“SONG FOR EWE”
with BRUCE BRAND of THEE HEADCOATS
“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.
At the end of the “Elephant” album by the White Stripes, at the tail of the last song “Well, It’s True That We Love One Another”, guest vocalist Holly Golightly asks our guest today if he’d like a cup of tea. Well, I would love to share a cup of tea with this fella. From Sheerness (not far from my native Gravesend and Medway traipsing roots), a regular at the Toe Rag studios where Jack & Meg dropped into for “Elephant”, a deer-stalking, tub-thumping, garage-rocking, sideburns toting, rooting tooting tail-gunner for Chatham punk legends Thee Headcoats.
This man kept Billy Childish on the metronomic straight and narrow with not just them but many others including (but not exclusive to) The Pop Rivets, Thee Stash, The Milkshakes, Billy Childish & The Blackhands, Wild Billy Childish And The Deltamen und so weite… I’m delighted to have this original Chatham Jack to choose his “song for ewe”…it’s a real Brucie bonus welcome Mr. Bruce Brand!
There was a time when I was writing the earlier (photocopied, Peel endorsed) iteration of Velvet Sheep zine when all my fav American bands featured Thee Headcoats & Thee Headcoatees in support. While Billy would ape machine gunning the crowd with his guitar Tommy gun, I could never take my eyes off Bruce Brand. He was invariably sartorially elegant, like an Old Doctor Who meets a local doctor on call, like Holmes, Watson and a doberman all rolled into one beautifully arch anachronism to the modern world. And he could drum! Man he could drum! I used to enjoy receiving any Childish related vinyl to review for the zine as it was always so timeless, the simple pleasures of 4-4 and non stop strop. Here was one of my favs by Thee Stash, with a nod to some other punk band.
It was lovely to find B Brand esq on FB, not least to see a pic of him accosting a Dalek. I was chuffed when he agreed to choose a song, and I hang my sideys in shame that it’s taken me so long to get it on these pages, but it’s worth the wait. So without further ado, it’s over to Bruce and his “song for ewe”…
“”Apache Dropout” — the Edgar Broughton Band
I first heard this record in the early 1970s, when my mate Danny — the drummer in a local group I played guitar in — exposed me to it, and it immediately appealed to my schizophrenic musical taste(s).
For those unfamiliar with the disc, it is an unlikely combination of the classic twangy guitar instro ‘Apache’ by the Shads (when they were still kewl and led by Jet Harris) and gravel-voiced Captain Beefheart’s take on the ‘You Really Got Me’ riff as played by a farting wasp ‘Drop Out Boogie’, all parcelled up in one neat lump and presented by terrifying long-haired avant-garde blues rock progmeisters (or whatever you want to call them) the Edgar Broughton Band. It’s both bonkers and fab. To me at least. Those who have ever suffered severe bouts of cognitive dissonance will know what I mean.
I was familiar with ‘Apache’ as it was the first tune I learnt to fumble along with on the guitar (as should always be the case), whereas the Captain was still a yet-to-be-discovered oddity, so this was a kind of introduction to him. Thank you chaps. (Or whatever you want to call yourselves.)
It also made me wonder if there was enough of a gap in the market for this kind of thing to make a career out of. I pondered on experimenting with similar abrasive twinnings, such as ‘Paranoid Polka Dot Bikini’, but luckily nothing came of it.”
CUP OF TEA BRUCE? ANY TIME. THANKYOU, YOU MEDWAY LEGEND.