Friday, November 30, 2007

I Grow Old ...

Paul Fox, guitarist with the Ruts, one of the favourite bands of my degenerate days, has died. The Ruts were a powerful band, whose songs "Secret Soldiers" and "Dope For Guns" are as relevant and prophetic as ever. Alas neither are on Youtube - I'll have to dig out my old Peel tapes.

Interesting to read in the obituary that he and frontman Malcolm Owen, just like Joe Strummer, were hippies with haircuts.

He moved to Hayes, Middlesex, and became a professional musician while living in a hippy commune in Anglesey in the early 1970s with Malcolm Owen. The pair formed a progressive rock band, Aslan, playing gigs around North Wales. In 1976 he met up again with Owen in London, who had cut off his long hair and was raving about the punk scene.

"Then, later in the 60s, there was the hippy thing, although I don’t think I was ever as much of a hippy as Joe, who went the whole way. Then the squatting. We shared things in common .. I was completely amazed to see Joe at the 100 Club, with his blonde hair, all punked out, totally unlike this hippy from before. It was an amazing transformation ..."

Malcolm Owen took the whole thing perhaps a little too seriously, adopting the stage presence and singing style I term "patient refuses to take his medication" (Cockney Rejects' I Am Not A Fool being the locus classicus), and dying of a heroin overdose just as the band were becoming noticed. But in the swirling, flanged chords of the chappie with the hair you can detect a trace of lost prog-rock gods Aslan. I suppose Faerie Queene of Twee Liz Frazer was a little young to replace Malcolm, but it's a pity she didn't. The guitar's perfect for her voice. And what a contrast that would have been.

Hat-tip - stroppyblog