Thought For The Day
Thought For The Day
MMS v. PRML SCRM
The Creation press release for 'XTRMNTR' calls the new Primal Scream album 'a righteous tirade from Chairman Bob against multinational militarism in the name of democracy'. This noble pacifism is obviously the reason the sleeve is covered with military-style stencil lettering, bits of sexy jet plane, and men in helmets. And why the music sounds exactly -- but exactly -- like Sigue Sigue Sputnik circa Love Missile F1/11.
But that's always been the way with rock and roll, hasn't it? A confederate flag here, a few swastikas there, a stance of moral ambivalence on the interesting evils of this world. You dabble in voodoo, you tickle a taboo, you do whatever you have to do to turn people on, whip up press attention, and keep the world talking about you.
To mark the demise of Creation Records, which began with the hyped-up gibber of the Jesus And Mary Chain and comes full circle with the adolescent twaddle of 'Exterminator', we present a 20 round bout between two ex-Creation artists, MMS and PRML SCRM. The winners will be proclaimed Their Macho-chistic Pomposities, The Lords Of White Light And Nether Darkness. They will be presented with a plectrum Iggy Pop once used to pick his nose.
Let Battle Commence
The PRMLS are the ultimate rock band. Rock is an idiom where people strike dangerous poses while actually being rather cautious. But who of our two contenders is really the more dangerous? Well, one indicator of true danger might be the number of lawsuits you get. The SCRM got one for ripping off the Stones on 'Rocks'. (If they didn't, they should've done.) MMS got two. And his CIA file is probably fatter. Round 1 to MMS.
It's true the SCRM have always draped their sleeves with confederate flags and swastikas. But MMS has gone way further in the adolescent shock value stakes. Would the SCRM ever DARE to sing 'Coming In A Girl's Mouth'? Chalk another RCK ND RLL point up to MMS.
It's true PRML SCRM lent the name of their breakthrough single, Loaded, to the magazine that filled the 90s with blondes, boobs, beer and Britpop. But a little known track by MMS called The News Of The World helped christen a newspaper that, I think you'll agree, is even more toxic.
The SCRM, despite dressing up in military uniforms and putting jet fighters and tanks on their album sleeves, fail to convince with their hardness. MMS got his penis cast by Cynthia Plaster Caster (RCK ND RLL or what?). And... also failed to convince with his.
It's true BBBY GLLSP has always been really, really close to record company boss Alan McGee. I mean, they went to school together and everything, so if SCRM records failed, Alan just bought in the hottest DJs and remixed the hell out of them (which usually meant taking Bobby off) until they got good and people bought them. But MMS is even closer to his record label boss. Cos, see, he is his record label boss. So if his records are crap, he remixes them himself.
Hey, PRMLS, now that Creation is dead, there's always a place for you on Analog Baroque! Don't tell me it's too indie for you? Big boys like you can get by without those nasty big labels run by The Man, can't you? (Baits, foils and jiggery pokery from the MMS corner there. Steady!)
It's true the SCRM are a really political band who have raised the consciousness of the youth with slogans like 'Get yer rocks off' and 'We wanna get loaded... have a good time' and 'Every brother is a star'. Well, MMS can match those slogans point for point. For 'Get yer rocks off' MMS has 'Bluestocking, give head' (an impassioned plea for the importance of basic literacy in a sexual partner). For 'We wanna get loaded... have a good time' MMS has 'Voglio trovare la dolce vita' ('I want to find the beautiful life'... in Italian, a language Iggy Pop is said to speak in his sleep). And for 'Every brother is a star' MMS has every single song on Stars Forever.
'I believe you give what you give / Higher than the sun'. I mean, trippy, man, or what? You know, looking back on the 90s, that Screamadelica album really says it all, doesn't it? That's where we (and by 'we' I mean the fortysomething music press hacks who compiled the decade's end reviews) really were at during the last decade. Up our asses, where the sun always shone, thanks to the drugs. Of course MMS wrote little tinkles like 'The Age Of Information' about things like the internet, which seemed relevant if you weren't on drugs. But the real story of the 90s was how rock went to the nightclub, wasn't it? So, like, that Screamadelica album was just soooo prescient.
Beck may wear a horse's head and sing 'I wanna defy the logic of all sex laws'. And Marilyn Manson may re-enact the assasination of John F. Kennedy in his videos. But they're just corporate pussies. The SCRM chuck TVs into their business-class hotel pool and tip those bourgeois new Beetles into Amsterdam canals. RCK ND RLL!
Talking of new Beetles, let's not forget that the band vowel-haters must henceforth call SS would never have come up with such fascinatingly meaningless titles as new single 'Go Let It Out' without the SCRM's example on, for instance, 'Give Out But Don't Give Up'. I mean, if Oasis (sorry, SS) had taken MMS's lead, their new single would probably be called prissy stuff like 'We Are Kittens' or 'Miles Franklin (Morning Glory)', wouldn't it?
Who cares if you can't remember (let alone whistle) a single song from 'Vanishing Point', whereas 'Ping Pong' is a total singalong? Ability has its place, but attitude is where it's at. I mean, MMS may be a good songwriter -- if you can get over the cleverness, the annoying, cloying relevance to the modern world, and the kitschy alienation techniques (leave it to the Japanese, MMS!) But the SCRM get by on 100% attitude, know what I mean? Knowing the right people and going to the right parties is so much more important in the end.
This Time It's Personal... Political
They're both concerned by imperialist destruction of primitive peoples. BBBY GLLSP says things like 'Madeleine Albright is a fascist', 'Support the miners!' and 'Thatcher was out to destroy the working classes'. MMS, meanwhile, asks: 'How many generations will pass before our nomad cousins enter a Cocue store and buy exactly the clothes their ancestors wore?' To which, smartass bastard, he replies: '4.8 generations given a 6% annual rise in GDP'.
Once MMS and PRML SCRM toured Germany together. MMS was very excited by the Haffenstrasse squatters, who were battling police in Hamburg, and by East Berlin, which would fall to capitalism two years later. The SCRM, however, showed little interest in either.
BBBY champions Asian Dub Foundation and visits wrongfully imprisoned Asians in jail. MMS actually married a Bangladeshi girl and got dropped from Creation (just before they started smelling funny, fortunately) because of the ruckus it caused.
BBBY's songs are often about screwing around on tour then coming home and being very hangdog and sorry when your girlfriend finds out. MMS can go one better. When he married and his wife read his old diaries, he got in such trouble that he wrote a song about it called 'Slide Projector, Lie Detector'.
BBBY is an intellectual bully. He uses every interview to drum home the message that the MC5 and Sun Ra are what you should be listening to. MMS goes one better: he would like to teach the world to sing like Daniel Johnston and Bruce Haack.
BBBY GLLSP is a master of gratuitously violent self-hype, often saying that such and such a PRML SCRM song will 'lift you out of your skin', 'lacerate your brain' etc. MMS, however, was able to state quite correctly that, if you didn't have a thousand dollars to spare, a song on Stars Forever could ruin you.
PRML SCRM have a track on their new album called 'Kill All Hippies'. They refrain from adding 'Never trust anyone over 30', because after all Iggy Pop is quite old. And anyway, the young 'can't get it up', as GLLSP said recently in the NME. MMS, meanwhile, still rather likes young people and can often be seen wearing Peruvian clothes.
When River Phoenix died of a drugs overdose, TH SCRM declared him 'a lightweight'. MMS is often made extremely ill by a too-strong cup of coffee.
A typical PRML SCRM tour / CD sleeve / video / party involves swastikas, underground movies in which Christ (with a gun) is being crucified somewhere in Texas by bikers, and MC5 records. A typical soiree with MMS, on the other hand, involves ritual disembowelment, virgin sacrifice, satanic chants, anal fistulation, spermatazoic gargling... oh all right, you win this time, PRML SCRM. But I'll be back!