Thursday, 4 March 2010

High Frequency

While Mark Perry was taking his punk ideology to the free festival scene, Steve Hillage was attempting to appeal to hard core Oi! style punks.
A somewhat more difficult and highly ambitious task.

Towards the end of the 1970s the hippie had become anathema.
Spurred on by opinion leaders such as Johnny Rotten, who expressed adamantly that hippies were not to be trusted, due to them having let us all down in the past.
(Interestingly, Rotten, née, Lydon, has recently stated that he never hated Pink Floyd and would loved to have worked with them.
Yeah, right! Check it out.)

Hillage, confronting his unfashionable status, appeared in an article published in Melody Maker in 1979 alongside Jimmy Pursey (no less) to defend his existence and persistence in refusing to get a hair cut or trim his beard, and to prove that he and his new found ideological brother in arms were exactly that, and they were really coming from the same place.

Pursey's Sham 69 had recently had a major success with their Oi! anthem 'If the Kids Are United' and Hillage's premise was that he had been preaching the same thing for the previous ten years.
He even produced a punk rock styled song with '1988 Aktivator' to help make his point.

The harmonious relationship shown during the interview had already been established when Hillage joined Sham 69 on stage during 1978's Reading Festival for a unified performance of 'If the Kids Are United', much to the disgust of a few vociferous boneheads in the crowd.

I know this may all seem rather silly now, when you can attend a gig, party, rave, whatever and the tribes gather and mingle readily. It's not uncommon for bikers, punks, emos, metal heads, goths, freaks, teds, cheesy quavers and casuals all to gather in the same place.
But back in the late seventies it was a completely different story.
I don't know about you, but I, and many of my associates were constantly finding ourselves running into the wrong kind of and often hostile tribes; many a time us young punks had to flee for our lives through the streets of North London, hotly pursued by incredibly angry skin heads.
Ah, happy days...

Anyways, it was during this late seventies period when Hillage was attempting to reconnect, that this album was recorded.
Released by Griffin Music in 1994, this is a superb set of recordings, really capturing Hillage and his Live Herald band at their absolute peak.
There is a lot of live Hillage recordings floating around, but the quality of sound on this album is exceptional.
A worthy addition to any Hillage collection.
And if you don't have one, well, this is a great place to start.

Steve Hillage - In Concert (1994)

Hurdy Gurdy Glissando
Unidentified (Flying Being)
New Age Synthesis (Unzipping the Zype)
Electric Gypsies
Crystal City
The Salmon Song
It's All Too Much
1988 Aktivator
Glorious Om Riff

Excellent cassette rip @320kbs
Tune in here


gclot said...

Hi Roy,

Great article. I never knew that Pursey worked with the hillside village. Can't imagine what the music would have been like if they recorded together. Angels with dirty faces glissando could work I guess. I remember having more trouble with idiot headbangers/rockers than skinheads. I was forced to recite the words to War Pigs which was impossible for me as I didn't know them so got beaten for it. I like sabbath now but I still hate ac bloody dc.



roy rocket said...

'Generals gathered in their masses...'
Hey, I would have survived.

With Bon (p.b.u.h) AC/DC were great, 'Overdose' (aptly) was their magnum opus, and I still love to crank that one up on occasion.

But yeah, Pursey & Hillage. They're great mates apparently.
Oxymoronic or what...

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