The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Grit In One’s Third Eye: Robyn Hitchcock’s Baker’s Dozen
Julian Marszalek , February 11th, 2013 11:14

English songwriter and frontman of The Soft Boys, The Venus Three and The Egyptians, Robyn Hitchcock leads Julian Marszalek through his most played LPs


Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced?
Jimi Hendrix got going on the strength of three hit singles. He had a terrific reputation very early on and he was one of the first musician’s musicians. All The Beatles, The Animals, Eric Clapton and everybody else came down to marvel at Jimi Hendrix and get jealous. They all felt threatened by him he was so good. But he was a friendly chap and they befriended him but he obviously raised the bar.

Album culture hadn’t quite taken off yet and he was launched as a pop act to be sold to 12-year-olds. I guess I was 14 when ‘Hey Joe’ came out but they worked as pop records and you could see what footage there was of him performing and of course he was amazing on Top Of The Pops. ‘Are You Experienced’ is one of the most exciting tracks ever recorded. I love that backwards drum and the way Hendrix used backwards guitar. The Beatles and The Byrds had been using it but Jimi Hendrix was absolutely masterful at that. His backwards solos were just to die for! Or to die with, or to die of!

And ‘Third Rock From The Sun’, it’s like ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ where he had bits that stretched out, so on your pop LP you could get kind of “well, here’s the freak-out everybody! This is where it goes off!” and then you get the tracks when Chas Chandler said "right! You’ve had three-and-a-half minutes. That’ll do!”

The Beatles never really lost it because of McCartney who always plumped for pop over rock and the others resented it but he kept them, to some extent, straight. You know, not just doing these endless liquid jams that John and George and Yoko would’ve gone off into. Pop became very uncool in ’67 when John Peel kicked in. He really didn’t play anything out of the charts. It was like the Eloi and the Moorlocks in The Time Machine but I’m not quite sure which is which, really!

But pop then began to be seen as something very superficial, like McCartney’s songs, and rock was the “serious shit, man”. Rock was the people who began to take themselves seriously. They were the people who took Dylan to heart.

Before ’67 you couldn’t launch yourself with an LP, it had to be with a single; you had to be a pop act. Groups like The Action or Zoot Money’s Dantelian’s Chariot and all those sort of people, if you didn’t get into the Top 20 then you weren’t visible. And then after that, for people like Fairport Convention or The Grateful Dead or the people that John Peel played, an LP was enough. Singles were then for squares. Led Zeppelin didn’t release a single and they launched as an albums band and they couldn’t have happened before they started in ’68.

What’s great is that this is all historic now and we’re now sat in smoke-free pub in Camden wracking our brains about what order this all happened in!