SONG FOR EWE
with JEFF NELSON of
MINOR THREAT & DISCHORD RECORDS
“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day.
Our guest today is the drummer of Washington DC hardcore legends MINOR THREAT and co-founder with band-mate Ian McKaye of DISCHORD RECORDS, the influential label behind releases by Faith, Void, Fugazi, Dag Nasty, Shudder To Think, Nation of Ulysses, the MAKE-UP and Chain & The Gang – Mr. JEFF NELSON…
Also the man behind Adult Swim Records and Pedestrian Press, Jeff is a keen collector of JEEP Wagoneers and student of Victorian architecture. And it turns out a super nice person.
A while back I bought a Dischord sweater (last worn on the set of my CBBC show “Help! My Supply Teacher Is Magic”) and a red “Flex Your Head” t-shirt (the first record I heard to feature Minor Threat).
The customs duty on them turned out to be more than the goods, and I thought i’d drop Pedestrian Press a line to enquire if this was normal. I was gob-smacked to receive an apologetic and kindly reply from Jeff Nelson himself, who was pleased that I was walking around South London emblazoned in Dischord clobber.
He’s always been a true hero to me, since I heard those Minor Threat records (some time after release, and working backwards from Fugazi “In On The Killtaker”), since I realised that it was ok to feel out of step, have a skinhead, be well-intentioned, angry but liberal and pacifist. I even thought I might try being straight-edge while at university, but alcoholic beverages were too alluring. Inspired by the Teen Idles (from the “Flex Your Head” record also) I tried drinking milk more frequently, but it made my eczema flare right up. Nonetheless, the Dischord label is one i’ve identified with over the years like no other. Only last year the Chain & The Gang record “Minimum Rock & Roll” was my album of the year.
I stayed in touch with Jeff and was honoured when recently he agreed to choose a “song for ewe”…
Over to Jeff:
“A couple years ago I was in a large antique mall, being serenaded by a typical “oldies” pop radio station, I heard an unfamiliar ‘60s pop song, which made me stop in my tracks. I moved closer to one of the speakers up in the rafters, so I could listen more closely. The melody line was great, and the harmonies and arrangement were truly wonderful. I wrote down some of the words from the chorus, and Googled them when I got home.
I learned the song was “Maybe I Know” by Leslie Gore. I bought it on iTunes, and couldn’t stop listening to it, paying particular attention to the harmonies. I learned it was quite a big hit in 1964, (at which point I was 2 years old). I was familiar with one of her other hits, “It’s My Party”, from 1965, but somehow I’d never heard “Maybe I Know”, which I think is much better.
Anyway, it’s always nice to discover a great new song, even if it’s 45 years old!”
THANKS TO JEFF NELSON
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