Primal Scream with Brian Jonestown Massacre Poster


Primal Scream – Brian Jonestown Massacre Poster by Darren Grealish© 2015


Primal Scream with Brian Jonestown Massacre Poster.

First recordings (1984–1989)[edit]

Their first recording session, for McGee’s independent label Essential Records, was a single track entitled “The Orchard”, with Judith Boyle on vocals. Beattie later claimed that they burned the master tape.[1][2]After the aborted recording, Gillespie joined The Jesus and Mary Chain as their drummer, and alternated between both bands. While the Mary Chain became notorious for their chaotic gigs, Gillespie and Beattie expanded Primal Scream’s lineup to include schoolfriend Young on bass, rhythm guitarist Stuart May, drummer Tom McGurk, and tambourine player Martin St. John. This lineup was signed to Creation Records, an independent record label founded by Alan McGee, and recorded the group’s debut single, “All Fall Down”, which received positive reviews.[1]

After the release of the single, Gillespie was told by Mary Chain leaders William and Jim Reid that he was to either dissolve Primal Scream to join the Mary Chain full-time or resign.[1][2] Gillespie chose to remain with Primal Scream. Stuart May was replaced by Paul Harte, and the group then released a new single, “Crystal Crescent”. The b-side, “Velocity Girl“, was released on the C86 compilation, which led to their being associated with the scene of the same name. The band strongly disliked this, with Gillespie saying that “they can’t play their instruments and they can’t write songs.”[1]

The band toured throughout 1986, and Gillespie became disenchanted with the quality of their performances. He said that there “was always something missing, musically or in attitude.”[1] The band switched to McGee’s newly set-up Warner Bros. subsidiary Elevation Records. Before the band entered Rockfield Studios in Wales to record their debut album, McGurk was asked to leave the band. The group subsequently began recording using session players. They spent four weeks recording with producer Stephen Street before deciding to halt the sessions.[1]

May was subsequently dismissed and Gillespie’s former bandmate Innes was brought in as his replacement, and the band finally found a new drummer, Gavin Skinner. With their new lineup, the band re-entered the studio, this time in London with producer Mayo Thompson. By the time Sonic Flower Groove was completed, it had cost £100,000.[1] The album reached number 62 on the British charts[1] and received poor reviews, with AllMusic calling it “pristine but dull.”[3] The backlash from the album caused internal strife within the band. Beattie and Skinner subsequently resigned.[2]

The band, now consisting of only Gillespie, Innes and Young, relocated to Brighton to regroup.[1] Young switched to guitar, and they recruited bassist Henry Olsen and drummer Phillip “Toby” Tomanov, who had both been in Nico‘s backing band, The Faction. They traded in their jangle pop sound for a harder rock edge, or as Gillespie said, “[w]e had found rock ‘n’ roll.”[1] The band re-signed to Creation Records and released their first single in two years, “Ivy, Ivy, Ivy”. This was followed by a full album, Primal Scream. The band’s new sound was met with poor reviews, NME called it “confused and lacking in cohesion”.[1] Fans responded as unfavourably as the critics, with many of the old fans being disappointed or simply confused by the new sound.[1]The album featured Felt keyboardist Martin Duffy guesting.

Primal Scream With Brian Jonestown Massacre

Bobby Gillespie on tour in 1991 at Club Citta, Kawasaki, Japan

The band were first introduced to the acid house scene by McGee in 1988. They were at first skeptical; Gillespie said: “I always remember being quite fascinated by it but not quite getting it.”[1] The band did, however, quickly develop a taste for it and began attending raves. The band met up with DJ Andrew Weatherall at a rave, and he was given a copy of “I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have”, a track from Primal Scream, to remix for one of his shows.[2] Weatherall added a drum loop from an Italian bootleg mix of Edie Brickell‘s “What I Am”, a sample of Gillespie singing a line from Robert Johnson‘s “Terraplane Blues” and the central introductory sample from the Peter Fonda B-movie The Wild Angels. The resulting track, “Loaded“, became the band’s first major hit, reaching number 16 on the UK Singles Chart.[4] This was followed by another single, “Come Together”, which reached number 19.[4]

The band entered the studio with Weatherall, Hugo Nicolson, The Orb and Jimmy Miller producing, and Martin Duffy now full-time on keyboards. They released two more singles, “Higher Than The Sun” and “Don’t Fight It, Feel It” which featured the lead vocals of Manchester singer Denise Johnson, both of which were successful. The album, Screamadelica, was released in late 1991 to positive reviews.[5] Ink Blot Magazine said that the album was “both of its time and timeless.”[6] The album was also a commercial success, reaching number eight on the UK chart. The album won the first Mercury Music Prize, beating Gillespie’s former band The Jesus and Mary Chain.

The supporting tour kicked off in Amsterdam, and it included a performance at the Glastonbury festival before coming to an end in Sheffield. Throughout the tour the band and their increasingly large entourage gained notoriety for their large narcotic intake.[1] The band’s drug habits have often been discussed in print. Journalist James Brown reported a now infamous story: the bandmates were arguing with one another about whether to get Vietnamese, Chinese or Indian. When one of Brown’s colleagues asked them if they’d settle for a burger the band informed him: “It’s heroin we’re discussing, not food!”.[7] Around this time, the band recorded the Dixie Narco EP. Some of the tracks had a more American blues rock sound than previously, and displayed a novel P-Funk influence.[1]

RSD 2017 release. First time vinyl release of The Brian Jonestown Massacre‘s Pol Pot’s Pleasure Penthouse. The only time this album was ever officially released was on cassette on Burger Records (in a limited edition of 500). Recorded in 1990/91 on a four-track at Anton Newcombe‘s home in San Francisco, Pol Pot’s Pleasure Penthouse best described in Anton’s own words: “when I left home and moved to San Francisco, first thing on my mind was joining a band… the problem for me was that there were not any bands that would have me or even played the type of music I imagined I wanted to hear… so I decided to start my own… I would make small down payments at pawnshops for gear, buy recording machines, amps, guitars, whatever. Within three months of teaching myself the seven folk chords I use nonstop to this day, I had already taught a few new friends how to play as well and we were off. I used to make up songs everyday on the four-track just to teach myself how to write… I understood what I liked about music, I just didn’t know how to pull it out of the ether and bring them into being. At the same time, I would make demo tapes and share them with friends… endless demo tapes… I would send them to magazines and record labels with no return address, just for the fuck of it. It was never my intention to actually release this music… for instance, if I came up with a country song, I would finish it just to learn more about writing… I didn’t want to be in a classic country group, this is a document of my learning process. Good times… this album is one such tape from 1990/91, I can’t remember. Enjoy.” Available here on 180 gram blue colored vinyl.