There are genuine bona fide great talents out there; musicians who drip musicality and are technically brilliant with an easy ease. Dave Graham is one such individual, a composer and multi-instrumentalist, and I met him in 1998 when he was selling sheet music in the basement of a Glasgow Music Shop.
I put an advert up. Dave liked it because I mentioned liking both Frank Zappa and Primus.
We tried to get band together, but – our efforts, despite several long struggles and rehearsal rooms filled with musicians (and two drummers), came to naught. So, we became an electro-pop duo by default.
Thanks to Glasgow DJ and music promoter, Jill Mingo, we got picked up by a Viennese Record Label, Angelika Köhlermann and released an album on CD. The label was founded by Solo Artist and Designer, Gerhard Potuznik and Cartoonist and Art Professor, Tex Rubinowitz (who together performed as Mäuse).
This was followed by an ep release on vinyl by Munich label, Erkrankung Durch Musique a label founded by DJ Mooner – [a.k.a Emanuel Günther] who with Splank! brought the world, Zombie Nation. Yeah. That Zombie Nation.
CNUT toured a little, supported The Soft Boys, had a few more releases – but then – in 2004 due to Dave and myself living in different cities (Glasgow and London), we kinda went into hibernation ~ which remains to this day. We haven’t quit. We haven’t split.
We’ve just…having a rest.
This is one way to learn German.
If you know anything about Scotland’s Club Scene, then you’ll know about Optimo Espacio and JD Twitch & JG Wilkes. Optimo was an amazing club and I’m not a clubber, at all – which in a sense, is very Optimo. Their ethos has always been whatever works, regardless of genre and the club has been a lone and strong voice in the UK Club Scene, being proudly pro-live music and anti-superstar DJ Culture..
I met Keith McIvor (Twitch) through Stuart McLean and made my first debut at the club way back in…. 99? 2000? I can’t remember...with Stuart, performing beat poetry as Dave Peron (with Stuart as Jeff Santana providing BEATS). I remember a young and dashing Dr Gavin Mitchell being in the crowd that night, notable for his Hawaiian shirt.
Anyhoo, I went on to perform in Optimo plenty of times over the years, either in CNUT, or as Dave Peron…or MCing their Hallowe’en Party (The Legendary Optimo Espookio) or as ‘The Angry German‘.
This one needs an explanation. Or an excuse. Maybe even an apology? No. I knew what I was doing and almost twenty years later and the ever-looming threat of xenophobic-fuelled national suicide (Brexit), my burlesque WWII fetish routine was entirely justified.
It had come to my notice, back in the innocent days of 2000, that The UK Plc was sliding ever deeper into a kind of post-imperial fugue state, obsessed with wrapping everything in the Union Flag. The only thing seeming to get the pulse racing was a look back to past glories, rather than looking forward to…progress? greater equality? opportunity? Nothing epitomised this more than nostalgia for WWII. It annoyed me that the British psyche was so fragile that it propped itself up by picking on the Germans, who were our friends now (and were far more actively fighting far-right ideology, as opposed to the British Tabloids, which were actively promoting far-right ideology). So, I wrote a song which featured a kind of comedy Hitler, mocking the sadistic audience into spanking him with the taunt, ‘You need your Angry Germans!‘
The full song featured in Mount Florida’s 2000 album ‘Arrived Phoenix‘ but a poppier, simpler and spankier version, Yo La Poptimo was often performed by Twitch & I, much to the delight of crowds, but (with time) decreasing enthusiasm from JD Twitch. Even though it was constantly requested and released as an EP and sold out, there were no more pressings as Twitch feared becoming famous for a novelty nazi spanking pop song.
Fair enough. At the time I was a tad crestfallen, but I’m sure Twitch was right. Even back then it was ripe to be misunderstood by the satirically challenged.
And if it did become Number 1 in the Hit Parade back in 2000, then I don’t doubt that in the present day it would be playing on a loop in Nigel Farage’s Sex Dungeon.
Never before in the history of creative endeavour hath anyone deserved less credit for something they did. That’s me. I’m in a band and I’ve almost done nothing.
Tauchsieder is Stuart McLean (Frenchbloke) and Ben Hayes (Soundhog), both legends of ‘Bastard Pop’ (remixing tracks like unethical animal breeders). Together, they decided to make music together as Tauchsieder. Which is German for immersion heater. Stuart, needing some sound to footer with, asked me for some recordings. This I did, wandering around Glasgow with my stereo-mic. I also handed over mini-discs (remember them?) of interviews.
The result was an album released by Castles in Space called Herd The Shadows. It was released on CD with an accompanying handsome 7 inch picture disc.
It’s a sign of Stuart’s generosity and Ben’s fatigue in the face of arguing with Stuart that I was part of Tauchsieder at all. Here’s a photo of the band at ‘The Dark Outside’, described astutely by comedian and presenter Antonio Andalcio as ‘That’s a collection of the World’s Most Upsetting Men‘. And he should know.