ISSUE 14   WINTER 2002/2003
page 5 of 27



by Tom Smith

"As to thumbprint, dub, always. I was jolted into consciousness (or at least into a premonition of my eventual descent into abject formalism) by 1976 by Lee Perry's Super Ape. After picking myself off the floor I knew that I'd heard the clarion -- action was inevitable, my fate sealed. Music should ideally be entropic, should move in all dimensions and spatial configurations... (Or not.) And it should fucking kick ass while doing so. (Or rest between kicks.)"

"(Feel free not to worry about this next paragraph -- this is really just for your benefit, David. A list of pre-Super Ape influences. Once I'd heard Perry's genius at work, I suddenly realized how everything I loved could coexist within the confines of song form. It's taken me a while to refine this approach, natch, and I certainly don't expect to ever perfect it -- perfection seems forever out of reach, and that's okay by me.)"

"Of course, I knew the roll call of dub exemplars from my early, perhaps too precocious university research:"

1. Poe
2. Baudelaire
3. Joyce
4. Russolo
5. Ball/Tzara/Honegger/Schwitters
6. Theremin and all Russian avant-gardists (1920-1930)
7. Pound
8. Bunuel
9. Duchamp
10. Man Ray
11. Henry Miller
12. Leger
13. Dali
14. anyone labeled Entarte Kunst
15. The Three Stooges
16. Welles
17. Nin
18. Dot Parker
19. Callas
20. Pollock/Krasner
21. Burroughs
22. Lee Marvin
23. the Pierres
24. that sad Nazi bastard Veit Harlan and his 1958 homoerotic apartment wrestling film (with partial live electronic music soundtrack) The Third Sex

25. Sun Ra
26. Partch
27. Karlheinz
28. Saul Bass
29. Joseph Stefano
30. black-and-white Kubrick
31. Cage
32. Ken Anger
33. Iannis
34. Russ Meyer/Stuart Lancaster/RM's women
35. Fluxus (in doses)
36. Albert and Don Ayler
37. Jess Franco's zoom
38. Witold Lutoslawski
39. Cecil Taylor
40. Price/Steele/Lee/Cushing
41. mid-to-late Albert Zugsmith
42. all atomic test footage
43. all Toho monster kino
44. Link Wray/Junior Raymen
45. all Doris Wishman
46. Situationists (esp. those with bad hair)
47. global student revolt and the inevitable erotic aftermath
48. Soviet sci-fi kino
49. Funkadelic (particularly America Eats Its Young, which is still too brilliant for words)
50. Beefheart/early Mothers
51. Yoko Ono's Apple albs (and through her, Ornette)
52. Hendrix (I wore out two vinyl copies of Band of Gypsys for "Machine Gun" alone, not to mention everything else, even the shitty Alan Douglas comps)
53. Jack Bruce's first three solo albums and his live Cream work
54. Fela (ca. '71, thanks to Ginger Baker)
55. all Uriah Heep fans
56. New York Dolls (for their music, esp. the staggering Too Much Too Soon)
57. Can/Cow/Faust/Wyatt (specifically for End of an Ear and Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard)
58. Nitsch, Muehl and ander Vienna Actionists
59. (Iggy and) Stooges (purists prefer Asheton, but Williamson was the King Tubby of guitar -- his complete and utter flameout post-Stooges only amplifies the truth of the assertion)
60. American television director Greg Garrison
61. Miles (1969-1975 only, and woe to all pretenders)
62. some Mahavishnu (but nothing after the original quintet split in '73)
63. Sparks (the first five albums, especially Indiscreet, still audaciously brilliant after 20+ years)
64. Jamie Muir
65. La Barbara
66. For Your Pleasure (hundreds of spins)
67. all noir fatales (1944-1961)
68. The Slider
69. "Time" from Aladdin Sane
70. Nico/Eno/Cale/VU
71. most pre-Utopia Todd, esp. the peerless Wizard (but not Todd)
72. Portsmouth Sinfonia
73. Gary Glitter/Glitter Band
74. a photo of the Sex Pistols in an April '76 issue of Melody Maker (which for me was almost as significant as actually hearing their music)
75. the titanic Electric Eels (although in truth I didn't know of them until the Rough Trade "Agitated" single was in my hands ca. '77)
76. the unknown promise suggested by Verlaine's "Break It Up" solo from Horses
77. Braxton, the one true living God
78. Ramones' first two albs (but nothing after)

"Plus everyone else I was ignorant of in 1976, or still remain clueless about, or perhaps have just omitted. (Everyone in this daisy chain is of equal import. All other pre-'76 exclusions are intentional. Great free jazz, for instance, is not always dubwise, ditto for psych and Krautrock. Almost all 60s punk is by necessity dub. Fill in the blanks for yourselves...)"

(Roll Call taken from e-mail interview conducted by David Keenan for The Wire. Some of the first paragraph above was quoted in the final story that appeared in The Wire 222.)




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