mad" just "outsider artists" (there is an "unhip teens trying to figure out a hip world" vibe there -- which is not mental illness, but I feel like there is a lot of mental and emotional anguish under the "happy" surface of that record.)

Eno -- a calculating sort who probably wishes he could "naturally make crazy music", and I guess you could say all his theories/techniques are meant to get the head into that non-rational state when creating music. (There was also that "untrained orchestra" he recorded with, Somethingorother Sinfonia?)

Beefheart -- a unique character, definitely eccentric through and through. Actually TMR may not be as weird as the follow-up "Lick My Decals Off"! There were really only 2 records where he wasn't "being quite weird" (from 1974 when he signed up with some promoters who tried to "mainstream" him -- in retrospect proving how deeply weird he really was.)

Tom Waits -- I agree he strikes me as an "actor playing mad" and not "actually mad." I had him pegged as nothing BUT a Beefheart imitator on first exposure. Nowdays I think his best stuff is those first few "drunken jazz crooner" albums (and even then have to wonder, was he really even that drunk or was it also an act? And then, does it even matter as long as it's a "good act"?)

Art Jackson -- allegedly behind the mysterious "Gout" album, and did another strange one called "Your Exotic Prince." Definitely an outsider, but I know nothing about what motivated his art.

Ornette Coleman -- kinda like Beefheart's twin/predecesor from the Jazz scene. Also has that weird "alien guru" thing when interviewed. Answers questions with questions -- like he can't understand the basic premise of "your primitive human society" or something.

Sun Ra -- very outside, very wacky, but also a put-on artist (crazy or "crazy like a fox"?) His music ranges from extremely composed and delicate to "everybody go crazy and make noise like you were children who don't know how to play an instrument." Recorded tapes and tapes for decades with no hope or plan of getting the music released. There was some kind of "mania" that drove him I think (he certainly wasn't in it for the chicks & money!) The Arkestra also used a fair number of "non-professional" musicians (Ra had trouble paying & keeping anyone who was "too good".)

Anal Magic feat. Rev. Dwight Frizzel -- with a name like that how could you miss? Seems to have been a "band" of artsy types who mostly didn't bother to learn their instruments. I think Frizzel is mainly a video or computers guy (he's a college instructor last I checked.)

Armand Schaubroeck -- another one who's not "mad", but went through some heavy shit and used music as therapy. His debut was a self-released TRIPLE album that tells the tale of how he got sentenced to juvie for stealing change from a bowling alley! (True story.) "Ratfucker" is absolute mind-rot set to beats and melodies (I'm not sure I want to think about where some of that stuff came from! Fiction I hope!)

Lou Reed/Velvets -- not "mad" but on lots of drugs and self-loathing (or something?) "Street Hassle" is pretty fucked up in every way possible. Side two of "WL/WH" -- yikes!!

Sly Stone -- total genius and not a "naive" music maker, but "There's a Riot Going On" taps some deep vein of crazy. That record freaks me right out! I can only assume the artist was very freaked out when he was making it. (PS -- I saw an ad for a new 2011 Sly album, I guess it's finally going to happen! A new Sly record is kind of like "Neil Young Archives" -- promised for so long you begin to think it's just a myth.)
Topic Outline:

Unsung Forum Index