Swervedriver’s Adam Franklin Wants You Right Now: The Jesus And Mary Chain’s “Snakedriver”

How do you best the anti-guitar-god bluster of arguably the most sonically bold and melodically sophisticated band of England’s shoegaze era? If you’re Swervedriver’s unflappable former leader, Adam Franklin, you don’t even try. You simply work off the various templates for greatness set forth by your former outfit, which, quite frankly, spewed out enough novel ideas to sustain a half-dozen indie-rock careers. Which brings us to Franklin’s latest, I Could Sleep For A Thousand Years (Second Motion), whose initial tracks were hammered out in New York late last year with his newly minted backup outfit, Bolts Of Melody. Sleep is Franklin’s most well-rounded collection to date, balancing the more laid-back guitar balladry and pop sensibilities of his last two solo albums with the ornery, volatile spark of vintage Swervedriver largely missing on those efforts. Franklin will be guest-editing all week. Read our brand new Q&A with him as well as our 2009 Lost Classics post on Swervedriver’s Mezcal Head.

Franklin: This Jesus And Mary Chain song contains what for me is one of the greatest lines ever in a rock ‘n’ roll song, the one which goes: “And the photographs of God I bought have almost fade away.” It creates a whole kinda back story to a song that on the surface appears to be just one hell of a prowling, sexual groove: the aural equivalent of the swing of a lithe girl’s hips, if you will. But then there’s this line about the photographs. Every time I hear it, I picture William and Jim Reid in some place like Florence or Jerusalem, where some local has come up to try and sell them religious artefacts. William’s pretty taken by something this guy’s offering: photographs, reputedly of God! The guy’s haggling for a hefty price and Jim doesn’t wanna get fleeced, so he’s deliberating over the cost and wants reassurances that not only are they genuine pictures of God but that they will also most certainly last a lifetime and maybe even be a sound investment. And not fade away. And what’s happened? They bought them and now they’ve only gone and faded away—what a drag. The other thing I love about this great line is that having created it, the writer had to make the line scan into the song and so instead of “faded away” it’s simply “fade away.” Of course redemption of sorts comes in the last line of the verse: “Everything just passes by/I thought it always would/But then I kissed her.”


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