Wednesday, April 22, 2020

"I don't know where we actually felt we belonged"

Earlier this month, writing about Kim Gordon sitting in for Iggy Pop on 6 Music, I began by noting how she and her fellow members of Sonic Youth have never been shy of enthusing about the band's influences and their own individual passions, thereby opening fans' ears to artists they might well not otherwise have come across. Bush Tetras are a case in point. From the moment Thurston Moore singled out their debut 7" EP 'Too Many Creeps' as one of his favourite 38 songs of all time in a 2014 feature for now-defunct mag The Fly, I was hooked.

Sonic Youth's musical debt to the band - New York-based pioneers formed by guitarist Pat Place after she left James Chance's more volatile and uncompromising no wave outfit Contortions - might not be immediately obvious, but listen to 'Too Many Creeps' and there's surely no denying that Gordon borrowed Cynthia Sley's "I don't wanna" for 'Kool Thing'. Bush Tetras' wider influence and impact is also beyond dispute - it was prominently discernible in LCD Soundsystem and the brief Big Apple-centred punk funk boom of the early noughties and has been rightly recognised in relation to feminist punk. And all of that despite the fact that they didn't put out a full-length record until 1997, nearly 20 years after forming, having been on hiatus between 1983 and 1995.

To mark the 40th anniversary of the release of 'Too Many Creeps', Audrey Golden has spoken to drummer Dee Pop for Louder Than War. Their conversation covers everything from the New York club scene of the early 1980s, the hair-raising story behind Bush Tetras signing to Ed Bahlman's 99 Records (which also released music by Glenn Branca, ESG and Liquid Liquid), Bad Brains being pissed off because they "did not want to open up for women", Pop's recollection of playing the Hacienda with The Gun Club while recovering from alcohol poisoning, why the experience of recording that 1997 LP (Beauty Lies) led to a second hiatus, and the difficulties of bridging gaps when members' music tastes sharply diverge.

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