An Interview With the Soulsavers, Pt.2



Following on from the revelations on and about the Soulsavers’ new Reconsidering the Madman album, the conversation with Rich Machin turns to more general matters regarding work previous and planned, with a bunch of questions that veer towards the eclectic and back again, as well as me just noticing as I was putting this bit together that I’d asked the same question twice.  Moving swiftly on from that faux pas, I hope from a reader’s perspective that the questions that were asked and very kindly answered are among the very things that everyone wanted to know about what’s going on with the band and their various satellite vocalists…



Mark Lanegan Band – Zurich Plaza, March 6th 2015

This was a weird night indeed, and not just because I’m in Switzerland. I can’t remember quite how many Mark Lanegan shows I’ve been to, but it’s A Lot. Which seems kind of creepy, but there is method to all of this. It all kind of started in 2003(ish) when a bunch of us on his short-lived official message board decided to meet up and hang out, so visiting several shows to put names to sentences and posts, and I suppose it kind of stuck from then on.
Fast-forward a decade, and most of those friendships remain, more have been added and a couple have fallen by the wayside. And I’ve stopped posting with a girl’s name, something that seemed funny at the time and was a great way of being anonymous but an array of bewildering private messages soon put the mockers on that. Anyway, all of this preamble stems from a pre-gig decision to pare this all down as frankly it’s costing me a fortune. Nights such as this remind me what a privilege it is to do so.

Mark Lanegan – A Thousand Miles Of Midnight

tmomBack in the days where people weren’t too fussed about genre labels, when experimentalism regularly hit the high points of the charts and when nobody really gave much of a stuff how much records weighed, remixes reigned supreme.  These were mostly shuffled off to the margins of b-sides and exclusive 12″ singles, but there was the occasional album of rejigged and reworked music for our pleasure.  Remixing was all over the place, some remixers became more venerated than the people who employed them, and then it all seemed to tail off rather quickly, or at least vanish underground to a place where most people couldn’t find them, except for the very determined.  The occasional gem bobbed up to the surface (the Soulsavers’ sublime take on Starsailors’ Four To The Floor being a prime example), but it all went quiet as some remixers went back to being DJs, others started making their own records from scratch, and others carried on messing about for diminishing audiences.  This record is a celebration of decades of messing about with other peoples’ stuff.


Mark Lanegan Band, Duke Garwood – Hebden Bridge Trades Club, January 24th 2015

hebdenEven before I get onto anything else, this was one of those occasions where a special round of applause should be reserved for those least mentioned of a touring company, the bus driver.  How he got that thing there last night must have been little short of miraculous.  After my fun, if slightly concerned drive there (I could be heard going “are you sure?” to my Satnav more than once as I was sure was deliberately leading me astray down roads where the provision of a single track would have been a blessed luxury), it was a curious delight to enter the tiny arena of Hebden Bridge’s Trades Club with the rest of a crowd of just shy of 200 people to catch a couple of highly memorable sets.


Best of 2014, No.3: Mark Lanegan Band – Phantom Radio

phantom radio

Genre pigeonholing, don’t you just love it?  Ever since Faith No More were dubbed “Funk Metal” back in the 1980s, mankind’s desire to label things that sound a bit different to everything else has seen labels get sillier and sillier.  Then again, it all started with Rock and Roll, which makes little sense anyway.  I did try to find something all-encompassing to encapsulate whatever goes on during the course of this record, but nothing fits.  Even the current trend for “Post-” anything doesn’t seem to work, as even looking up something as outwardly clever as “Post-Blues” brought up Booker T and the MG’s, Jethro Tull and Chris Cornell, so it’s anyone’s guess really.  Ultimately though, it doesn’t really matter except to people who don’t read past an arbitrary number of stars and the first sentence of anything.  What does matter is how something moves you, and Phantom Radio moves like nothing else.  A Post-Lanegan record, perhaps?


Best of 2014, No.7: Mark Lanegan – Has God Seen My Shadow? An Anthology 1989-2011


I’m fairly certain that I’m breaking some sort of rule here.  I’m also fairly certain that I don’t really give much of a stuff for what passes for rules governing internet lists. I could justify it with a whole host of technicalities, but frankly I can’t be bothered – it’s Christmas Eve, I’m at work supposedly listening to a conference meeting but am actually typing this and I keep thinking of stuff to get from the shops in the way home. So instead I’m just going to enjoy the bloody thing.


Mark Lanegan Band – Bubblegum

bubblegumIt’s rare that I do posts of a personal nature these days.  Partly because I’ve become a little bit more guarded over the past couple of years anyway due to this & that, but I suppose it’s mostly because I’ve been so busy trying to listen to so much new stuff that I’ve not been looking backwards so often anymore.  Which is probably why it came as a genuine shock to me when I read a message from a friend of mine today stating that this record is ten years old today.  Conversations that have sprung from this revelation have seemed to have the same effect on several other of my friends today, and then the floodgates opened – a whole decade of memories, communities and even enmities all springing from the collective coming-together over one record.  Happy Birthday, Bubblegum.


Mark Lanegan – Meltdown Festival, London Queen Elizabeth Hall, June 14th 2014



“Bit short-changed there”, said the bloke passing us on the way out of the auditorium at half-past nine, after the set that began at half-past eight had finished. Well, away with you sir, that was great. To paraphrase an old BBC comedy play, never mind the width, feel the quality.

For such a short and early set (presumably with one eye on tonight’s footballing doings ) it wasn’t half packed, and came with a couple of surprises. Not only did the lightbulbs illuminating the stage actually change colour from their traditional red, Mark also took centre stage under a de facto spotlight!  Anyway, after a ticket-purchasing farce which saw us perched right at the back (as the following snaps barely illustrate – by the way, I’m not sure if I should feel relieved or wounded that I didn’t feature in the Guardian’s recent “worst gig photos”), we witnessed a rather stunning set as well as a lot of people who couldn’t stay sat down for five minutes at a time without wandering off outside.


Sunday Whatever

005Things are going a bit slow here at the moment, largely because things are far too full-on elsewhere.  There’s a definite disparity in the work-life balance here, and that can never be seen to be right.  So while I try to address that, this week shall be mostly comprised of EPs and quiet things as that’s all my attention span can cope with while all else goes mad around me.  This whatever also reflects the lunacy of the past couple of weeks, but I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about and nothing that a bit of a sleep can’t remedy.


Sweet Apple – The Golden Age Of Glitter

sweetappleI have no idea if it was a collective act or sheer coincidence, but somewhere along the line a switch was closed and we all became earnest, miserable sods.  Or at the very least I did and presumed that everyone else did too.  Thankfully, we have Sweet Apple here to decide that not only is it perfectly OK to be fun and bright and occasionally silly, but it’s also possible to look over one’s shoulder at the past and mark all the colourful spots without getting all maudlin about it.  And of course it’s even better to do so when you get to include Mike Watt in a canoe.