The Big Sleep: Disquiet Night

big-sleep348“It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever,” Michael McKean correctly observed in the 1984 film This Is Spinal Tap. More than two decades later, the Big Sleep—in all possibility, The Loudest Band In Brooklyn—straddles the equally fine line between the silliness and utter sharpness of Rob Reiner’s gut-busting, rock-mocking classic. First and foremost: the volume.

“The main thing for me is physical impact,” says guitarist Danny Barria of his group’s much-lauded live presence. “Not just having people hear it, but having them feel it.”

Continue reading “The Big Sleep: Disquiet Night”

Bon Savants: Mixed Blessings

bon-savantshorThom Moran feels like a born-again musician. After recovering from a near-fatal stab wound suffered during a mugging in Boston seven years ago, he began to grasp his life’s ambition.

“There’s something to the stereotype of near-death experiences really putting into focus how short life is,” says the 30-year-old Bon Savants singer/guitarist. “You can either do a lot of things OK or a few things really well. I finished school and decided I’m gonna play music.”

Continue reading “Bon Savants: Mixed Blessings”

My Bloody Valentine: Kevin Shields Sets The “Loveless” Record Straight


Loveless isn’t simply My Bloody Valentine’s shoegazing masterpiece; the 1991 album is also the basis for one of alt-rock’s greatest yarns. It’s been reported that MBV leader Kevin Shields spent three years and a half-million dollars painstakingly piecing together Loveless in the studio, bankrupting the band’s label, Creation Records, in the process. On the 15th anniversary of the LP’s release, Shields tells MAGNET that things aren’t always as they seem.

The two things we’re really known for are spending Creation’s money and making records with loads of overdubs on them. The exact truth is this: About a month before we started Loveless, Creation pulled away from Rough Trade distribution and said, “Our contract is up with you. We don’t want to sign again.” By the time we resumed recording in September of ’89, Creation was already bankrupt.

Continue reading “My Bloody Valentine: Kevin Shields Sets The “Loveless” Record Straight”

Nikki Sudden 1956-2006

nikki-suudden3001The first time I met Nikki Sudden, he was writing for ZigZag magazine. He came down to Birmingham, England, in 1980 to write an article on the Subterranean Hawks, my band with singer Steve Duffy (who’d later co-found Duran Duran and form the Lilac Time). Nikki said to me, “If the Hawks ever split up, we should form a band together.” He turned up with his guitar one day on my doorstep shortly after the Hawks had split up. He was that kind of guy, always there and ready to play at any opportunity.

I’d just got this band together called the Bible Belt, and somehow things came together in a strange way when Nikki asked me to play guitar on his second solo album. (The title of it is The Bible Belt. Ha!) We hung out together, started writing songs, listening to the Faces and Stones. I guess somewhere around then, the Jacobites were born.

Continue reading “Nikki Sudden 1956-2006”

Grant McLennan 1958-2006


Grant McLennan died May 6, in Brisbane, Australia. I met Grant in that city in 1977 when I saw the first performance of the Go-Betweens, the band he founded with Robert Forster. Grant and I were both learning how to play bass at the time. We found we had a lot in common musically, but it wasn’t until three years later, when he came to stay a month with me in New York City, that we became close friends. The singer in my band asked him to join us, but I knew that wouldn’t happen. Even though the Go-Betweens didn’t have a label or even a drummer at that time, it didn’t matter; Grant knew that he had a chance to create something unique with Robert.

Continue reading “Grant McLennan 1958-2006”