Thursday, May 24, 2012

fascinated by the way certain figures in rock and pop just carry on, go with the flow, bend with the times...  not necessarily out of cynical, make-a-living opportunism, but perhaps out of genuine changeable enthusiasm, or a certain kind of shall we say aesthetic suppleness... a kinder way of saying there's no spine, no real core there?

i mean look at the career of Chris Spedding:

Whilst still with the Battered Ornaments, which without the departing Pete Brown left Spedding as the frontman, he joined the Frank Ricotti Quartet, and played guitar on the album Our Point of View, released in July 1969. He was also invited to play on Jack Bruce's first and third solo albums, Songs for a Tailor (1969) and Harmony Row (1971).[1]
Spedding then recorded his own instrumental album, Songs Without Words (1970) for Harvest Records, which was only released in Europe and Japan.[1]

During this time he was also playing jazz with Nucleus and recorded and toured with Mike Gibbs. He played guitar on the Pete Atkin / Clive James album “Driving Through Mythical America”.[2][3] He was a session player on Harry Nilsson's breakthrough album, Nilsson Schmilsson, recorded in London. During 1972-74 Spedding played a central role in Sharks, initially with ex-Free bassist Andy Fraser.[1] They recorded two albums and toured with Roxy Music. After that, he toured and recorded with John Cale. He also played with Roy Harper's occasional backing band Trigger, notably on 1975's HQ album. In 1972-76 he played in Mike Batt's novelty band The Wombles, occasionally performing on television in a Womble suit.

In 1975 Spedding had a Top 20 solo hit in the UK with "Motorbikin'",[4] which he promoted with popular television appearances on Top of the Pops and Supersonic, dressed in leather motorcycling gear, with greased hair.[5] When further hits failed to materialise he subsequently became better known as a session guitarist, appearing and recording with Bryan Ferry, Roxy Music, Elton John, Brian Eno, Jack Bruce, Nick Mason and Katie Melua, amongst others. During the mid 1970s, he even took part in the Wombles' UK tour in full furry costume, whilst wielding his trademark Gibson Flying V.[1] His own album Chris Spedding (1975) was produced by Mickie Most. Spedding recorded a version of the American singer-songwriter Garland Jeffreys' song, "Wild In The Streets", on his own Hurt album. The song has since been covered by the Circle Jerks and is featured on Tony Hawk's American Wasteland.

He also was the producer of the Sex Pistols first demos, which were recorded on 15 May 1976.[1] The three tracks recorded were "Problems", "No Feelings" and "Pretty Vacant". Spedding featured extensively on the album Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds issued in 1978, and much later toured with Jeff Wayne and the cast between 2006 and 2010. Spedding moved to New York joined the Necessaries as a guitarist and songwriter, then worked extensively with Robert Gordon. Before long he was back in the UK and recorded another album of his own, I'm Not Like Everybody Else (1980).[1] His live album, Friday the 13th was released in 1981.[1] Over the next few years he continued his session work on such albums as Tom Waits', Rain Dogs, while periodically releasing solo material (Mean and Moody (1985), Enemy Within (1986) and Cafe Days (1990).[1]
He made an appearance in Paul McCartney's Give My Regards to Broad Street in 1984, playing guitar in a session with McCartney and his wife, Linda.[1] Spedding was producer of the first two albums by the Canadian rockabilly band, The Razorbacks

so there is a kind of core there, which he returns to, and which seems to be rockabilly -- but along the way he does a solo album for Harvest, plays with the Soft Machine-like jazz-rock band Nucleus, but also with the Wombles, and with Jeff Wayne, and with...  

i guess that's the versatility of the career session musician but there's also a sense of going along with what the times atr dictating, the rock dialectic...

but then that's how quite a lot of people -- musicians and industry people -- are e.g. the way Andrew Lauder goes from prog/space-rock at United Artists into pub rock into postpunk (Radar) into retro-rock/reissue-archaeology (didn't he co-found Edsel, or was it Demon?) into indie/baggy (Silvertone, w/ Stone Roses) and then onto other things

if you're a real music fan, your enthusiasms evolve

and if it's good for critics to keep moving, taste-wise, why not then musicians and A&R?

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