Another one for the lineup of the songs luminaries feel you must hear, and today, just because we like his style, as little as it has to do with music, and he was willing and available, Brig Bother:
Kings Have Long Arms feat. Phil Oakey - Rock And Roll is Dead
I was quite surprised to be asked to write something for this prestigious series. After all, I'm not really very "indie". I used to be, but then I realised how bored I was getting of blokes with stupid haircuts and an English literature/politics/communication studies degree picking up a guitar and writing dirgey songs about how rubbish their life is because they can't be bothered to get a job and/or laid, taking themselves far more seriously that anybody else is going to. I was also slightly annoyed that Doug from episode 6 had subconsciously nicked my intro with his My Life Story entry. What WOULD I like to promote? The amazing Alexander Bard based pop shenanigans of Bodies Without Organs? Something of the first two albums from Cursor Minor? Common People by William Shatner? Something a bit more obvious?
No, don't worry reader, if you're still here, I'm about to get to my point.
All the way back in 2003 I was dragged along to see Elbow or I Am Kloot (I forget which), because the tickets were cheap, it was a night out, and my best mate had nobody else who would go with him. It was after work, I was knackered. Come seven o'clock there were about ten people at the venue. We were sitting on the floor, waiting.
And then the first support act came on. I was expecting guitar based indie. Instead, I got a fat Yorkshireman in a bucket hat and sunglasses and a synthesiser player in a gorilla costume. Well, my interest was piqued. We were still sitting down, which in retrospect was a bit rude really. So frontman Adrian Flanagan chided us, got off the stage and pulled us up mid-song.
The songs were of a rather minimalist electronic pop vibe, but sharply written and amusing. Adrian's the real star though, lending the whole operation a rather whimsical Phoenix Nights feel. Phoenix Nights meets The Human League. Little did I realise at the time how literal that was going to be - he announced he was going to perform his new single "Rock and Roll is Dead" which Phil Oakey has lent his vocals to, and if Phil Oakey likes them then what's not to like?
The song itself is a rather poppy but cold and relentless. He's found time to include a nob gag. And the message sums up my feeling about the current music scene. My friend was absolutely baffled, I thought they were absolutely brilliant. If you quite liked Relaxed Muscle, this is a less dark version, I think.
When I saw The Human League two years ago, Phil "did" 1st Man In Space, his excellent collaboration with All Seeing I. I was secretly hoping that he'd do Rock and Roll Is Dead also, but sadly not. However, looking Kings Have Long Arms up on YouTube reveals that he was singing it on their last tour, so yay Phil. Also up on YouTube is the highly amusing video for Lisa Riley, a song about wanting to marry Lisa Riley.
Years later, and in September 2006 the album finally comes out (which excellently includes videos and a live show DVD). It is mighty, and one day I'll force my friend to sit down to listen to it. I bet he will whinge as well.