NATHAN McGOUGH, MANAGER OF HAPPY MONDAYS – Song For Ewe

“SONG FOR EWE”
with NATHAN McGOUGH, MANAGER of
HAPPY MONDAYS

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“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. Today’s guest is the charismatic former manager of Happy Mondays who chime with my teenage years, and son of a man whose name resonates with my childhood ones – poet Roger McGough – recently-ish appearing as an indomitable talking head on the BBC4 indie doc series “Music For Misfits” and with his finger in many pies – he’s currently got a production company making feature films and docs and is producing three movies with screenplays by Irvine Welsh (of Trainspotting fame), Matt Greenhalgh (Control) and Paul Viragh (Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll) – it’s Mr. Nathan McGough!

After watching “Music For Misfits” I found Nathan amongst mutual friends on FB and immediately engaged in a compelling conversation, so let’s dive straight in…

“I’d like to write a short piece about experiencing the debut Velvet Underground album in 1967 as a 7 year old kid. I know VU have been done to death but i think this offers fresh outlook…Over to you”

Nick: Hi Nathan – VU go for it – perfect fit for Velvet Sheep one of reasons for the fanzine name!

“Fabulous! Can’t believe VU is wide open, too obvious for the cool kids perhaps so a golden goal for me…

In 1964 my father Roger McGough was the first man in Liverpool to experience LSD, it was brought by Allen Ginsberg who’d declared Liverpool the centre of global consciousness. Ginsberg landed in the city like a shockwave, he came to have a great time, and as a poet himself his intention was to turn on the Liverpool poets to the psychedelic experience also happening Stateside. His influence was immense.

The following year, 1965, Roger was smoking pot with Bob Dylan at the Adelphi hotel. Why? Because everyone came to Liverpool, and as somebody once said…. ‘It was the best of times, it was the best of times’

So let me take you to the bridge…

In 1967 dad visited New York city and what happened there I do not know but he returned with a record – a white double gatefold record, with a banana on the cover, and inside were these great photos of people having… a great time.

This ladies and gentleman was ‘Andy Warhol presents The Plastic Exploding Inevitable’ in other words the debut album from The Velvet Underground & Nico

As a seven year old child the names Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Mo Tucker meant nothing to me, but I remember feeling engaged by these names on the sleeve, and I was intrigued to know what was actually going on in the photographs, it was a world I didn’t understand and who was this guy Andy Warhol anyway? But the music – the music – it was captivating and it held my attention completely. The droning viola in Venus in Furs, the swaggering pop attitude of ‘Run Run Run’, and Nico’s plaintiff drawl on ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’ – it was all so mesmerising.

But I digress.

My featured track is from this album and is the most beautiful song ever penned, it’s innocence is shimmering, it’s glockenspiel chime is utterly magical. It’s ‘Sunday Morning’. And the reason this particular song is so resonant to my childhood is that every Sunday morning from 1967 through to 1969 I would climb out of bed, head straight to the dansette and start my day with this song.

I hope you love it as much as I do”

THANKS NATHAN, AND SORRY FOR HOW LONG IT’S TAKEN TO GET THIS ONLINE. MUCH RESPECT TO EWE.

Author: Nick Hutchings

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