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.
“Lost at sea, acting like you have a plan/Pretending you can see the land/If only was true/Only child/It’s all gone quiet”
Astor: Donald Crowhurst was an around-the-world sailor who ended up faking the whole thing; there was a brilliant book about him that my friend Mathew Sawyer lent me. In the end, Crowhurst became completely delusional and resorted to mystical writing to make sense of how wrong it had all gone.
I love what Jonny, James, and Franic do with the end bit—a kind of mini psych freak out. My favourite San Francisco album has to be Moby Grape’s debut; it’s got 13 songs on it, and it’s half an hour long. Plus on the first issue of the album, Don Stevenson gave the photographer the finger because he was getting bored with the photo session. But no one from the record company noticed and the album was withdrawn, and a new cover, with the offending finger airbrushed out, was released. Now, of course, it’s the airbrushed one which is rare!
Moby Grape boiled down their live stretch outs to make pop. Another favourite in that world is the original of the Grateful Dead’s “Dark Star”—2:44 long and originally released as a single.
Some well-groomed psych freakouts: