Quite rarely, The Clean have changed up the instrumentation on 'Point That Thing'. It's always pretty special.
1999 in Dunedin, with a piano lead, as captured on the Slush Fund EP:
And 22 years later one nice day at the King's Arms, with a funky little keyboard and Hamish on lead vocals:
Richard Langston also sent through his favourite Clean songs …
1 Getting Older
2 Anything Could Happen
3 Point That Thing Somewhere Else
7 Too Much Violence
8 Twist Top
9 In The Dream Life U Need a Rubber Soul
11 At The Bottom
13 I Can’t Stand
That last is, of course, a Velvet Underground song of which The Clean play a blinding cover version. Mt Maunganui, 2014 …
Their live version incorporates, to a greater or lesser degree on the night, their own song, ‘Quickstep’, which they’ve been playing since 1981:
Great column Russell (not like your others aren't...)
pic from 100% Pure NZ site – City Walks’ eclectic Old Town walk.
..and when you’ve finished pounding the pavements of Dunedin
you can hear Pavement pounding away at ‘Oddity’
Damn time difference! Missed writing something for this. Oh well. I'll cut and paste my two cents.
It's hard to be succinct in describing how goddamn awesome the Clean are, and their importance to New Zealand music, but one of my favourite anecdotes comes from when they briefly postponed their break-up to open for The Fall at their Christchurch gigs in the winter of 1982. If there's any reason to hold off splitting up that surely is the best reason, right?
Hamish was interviewed in The Press at the time and was asked about the Clean's brief return for these gigs. He told David Swift:
“[We] wanted to make some money to buy some land near Nelson."
I always wondered about this remark. Was he half serious or just taking the piss? A few years ago I asked him about it. He said it was a little dig at the expense of all the bands going all in with the paisley shirts and 60s psychedelia at the time, when the Clean had already been there, done that. The only next step was to take things further, pack it in and join a hippie commune. I just thought this was hilarious and kind of epitomized the attitude of the band. They weren't worried about image, or style or making money, they just wanted to make amazing music that was both challenging and new.
Producer Jack Endino once said that "some bands get on stage and they're entertainers, they have a schtick. And some bands get up there and they rock, they're up there to rock out." We all know where the Clean land on this scale, they fuckin' rocked.
As side notes:
If we're including covers, we should not forget Wingtip Sloat's cover of "Anything Can Happen" as it's probably the earliest cover of the Clean from a band outside NZ.
Also Comet Gains' cover of "Beatnik" is memorable for me. First time I ever saw Comet Gain they opened for the Clean in Brighton. Fantastic show all around and probably only about 20 people there to enjoy it.
Is the top one a Ronnie? Anyway, we have one (Fiona was much better at keeping these things than me) and it’s gorgeous.
so much talent in one ensemble
Absolutely. How many bands are there where every member draws and paints?
If we’re including covers, we should not forget Wingtip Sloat’s cover of “Anything Can Happen” as it’s probably the earliest cover of the Clean from a band outside NZ.
Oh – that’s a pretty cool version!
But Australian comedy cowpunk band The Johnnys were playing the same song as early as 1985 (they toured here and one of their members was a Kiwi). It was quite a rockin’ version. They weren’t a subtle band.
I couldn’t find a video, but one of their members, Spencer P. Jones, played it as a duo with Gordon Gano(!) in 2014:
Watch out for a great tribute video from Stuart Page, that specially features Peter Gutteridge. There’s a terrific feature documentary waiting to be made, and Stu would be the one. Gawd I wish – anything could happen.
It was also confirmation that I should go home and start writing about the music still coming of out Dunedin – the seed of six issues of a fanzine called Garage
- Richard Langston
Step right up
Sit right down
Read all about it
a local village green preservation society?
Announced tonight at The Silver Scrolls
They didn’t use the GIF (above) that I amateurishly cobbled together – but it looks good on the website. the less is more version works as well.
I can highly recommend the Slush Fund version of Point That Thing and the version of Fish off Syd's Pink Wiring System (https://theclean.bandcamp.com/track/fish-syds-pink-wiring-system-version) in a single playlist on repeat during a long overseas flight.
Both versions discovered on these very pages I believe a while ago
Giving The Clean an award seems like giving a great racehorse a box of chocolates. And yet here we are. I think it's safe to say that 35 years ago most then APRA members thought they were an unprofessional joke, the antithesis of how to go about "making it". I hope David, Hamish and Bob enjoy this surreal moral victory in their own fabulously bemused way.
They are the living embodiment of the genius of rock and roll, of what makes it different from jazz or classical or Tuvan throat singing. Richard and I are of one mind on "Getting Older". That song achieves immortality on the riff alone but the way it finally hooks with the black hilarity of "Why don't you do yourself in?", well, that is how the business is done kids. And as Ian points out, their greatest true accolade is probably Pavement's "Slanted and Enchanted". Go listen to "Box Elder" and marvel how musical colonialism suddenly cuts both ways.
They are New Zealand's greatest band. Three unkempt music fans from nowhere who taught each other how to do the hoochie coo. I look forward to the next gig as much as ever.
That song achieves immortality on the riff alone
Astro Children, Lucy Hunter, and Billy TK perform 'Getting Older'
Thank you Jonathan. My long abandoned Billy TK/David Kilgour Venn diagram is now complete.
slap it on the diagramophone...
My long abandoned Billy TK/David Kilgour Venn diagram is now complete.
Sets and drugs and rock and roll
Were huddled together in a bottomless hole
With a hidehi and a foderol
With a hidehi and a foderol
it's not The Clean - but viral strands of it exist in their DNA, I'm sure...
Rob, there are things bubbling under... definitely not something to be sneezed at 😉
Yay! if there’s anything we can do to keep it bubbling …
apologies but presume it's ok to add this -