Went running and listened to “Passion Sources” on my headphones this morning. In 1989, when Peter Gabriel released “Passion,” his soundtrack to “The Last Temptation Of Christ,” he also released a companion album called “Passion Sources.” He released both albums on the same day. “Sources” was a curated anthology of the music that had directly influenced the work in the soundtrack. It was “produced by” Gabriel only in the sense that he had selected and sequenced the recordings. I think this project has implication about his value system, which I admire. Firstly, it bespeaks his humility in wanting to state “This music has precedent.” It also suggests he had a genuine desire to elevate the lesser known (and non-Western) artists he selected. Not just to cite them, but honor them. Hell, not just honor them, but *pay* them! It’s an elegant creative step beyond mere attribution and it was right on. In its small but authentic way, “Passion Sources” exposed an inquisitive audience to music they may not have encountered. Good for listeners. Good for musicians. Good for everyone. Acknowledging privilege can be badass and genuinely positive. Conversely, denying privilege can be... the opposite of that. - c
Was thinking about how when Joanne and I recorded the vocals for “Rideshare,” Lungfish was in the adjacent studio. We were mainly oblivious to this and went about our work. But we also had these delicious lemon cookies. I don’t know who brought them, Joanne or me (probably me), but it became amusing to us. Lungfish was a gang of tough, tattooed Baltimore mystics, enveloped in tobacco smoke and arcane illustrations, and here we were munching our cute little lemon cookies. The contrast was amusing. I remember Joanne playing it for laughs, making sure to delight loudly about our cookies with an exaggerated sybaritic tone. “These cookies! Too delicious! Just to DIE for, am I right?” loudly in the studio kitchen. I make good choices in bandmates.
We make this little piece available only during springtime each year. Download and enjoy the season. https://bit.ly/2G3k8z2
Songs are worth interrogating and celebrating. I have an essay series for this. It's called "One Song." In the past, I have written about Elvis Costello, De La Soul, Fugazi, Rufus Wainwright, Siouxsie And The Banshees, and the Midnight Cowboy soundtrack. This one is about Prince. And pleasure. And Prince singing about pleasure.
Attention, Denizens of Washington, DC and surrounding areas!: This is the feeling you want on Sunday morning: “Damn, I enjoyed that Beauty Pill show last night. I appreciate their forward-looking, mysterious, difficult-to-describe music. I certainly am glad I attended that show. Anyone want pancakes?” You want imaginative, heartfelt, modern music. And you want pancakes. Why deny it? Join us. - c
. My eyes are as dull and useless as Canadian pennies in Mexico And they don’t say “In God We Trust” They say “I don’t have the time to make you mixtapes anymore.” You know full well it’s over now “Tijuana 3/28/96” was inspired by the dark day SWC visited Mexico as tourists. On a break from tour in southern California. I had never been to Tijuana before. I expected it to be tacky and touristy — and it was — but I did not anticipate the misery I would encounter. This story is not about me, it’s about a stranger. But there are two things it may help you to know: (1) I was very sick with what I would later learn was strep throat and (2) Hilary Soldati [SWC cellist] and I were a couple in the midst of a painful and awkward breakup. So I was in a bleak mood as we went into Tijuana. Physically, I felt bad. I was tired and I had a sore throat. And it’s hard and sad to be in constant closeness with someone you are breaking up with. Touring in a van with your ex is not something I would recommend. One thing Tijuana was famous for was you could buy prescription drugs without a prescription. I don’t know what I hoped to find — probably something with codeine? — but searching seemed like a good way to pass the time. I bought a bottle of apple juice and set out on my own towards Tijuana’s ugly pharmacies, away from the band... away from Hilary. I passed by a lot of tacky, campy Mexican souvenir shops and street-food stands. All around there were beggars and people suffering. Old folks, all the way down to little kids. Some were grifters, but most were just hungry, unfortunate people. The poverty and helplessness were extremely sad. The combination of my illness, my personal heartbreak, the ugly commerce of the city, the desperate people all around, and the fact I was just some dick hoping to score drugs... made me feel like I was in a kind of hell. Suddenly a little girl — she couldn’t have been older than 8 years old — ran up next to me and swiped my juice bottle out of my hand. She was a very skilled thief. She was deft and quick with the snatching and she kept running. She darted into the crowd and she was gone. I yelled after her to stop! Not because I cared about the damn juice or the theft, but because I was SICK! I didn’t want a poor little Mexican girl to catch my illness by drinking my half empty apple juice bottle! I went searching for her, but there was nothing I could do. She had pulled it off. I felt so bad for her. It was a terrible feeling. I kept thinking that I wanted to buy her a clean, full apple juice bottle and a meal, instead of the infected thing she’d stolen. But I never saw that kid again. As the band drove away from Tijuana, I was depressed. I wrote the song in my head, with deep sadness about Hilary and an unfortunate, unknown Mexican child thief weighing on my mind. That’s the story behind that song. - c
In 2015, we reissued Beauty Pill’s “The Cigarette Girl From The Future,” which had been BP’s debut release. We reissued it simultaneously with the (new) release of Beauty Pill “Describes Things As They Are.” I warned my friends the “Cigarette Girl” pressing (which was lovely) was limited edition and would probably sell out. So, y’know, order one if you want one. A month later, when it was sold out, people were pouting at me like “I wanted to buy ‘Cigarette Girl’!” And I was like, I warned you! Today Smart Went Crazy’s “Con Art” is reissued in a similar manner to “Cigarette Girl.” The music I make is obscure in the larger scheme of the world. The supply/demand economics of vinyl are delicate for independent music. We try to get it right — trust me it isn’t in my interest to frustrate someone who wishes to buy my work! But it’s tricky and delicate. And it’s smarter and more ecologically sound to err with UNDER-pressing than OVER-pressing. So what I’m saying is SWC’s “Con Art” is available now as a limited edition 2xLP clear vinyl, remastered with a new gatefold layout. It is released TODAY. All the songs have stories behind them. That’s my whole thing. If that appeals to you, go forth. I want you to have it.
Unfortunately I am posting this from the hospital where I have been admitted for a toxic reaction to a prescribed antibiotic. I hoped I would recover in time for this tour, but... the answer is sadly no. It got worse. We considered canceling the shows, but this is principally an Arto Lindsay tour. We instead opted to try an idea we've never considered before. The band is going to do these shows WITHOUT me. It's no secret that I write BP's songs and I am the lead singer for most of songs. So, yes, it's a strange circumstance. For these shows, my bandmate Jean (singer of "Ann The Word" and "Dog With Rabbit In Mouth, Unharmed") will sing all the songs, even those that were shaped around my voice. This was my idea and the band agreed to it. Jean went home and learned all the words over night. I'm really proud of her. For dedicated BP fans, it will be an unusual experience I encourage you to check out. My bandmates have been utterly kind and adaptable. It's a dismaying scenario. Their attitude is amazing. They believe in the songs. Beauty Pill is by nature an experimental band. We like to try stuff. We made "Describes Things" in a museum where we were the exhibit. This will be one more experiment, I guess. Here in the hospital I am getting good care. Don't worry about me. Love to you all. And love to the quartet Jean Cook, Basla Andolsun, Drew Doucette and Devin Ocampo who this week are BEAUTY PILL. Chad Clark 10/16/17 www.beautypill.com/live #beautypill #artolindsay #tour #hospitalized http://www.beautypill.com/live
NYC! ARTO LINDSAY + BEAUTY PILL! Tuesday 10/17! Join us! http://www.beautypill.com/live
Getting a lot of email about this. It's true that Beauty Pill's DC museum recording project preceded PJ Harvey's similar London museum recording project. I do not know if we influenced her, but I tend to doubt it. I'd like to think it's more likely a "great minds think alike" scenario. I'm a fan of PJ Harvey. I'm not gonna dis her. I do not take Dave Grohl's recent accreditation of the idea to PJ Harvey as a dis to me. I think far more likely, he simply does not know anything about Beauty Pill. We're an underground, arty DC band. I can't imagine Dave Grohl is aware of us. Why would he be? Does it sting to do something and then have a more famous person subsequently given credit for it? Yes, a little bit. But just at the level of bruised ego. I'll live, you know? I don't think malice or insult was intended. Not on Grohl's part. Not on Harvey's part. There is a page on the Beauty Pill site where you can learn more about Immersive Ideal, the original BP art exhibit that produced the "Describes Things As They Are" album. You can also read my 2016 essay about PJ Harvey. Just click on the bold type. Thanks. - c http://www.beautypill.com/works
This is something you will not want to miss. Trust me. Join us. Tix on sale now. - c https://instagram.com/p/BQx_-HPAKVK/