16 Jan 2008
The most depressed man in rock 
With the new Magnetic Fields album 'Distortion' getting (generally) good reviews, Roy Wilkinson interviews Stephin Merritt in London for the February 2008 edition of The Word.

We learn that Merritt calls his dog Irving Berlin ("big ears, big nose, cute, not very big" with the proviso "he doesn't write musicals") and that he thinks Psychocandy by The Jesus and Mary Chain is "the last significant production in modern music".

Meanwhile, in the reviews section the 'Distortion' album is likened, favourably, to "a Phil Spector Christmas record remade by Galaxie 500". The London Metro free paper also made it their album of the week.

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A Certain Ratio

"Manchester, 1978. In the beginning there were four: Jez Kerr (bass), Martin Moscrop (guitar/trumpet), Peter Terrel (guitar/effects) and Simon Topping (vocals/trumpet). Four thin boys with a name borrowed from a Brian Eno record, the intense, drummerless quartet initially drew influence from Wire, Eno, the Velvets and Kraftwerk, and gained a manager in Anthony Wilson of Factory Records.

"May 1979 saw the release of their first ACR single, the dark All Night Party, although the sound and musicianship of the band would be transformed by the arrival of funky drummer Donald Johnson (DoJo) in August. Over the next few months the band gigged widely, often with Joy Division as part of Factory packages, and recorded demos with producer Martin Hannett as well as a Peel session. Their support slot with Talking Heads on their UK tour in December 1979 set David Byrne on a new course, and provided the compelling live half of their chic cassette package The Graveyard and the Ballroom. Post-punk, ACR now reflected the influence of Funkadelic, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, The Bar Kays and James Brown."

- intro to ACR Biography by James Nice (LTM)

The Durutti Column