Pete Astor has been a staple of the British indie scene since the early ’80s, fronting a diverse number of outfits including the Loft, the Weather Prophets, the Wisdom Of Harry and Ellis Island Sound. He launched a solo career in 1990, as well, and is also a senior lecturer in music at the University of Westminster. Astor’s latest release is One For The Ghost (Tapete). He’ll be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week, writing about the origins of these songs and how they relate to the LP’s theme of past and future, complete with illustrations he created with Susanne Ballhausen.
Astor: As a teen fan of Slade and T.Rex, I didn’t know about old music, source music. But one Saturday afternoon the radio was broadcasting The London Rock And Roll Show. Though the drifting signal, I heard Little Richard singing “Lucille.” I’d never heard anything like it in my life. It was the line that went back from my glam-rock heroes; I still loved Slade, but this was something very potent.
This musical epiphany informed that bit of me that has always adored the perfect dumb simplicity of original rock ‘n’ roll, and, even dumber, rockabilly. Wall-to-wall generic rockabilly is sometimes all that will do for a day’s listening. So, when the Fall got a rocking drummer (pictured between Riley and Smith) in around 1979, it was the perfect fit for me.
Making One For The Ghost, I also had the Wave Pictures rhythm section, so I could finally make a song that would have the propulsion it needed. I also think the potency of the groove lifted James Hoare on the guitar to great places—exactly the places he would sometimes reach when we stretched out playing live. I feel very happy that we managed to capture that.
Post-punk “Golden Boy” rockabilly madness: