Anyone reading this probably knows the news about the return of My Bloody Valentine. What you may not know is how obsessed I am with them. When Isn’t Anything came out in 1989, I was so taken with the woozy and melodic approach they took to making pop music. I was working at Tower Records on Newbury Street and Massachusetts Avenue at the time. One of my co-workers bought it for me as a gift because we didn’t carry it. When they played at Axis near Fenway Park, I gathered the troops. I made sure that all my friends went even though most, maybe all of them had never heard them. After the show, my co-workers told me they thought I was crazy – they’d never seen or heard anything like it. They LOVED them. Our ears didn’t ring, they buzzed – for days. It was, and still is, the loudest thing I’ve heard in my life. Legend has it that they had no sound person and drafted J Mascis to do the sound. I think he must have just turned it all up and chuckled inside. It might not be true, but it adds to the mystique, right?
Years later when Loveless came out, they became the instant “it” band. Until Creation‘s demise, fans never knew what MBV went through to make the now legendary record. Short version – they bankrupted Creation because of the amount of time, space and engineering personel it took to record it.
After too much touring and high expectations from fans and their new label, Island Records, they seemed to have folded. Their only post Loveless songs were both cover versions. “We Have All The Time In The World” was a Bond Theme (from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) and was performed by Louis Armstrong. The other was their remarkable version of “Map Ref 41°N 93°W” originally performed by WIRE. Rumors persisted that MBV had blown their advance, had studio mishaps, scrapped an entire record, were driving taxi’s, raising chincilla’s – yeah, I know, crazy Brian Wilson, Syd Barrett or Phil Spector kind of wackiness!
Kevin Shields‘ name would pop up now and again over the years – a remix here, a production credit there. When Sophia Coppola‘s Lost In Translation came out, MBV fans rejoiced at what ended up being somewhere around 10 minutes of music.
Reports of album re-releases with bonus material and a follow up to Loveless have been among the most accurate of recent news. In fact, Loveless looks like it’s FINALLY slated for a May 18th, 2009 release in the UK. Instead of bonus tracks, most of which were slated to be Loveless era b-sides, the double CD will include the original LP and a second disc of the LP remastered from anologue tapes. For now, it looks like a re-release of Isn’t Anything is still in the works.
When the announcement came through that My Bloody Valentine were coming to Seattle on April 27th, I felt like I was 23 again – I’ve been in super geek mode the last few weeks. They’ve been important to me in so many ways over the years. I had the pleasure of transcribing portions of interviews with Kevin conducted via telephone by Mike McGonigal for his entry into the 33 1/3 series. It’s a great read, especially for gearheads. As a huge fan, it was great to hear Kevin talk about some projects which never saw the light of day (yet?) and even excusing himself to take care of some “personal business”, if you know what I mean. Back in 1992, I made sure I saw as many of their shows as possible. My friend Cathy and I drove to San Francisco and stayed at the Phoenix Hotel where I heard they were staying. We were shocked to not only meet them (except Bilinda who was holed up with awful stomach pain) but to be invited to hang out with them! We went along with them to an in-store record signing, saw L7, and Deb and Colm came to our room and “partied” with us. Kevin’s lovely and kind sister, their manager at the time, made sure we were on the list for the L.A. shows a couple of days later! The show we saw was to be the last MBV show until the recent reunion. As a Japanese teenage girl trapped in a 40 year old body, I’m hoping to get the chance to say hi again – not like they’d remember me, but I’m just like that I guess!
I’ve included a CD burn of a flexidisc from Catalogue Magazine circa 1989. Erik and I split the cost when we found it on ebay. I don’t remember how much we paid for it, but I would guess it was enough to be able to share it with our readers! Here it is in all of its flexi pops and clicks glory! Actually, it sounds pretty good.
Thank you Kim Erlandsen, NRK P3 for use of the creative commons licensed image.