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“Enthusiasm for the mysterious emissaries of pulp”: an interview with David Britton (the Savoy interviews, part 2b)

Author: • Feb 22nd, 2010 •

Category: audio, censorship, H.P. Lovecraft, Iain Sinclair, Ian Curtis, literature, music, New Worlds, punk, Savoy Books

Ballardian: Savoy Books & Records

Back-cover sleeve for “Blue Monday”, by Lord Horror with the Savoy Hitler Youth Band.


Interview by Simon Sellars.


This is the second of a three-interview series about Savoy Books. It discusses Savoy’s musical and spoken-word output, and the interview is in two parts. In the first, David talked about PJ Proby, Ballard, Fenella Fielding, Ian Brady, Michael Moorcock, New Worlds magazine, Heathcote Williams and his own upbringing. Here, he discusses New Order, Joy Division, punk, Manchester music, Kingsize Taylor, The Cramps, Zappa, Beefheart and Springsteen. Interspersed throughout both parts are sound clips from Savoy releases [NOTE: sound clips don't work in Google Reader].


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New Order’s “Blue Monday”/Springsteen’s “Cadillac Ranch”, performed by Lord Horror with the Savoy-Hitler Youth Band. Courtesy Savoy Records (1986).


SS: Why is “Blue Monday” such a touchstone for Savoy? You first recorded it as “Lord Horror with the Savoy Hitler Youth Band”, and now Fenella has sung it for you — twice.

DB: When we first recorded it, just a couple of years after the original, the song was very much a touchstone for a generation, an anthem. We tended to choose anthemic songs, and most of the covers we did signified something special to different types of contemporary music fans: “Sign O’ The Times”, “Anarchy in the UK”, “Heroes”. We became quite accomplished at putting the clog in. Our version of “Blue Monday” is a tongue-in-cheek piss-take, with a dash of venom on the blade. With “Blue Monday”, quite intentionally, we had connected into the zeitgeist of the 80s. Over the years, the song’s reputation has grown into something rather extraordinary. Twenty years after the first recording we went back into the studio with Fenella, and this time adhered to the original “Blue Monday” lyrics. Fenella delivered these in a sort of mock serious way that had been denied to us using a male vocalist. The song happens to work better with a female. And no woman could do it better than Fenella. She first sang “Blue Monday” knowing nothing about its meaning. After Michael gave her more details about the band and explained the significance of the song, she insisted on doing it again. We led off Fenella Fielding: The Savoy Sessions with this second version of “Blue Monday”, with its controlled feeling, and closed with the first version, which I meshed with Cochran’s “What’d I say”. Those are probably our final takes on the song!


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New Order’s “Blue Monday”, performed by Fenella Fielding, from the as-yet-unreleased Fenella Fielding: the Savoy Sessions. Courtesy Savoy Records (2010).


SS: With the original “Blue Monday” single, how on Earth did you come up with the idea of splicing Springsteen with New Order?

DB: There was a touch of the Don Quixote about the venture, wasn’t there? I didn’t think “Blue Monday” merited the reputation it received in the press — or that New Order deserved the weight placed on them by music critics. The percussive throb of the record, and Hooky’s bassline, was good, I thought, while the lyrics seemed fifth form, weak and ineffectual, like the group’s other lyrics. But Michael had been present at New Order’s original Power, Corruption And Lies session at Britannia Row Studios, and had come away with the suspicion that something quite unique had occurred. Despite my misgivings, this was something I took on board. I was attacking something — “Blue Monday”/New Order — with a reputation that has increased year by year.

But the idea behind mashing it with Springsteen’s “Cadillac Ranch” is actually more complex. I wanted to see what would happen blending together the 50s with the 80s like that, fusing the chain of rock’s history. And choosing Springsteen was a gambit, to lure Kingsize Taylor out of retirement. At that time, Springsteen was writing credible pastiches of 50s-type rock ‘n’ roll songs, and we thought they would act as bait for Kingsize, who had retired from the music business in 1966 and was refusing all attempts to get him to return. We knew he wouldn’t be able to relate to Bernard’s original “Blue Monday” lyrics, but he might be receptive to “Cadillac Ranch”. We made demos of “Blue Monday”/”Cadillac Ranch” and “Born in the USA”. Unfortunately, when we sent him the tapes, it came back that he wasn’t interested at all. So eventually, Bobby Thompson, second lead singer in The Dominos, Kingsize’s original band, laid down the “Cadillac Ranch” vocal for us. We had to forget “Born in the USA”, which remains unreleased, because Bobby couldn’t hope to get his larynx around such a big song. On the other hand he could — and did — do a great job on “Cadillac Ranch”, despite having a cold on the day.

The vocals were recorded in Peter Hook’s Rochdale studio, from where we nicked a couple of “Blue Monday” samples. A couple of years later, Michael Butterworth nearly managed to get New Order to record with Michael Moorcock. We had in mind Moorcock doing “Blue Monday”, singing the original New Order lyrics.

SS: There is some irony in Savoy’s “Blue Monday” being banned for its “Nazi” sleeve, while New Order, and indeed, Joy Division, gained mass acceptance by using Nazi imagery.

DB: They only whispered it. We shouted it.

SS: On the other hand, can you really be surprised about the single being banned, given the sleeve and the temper of the times? Could you really expect a different result? If you had that time again, would you handle Savoy Records differently? It seems a shame that these great songs and arrangements have rarely been heard.

DB: We wouldn’t do anything differently, and cheerfully didn’t give a fuck about the times or what people thought. The packaging of the records had to stand out, be visually arresting, and remain true to our ethos. We weren’t a band, and couldn’t promote the records in the usual way, so the cover artworks had to pique people’s curiosity, which to an extent they did. Unfortunately, although we were very happy with the choice of graphics, the sleeves could have been better designed. Neither of us knew John Coulthart then, and we couldn’t find a designer who would touch them — too offensive.

No matter how outrageous the sleeves were, it was important that the music stood outside of the packaging, and had an independent validity of its own. You can’t wave an iconoclast’s flag and, beneath its twirl, not deliver a sound musical recording. Encouragingly, we got quite respectable reviews in the music press.

Ballardian: Savoy Books & Records

Sleeve for “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, by PJ Proby.


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Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, performed by PJ Proby. Courtesy Savoy Records (1985).


SS: Savoy’s take on “Love Will Tear Us Apart” was hardly reverential.

DB: I didn’t have any reverence. I couldn’t see virtue in it. In making our version I was just marshalling another kind of Manchester attitude — get in there and give it some turmoil, and see what would come out of that.

Manchester, since the 50s, has been a rock ‘n’ roll city. By 1964 I’d seen all the original American rockers passing through — Cochran, Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard. The blues guys had been here — John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, and so on. The Beatles, before they were nationally famous, made their television debut in Manchester’s Granada Studios. I remember watching their regular television appearances on Scene at 6.30pm, presented by Michael Parkinson and Bill Grundy. They played live in Manchester, but I never saw them live. All through this period there were dozens of local bands, interspersed with Liverpool bands, playing clubs like The Oasis, the Twisted Wheel and the Manchester Cavern, minor forerunners of the Hacienda.

So as the 60s progressed, I’d seen most of the bands that appealed to me — Stones, Who, Hendrix, Floyd, Zappa and Beefheart. By the time we’d reached the mid-70s and the punk era, I was pretty jaded musically. The seminal wonders of the rock ‘n’ roll world had passed before me. With the exception of the Pistols, who had genuine attitude, and Ian Dury and the Blockheads, there was little in punk to impress. The Clash were an imitation, created by sweat, the Damned an Alhambra pantomime. But I have to admit that even the worst proponents of punk were better than prog rock! They satisfactorily swept that away, at least. Punk’s fuck-off quality was a native characteristic of my own city, and was familiar to anyone sentenced to spending time in North Manchester.

SS: Do you like any of the post-punk Manchester bands?

DB: The advent of Joy Division, The Fall and the others didn’t really touch me. Besides, there wasn’t a decent singer amongst any of the Manc groups. I’d had a lifetime of hearing flat Mancunian vowels and consonants, and didn’t want to listen to more of such shenanigans on record. I had to cross my legs when Morrissey started bleating, and chuckle at that Cheeta-impersonating chappie from the Stone Roses attempting to wrestle a decent noise from a stillborn larynx. Then Oasis showed up, demonstrating how to do poor karaoke Beatles. Singing ability wasn’t the point, any more than knowing how to play a guitar, or knowing how to draw properly if you were a cartoonist. These Manchester bands were promoted in the NME, written up by a posse of Manchester-based journalists, including Paul Morley and Jon Savage, who I often saw in the Savoy shops. Before the late mid-70s the music papers were dominated by old-guard journos, and these new writers were able to push Manchester groups in a way that was not possible until then. Writing about The Smiths, Joy Division, The Buzzcocks, they cemented Manchester’s musical reputation.

Ironically for me, the Savoy shops were a mecca for this generation, and we sold everything to attract them. Our main source of musical attraction were bootlegs. Consequently, most of the local groups would come in individually. I related better on a personal level than I did admiring their music, and it was most interesting talking with them. Mark E Smith spoke about Bo Diddley and Arthur Machen in the same breath. Ian Curtis and Stephen Morris enthused about Moorcock, Ballard and Beefheart. When the young managers of our shops took over the music play list, they hammered-out “Totally Wired” or “She’s Lost Control” fifty times a day, so this stuff was a daily background I was conscious of. It was when I was listening to it that I started thinking about Kingsize Taylor, a man with a voice that could ignite solvents.

The more I heard of the local bands and the kind of music they were playing, the more I thought how interesting it would be to get Kingsize over from Liverpool to put that hard, scalding voice on something contemporary. Since buying his album, The Shakers, in 1964, I saw him as being the most authentic of English rock ‘n’ roll singers, and his band The Dominos the best English instrumental rock ‘n’ roll outfit.

SS: What’s your opinion on the Curtis and Joy Division reputations today? Are they a a fair musical legacy for the city to carry?

DB: Joy Division and the Hacienda are to Manchester now what the Beatles and the Cavern have been to Liverpool for years: marketing tools for the council and property developers.

Ballardian: Savoy Books & Records

Front-cover sleeve detail for “Raw Power”, by Lord Horror and the Savoy King Cocaine Band.


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Iggy & the Stooges’ “Raw Power”, performed by Lord Horror with the Savoy King Cocaine Band. Courtesy Savoy Records (1987).


SS: Do you think classic Savoy tactics — fake Prince Charles quotes, recording redneck homophobic stars, plastering sleeves with satirical anti-Jew statements — could cause such outrage today in the 21st century?

DB: Political correctness runs rife through the mainstream media. Even given the Internet, sensitivities seem almost to be of a lower tolerance than at any time in the past. The media is hypocritically full of “outrages”. On certain subjects there is less freedom now than there has ever been. I mean that most sincerely. These days you cannot part your hair to the right without some crossbred cunt being “outraged”, creating headlines in the papers. I don’t think we could even get those particular record sleeves printed today. Then again, I’ve not seen art as satirically offensive as it is on our record sleeves. Racism, cold and hard, is the new rock ‘n’ roll.

SS: What part did you and Michael play in the actual recordings: as producers or musical directors? What was your approach to production?

DB: Leiber & Stoller at one end, and Rick Rubin at the other. It’s a general rule that usually it’s the producers who make successful records, not the artists. The 50s were full of one-hit producers who made great records but were a backroom force. I’ve diligently read the history books of rock ‘n’ roll, particularly in the byways of rythm’n’blues and rockabilly. Take Art Rube, the man responsible for the 18-month run of Little Richard hits on Speciality Records. Without his input, the records wouldn’t have sounded anything like as thrilling, something not lost on me when we set to do our own recording.


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Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight”, performed by PJ Proby with the Savoy Holman Hunt African Orchestra. Courtesy Savoy Records (1990).


We work obsessively at the tracks, coming back time and time again until we have an optimum mix that we have taken as far as we can. By careful editing and re-recording, we were able to keep control, eventually ending up with the all-round performance we had planned. That Flaubert saying, “Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work”, is true with records. You have to drop on the chance as it occurs. That’s a sweet guitar. That’s a good rimshot. Did the singer just belch, there? Keep the melody, but don’t let it get smooth. Do the unexpected. Come away from the studio with a record that contains elements of our personalities. So when Michael and I mesh together, at its best the result is “Hardcore” and “In The Air Tonight”, and at less than best, “The Mugwump Dance”. We won’t mention “Tainted Love”.

Nothing is slapdash, even though it may superficially appear to be. Essential to avoid is the Jools Holland effect, producing a poor phantom of the original. Our records have to power, squeak and thunder, have an independent life, and if they fall out of time and over the edge, so what?


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“Hardcore: M97002″, performed by PJ Proby. Courtesy Savoy Records.


SS: Why was the house style of the early Savoy records hi-NRG electro-type stuff?

DB: When we first started recording, there were no decent local musicians capable of playing the kind of antediluvian rock ‘n’ roll we wanted. Having to rely on technology was no bad thing. It gave us control over the way the records sounded. You couldn’t tell a drummer that he was drumming like a muppet and lacked timing, however you could adjust a knob on the desk to produce the most wonderful motherfucking drum Ragnarök. With a studio full of techno tricks, it was the ideal time to be making records. Rick Rubin’s work with the Beastie Boys — tracks like “Brass Monkey” — was an inspiration.

We gradually gathered about us a group of really good people who could come at the technology from both ends — Peter Saynor, a local musician-producer is tippety-top notch and has a rough edge, ideal for us on early stuff like “Heroes” and “Blue Monday”, cut in the 80s. With our covers Peter can interpret what we want, and help us to achieve something that adds to the original. He returned to help us with tracks on the Fenella album. Stephen Boyce-Buckley, our right-hand in the studio for the last twenty years, is one of the best engineers/arrangers in Manchester. He is classically accomplished. We used him like a ratting-dog for all the Fenella tracks. At the Strongroom, for the talking-book tracks, it was his ear we relied on for nuance, for the “space in between”, that helped Fenella get a grip on material that she wouldn’t normally have done. He has good people skills, great personal empathy and can get the best out of the most unlikely people and situations.

Ballardian: Savoy Books & Records

Back cover sleeve of “Jessie Matthews” for the Reverbstorm comic, vol. 1 no. 8. Design by John Coulthart.


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“Reverbstorm”, performed by “Jessie Matthews”. Courtesy Savoy Records (1994).


SS: “Reverbstorm” is probably my favourite Savoy release, a track that seems to reconcile the energy of Britain’s dancehall culture of the 60s and 70s with the momentum of the electronic scene of later years. Can you reveal the story behind it?

DB: That’s our take on it, too. But to me personally the marvel of “Reverbstorm” is Paul Temple’s lyrics. “Literate” and “exciting” are hard things to mesh. He did it with such unlaboured panache. Northern Soul was his drug of choice, of course. He’d absorbed it in a way that only a true enthusiast could. It was a spectacular sight to watch Temple’s Wagnerian Soul Fraternity (WSF) at a soul night at Wigan Casino. When Paul sallied out on the dance floor, ahead of his group, he proceeded to whirl like a cool dervish.

Classic Northern Soul dancing.

He came to us as a journalist from the Melody Maker, because he admired the records we did with Proby and wanted to offer us something as intense. He had the whole of “Reverbstorm” worked out on a marvellous little demo. We translated that, kicked up the high energy a bit by adding saxes and Jessie Matthews on vocals — after thirteen years staying cold, Jesse very kindly jumped out of her grave to sing for us. The record came easier than almost anything else we did. The song lit the fuel — the WSF ethos of “jumping the ether” — that drives the Reverbstorm comics, and gave them their name.

Ballardian: Savoy Books & Records SS: I was most surprised to learn that Savoy published fan books on bands like Led Zeppelin and AC/DC. I find it bizarre that you were addressing these rock behemoths in what seems a relatively straight and reverent fashion! How did these publications come about?

DB: We didn’t take them seriously. They occurred during a transient period between the first Savoy phase (Savoy Books Ltd) and the new Savoy post-1984, between bankruptcy and renaissance. We did the books to keep our hand in, slyly using them to push our own agenda. In David Bowie: Profile, we ran a photo of Harlan Ellison, suggesting in the caption that his short story “A Boy And His Dog” had been an influence on Diamond Dogs. In The Legendary Ted Nugent we ran a picture of Harlan, a Burne Hogarth Tarzan illustration, a photo of Hunter S Thompson and a set of Jim Cawthorn’s illustrations eulogising Nugent. Heathcote Williams and William Burroughs went into the AC/DC book. It was a way of retaining a slight balance on the bollocks we were producing. Omnibus Press, where Miles worked as an editor, and Proteus Books were the two publishers we worked most with. Bob Wise, the MD at Omnibus, looked over Miles’ shoulders the whole time, interfering and applying censorship. We had to leave out the more interesting pictures of Ted and AC/DC!

Ballardian: Savoy Books & Records

Right at the start of Savoy, I edited a cut-and-paste booklet called The Lives and Times of Captain Beefheart, with Jim Cawthorn’s lettering on the cover, for another publisher. Also a Frank Zappa booklet. These were closer to my and Michael’s tastes, and when packaging the later music books we tried to interest the publishing houses in Beefheart, always our main man — the only legitimate genius in rock — but no editor would commit. When we tried to get a deal for a PJ Proby biography, we were laughed out of every publishing house in London. Packaging books was never going to be our metier. It’s a shite-pit out there, and basically we ended up just adding to the crap. The heading on our Kiss book says it all — “The Savoy Kiss of Death” — absolute rubbish! We feel guilty that we were unable sell a good book on The Cramps, but it wasn’t for not trying. Although there are Cramps books now, at the time there wasn’t the remotest interest. We left the field with no regrets, and moved into actually doing the music.

SS: The Cramps are another of your rock ‘n’ roll touchstones. Why?

DB: They represented, as far as possible, the nearest thing that a modern band can come to the ultra-primitive genuine 50s rock ‘n’ roll music.

SS: I love The Cramps — first three albums only. I’m far less keen on their later career, when they traded on their horror-rock legacy and steadily diluted that primal appeal. I imagine you feel the same way!

DB: They never lost it as a live act, but as you point out, on record they ended up in a blind alley. As a band, they were never as convincing after allowing Nick Knox to exit. Bad judgement. Their later albums were rather embarrassing. They’d lost that sense of the real thing, and Lux’s lyrics were contrived and asinine, lacking his previous wonderful poetic gift for words. It’s probably unrealistic to expect any band to be creatively valid after their first couple of years. I’ve never managed to quite come up with a satisfactory explanation as to why this should be. Youth, testosterone perhaps, is the cause. Little Richard (a demon broken out of Hell) cut his major records in eighteen months. The next forty years were a creative dead end; nothing worked for him. That “magic” in his voice had fled. The Cramps lost it, but throughout their career, however unconvincing they became, they championed the Right Stuff. Lux’s and Ivy’s enthusiasm, and the legacy their musical knowledge have left us, remain a beautiful bounty. Can you imagine the Ramones being as articulate and knowing as the Cramps were?

Ballardian: Savoy Books & Records

Front-cover detail for “Garbageman” (Cramps cover), by Lord Horror with the Savoy Gustave Flaubert Salammbo Orchestra. Art by Kris Guidio.


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The Cramps’ “Garbageman”, performed by Lord Horror with the Savoy Gustave Flaubert Salammbo Orchetsra. Courtesy Savoy Records (1990).


The Cramps retained mystery. A move to Europe where they’ve always had a big following would have made financial sense, but Ivy cannily understood that half the nature of their appeal was their absence from the everyday. Their decision to stay in downtown LA, forging an intriguing rock ‘n’ roll myth about themselves amongst legends of the starlost — the Three Stooges, Republic serials and The Little Rascals — was the right one. On his trip to Los Angeles, Ballard commented that he found LA a “scary place”. Ideal for the Cramps, then. What would Ballard have made of the Cramps, if his allegedly tin ear hadn’t got in the way of accessing them? And the reverse — what would the Cramps have made of Crash? Being film buffs, they very likely caught Cronenberg’s film of Crash. I can’t believe they wouldn’t have loved it. They knew what they were doing and why they were doing it, what to touch and what not to touch, and to home in on the essence. In their heyday they were a key to unlocking my imagination. “The Human Fly” and “New Kind of Kick” would be the background accompaniment to Lord Horror as he made his septic way through the teeming Judenhäuser.

SS: Do you agree with Dave Mitchell, who wrote in A Serious Life that “the musical equivalent of Savoy’s programme is the early Mothers of invention”? If not, what is?

DB: Well, certainly the Mothers are an influence. They mixed-and-matched in a unique manner and had a sardonic edge that was most refreshing. Zappa took Varèse, Stravinsky, Don & Dewey, The Penguins, and conjured an original hybrid. It is a brew to intoxicate the most questing. I preferred the early Mothers to say, Hendrix, or The Who. Hendrix was a showman and a great musician (impressive, cultivating ‘Purple Haze’ from Philip José Farmer’s Night of Light), but those Mothers’ albums had more meat on their bone. They had an other-world quality to them; a nice line in cod operatics that punched the point home, too: “A world of secrets on the earth”, delivered in high-pitched pachuko weasellings. The first tour of the original Mothers was a revelation, as impressive as fuck. They stretched what you knew. So theatrically avant-garde and freaky and quite New Worlds. As a group they mirrored, in their oddity, speculative fiction writers like Spinrad, Farmer, Sladek and Disch. A Dada/Surrealism. “The Heat Death of the Universe” and “The Jungle Rot Kid on the Nod” are New Worlds titles that could have come off any Mothers album. Zappa’s outfit was musically sophisticated and complex, yet down and earthy, and nodded to the future while being conscious of the past. Zappa name-checked Kafka’s “In The Penal Colony” the way Moorcock would George Meredith’s The Amazing Marriage. Dave Mitchell got it right, but underneath the 60s freakery was, you know, 50s rock ‘n’ roll, and my lifetime’s obsession with Larry Williams’ Speciality Records.

Ballardian: Savoy Books & Records

Interior artwork by David Britton from the Captain Beefheart booklet, circa 1972.

SS: You’ve said that the dictate of Savoy Records is “deconstruction, angst and the Spirit of the furies”. Can you elaborate?

DB: Just a fanciful way of saying that good records can often come out of conflict. Decades, styles-in-flux, misfits, jammed together, upsetting the unwritten tenets of musical genres, marrying the old and the new. The true spirit of the furies was P J Proby. Add to that the crossover between maverick literature and maverick music. I’m sick to death of music hacks referencing Colin MacInnes’s Absolute Beginners, or wretched Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity being toted as some kind of valid rock ‘n’ roll literature. The cross between pulp and rock and maverick literature is seldom touched on in a way that is illuminating, yet there’s a whole deeper world here. It’s always surprised me the worlds of pulp and music don’t interact more than they do.

In our records we try to carry an enthusiasm for the mysterious emissaries from the world of pulp — Cornell Woolrich, Clark Ashton Smith, Boris Vian, Hope Hodgson, Alfred Jarry as well as Planet Stories, the Olympia Press, Black Mask, B-movie westerns and the Saturday morning serials. In all this subterranean material, there’s a correlation with the underbelly of rock ‘n’ roll, particularly classic rock ‘n’ roll. One of my ideas was to make this apparent, to charge it into the fabric of our records. In our version of “Anarchy in the UK”, Harlan Ellison jostles with TS Eliot. We have PJ Proby saying, on the lead-in to “Jim Dandy”: “My name is Jimmy, I’ve been around a long, long time”. Proby comes on as Walter Cronkite on the Lord Horror recording. “Bumble Bee” by Laverne Baker rears up in “Shoot Yer Load”. Tiger Tim is sampled snuffling in the background thunder. Aubrey Beardsley is pictured on the centre label of the “I’m On Fire” 12″. A Frank Frazetta’s illustration of Buster Crabbe is on “Hardcore”, a photograph of C L Moore on “Raw Power”. On the sleeves there are quotes from the likes of Kierkegaard, Spinoza and Shelley. A bit of the literary underworld and a bit of the overworld carried into our records in the way they look and sound.

This history of yesterday is important to us, but we don’t altogether “live in the past”. We’re not blind to the enjoyables of now. Iggy and Lydon remain as great on stage as they ever were. The White Stripes, Imelda May and young Amy Winehouse, not sounding an echo of someone else’s hard won individuality, are brilliant. I’ve never read better books than Blood Meridian and The Kindly Ones. Jimmy Ballard and Lux Interior might have left us, but Mike Harrison and Mike Moorcock are still producing. So right there is the best reason to carry on living and working.

SS: Looking back at the history of Savoy Records, what stands out in your mind? What are you most proud of?

DB: The answer is: I’m proud that we accomplished such successful records as a by-product of our main aim. We followed on from Moorcock’s idea, in The Condition of Muzak, of Jerry Cornelius fictionally making records… To have Lord Horror making records in real-time was an amusing notion — and didn’t he do it with some panache?


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David Bowie’s “Heroes”, performed by PJ Proby. Courtesy Savoy Records (1986).



+ Savoy Books.
+ Savoy Records.

..:: Previously on Ballardian:
+ “Driven by Anger”: An Interview with Michael Butterworth (the Savoy interviews, part 1)
+ Ballardian/Savoy Microfiction competition winners
+ James Cawthorn, RIP: 1929-2008
+ Ballardcraft: Ballard/Lovecraft
+ ‘Get Lost’: Burroughs on Curtis
+ Bunker Tales
+ Horror Panegyric
+ A Home and a Grave: Mike Holliday on The Unlimited Dream Company
+ Angry Old Men: Michael Moorcock on J.G. Ballard

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One Response »

  1. [...] Well, that was certainly a thing. I was a teenage Joy Division/New Order obsessive, and for many years I’ve found covers of them inherently hilarious. There were two legendary obscurities that could not be found in the record shops at the far edge of the world under any circumstances, and still remain so obscure you won’t even find copies on YouTube. I present for your delight the Savoy Hitler Youth Band combining “Blue Monday” with Springsteen’s “Cadillac Ranch” and the shuddering majesty of P.J. Proby’s truly remarkable take on “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. You can thank me later. [...]

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