This page contains edited versions of all the news pages from 2000 that appeared on this site. WMO newsletters are not included here and can be accessed from the articles page. Please note that links to external sites may not work, but were active at the time of writing. Internal links should all still be active, but if you find a dead link please inform us by using the contact form.
- December 2000
- November 2000
- October 2000
- September 2000
- August 2000
- July 2000
- June 2000
- May 2000
- April 2000
- March 2000
- February 2000
- January 2000
Well, here we are at the end of the year, and what an odd year it's been for Wire fans. First, we had the 'reformation': Wire playing punk anthems as 'high art' at Royal Festival Hall in London. Then, a US tour, a Wire label and new CDs. Since then, there has been rather sporadic activity, but much of it promising: a new 7", a new date in Edinburgh and so on... plenty of dugga to look forward to.
However, Wire still remains slightly 'behind the curtain', even when taking into account pinkflag.com and there are questions that are repeatedly asked via our feedback forms, so here is an attempt to provide some answers:
Q: Whatever happened to the Albini sessions that Wire said were to be released?
A: Wire never said they were a definite release. There still remains the possibility that these will eventually surface via pinkflag.com, but don't hold your breath.
Q: When are there going to be more live dates, especially in Europe?
A: Wire is playing Edinburgh in December. Other dates are likely to surface in 2001, but no details are yet known.
Q: When will Wire release a record of all-new material?
A: Who knows? Wire certainly doesn't...
Q: Where can I buy (insert Wire/solo album here)?
A: Check the usual suspects first, ie: WMO, Swim, Mute and then online resources such as Amazon, CDNow and so on. If the item you are seeking is old, check eBay, as a lot of Wire stuff surfaces there from time to time, even if it is at ludicrous prices half the time. Wireviews is currently putting together a Wire buyer's guide, which will be online sometime next year.
Q: Will there ever be a Wire desktop image for my PC?
A: Okay, so this isn't a much asked question, but a few people have nicked the main Wireviews image for their PC and sent thanks, so we thought it about time that a proper version was produced. So, click here to download the Wire desktop image (800x600 JPG), guaranteed to obscure all your important icons...
Finally, amazing as it may seem, Wireviews is now into its third year online. We would like to thank everyone who has supported the site since its construction, and especially those of you who have contributed news, reviews, or other items of interest. Remember, if there's anything Wire that you'd like to share with the readers of this site, be it reviews of albums that we currently don't have, live shows, or other essays/images, then please send them to us @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now, this month's news...
The main news this month is that the new Wire 7" is now out and about for you to grab from your local record shop, or direct from pinkflag.com. Entitled 12 Times You, this minimally packaged piece of vinyl provides two rather different slants on Wire's most famous dissonant punk 'epic'. As ever, Wireviews has its say on it—click here to read!
As reported last month, the band has also announced an upcoming UK gig in Edinburgh. The 8th of December will see Wire performing at the Queen's Hall and tickets can be purchased via www.avalancherecords.co.uk (email@example.com) and cost £10 each. Telephone/fax contacts are 0131 668 2374 and 0131 668 3234 respectively.
As you may be aware, Wireviews editor Craig Grannell's occupation by day is mostly Web design, and recently he was in London participating in a forum regarding navigation. One of the things researched briefly was the MTV2 website (MTV2 is a digital channel in the UK). Part of the site allows you to submit a playlist, and the one Craig submitted got selected and put into the schedule, albeit at the dead of night. In case you're wondering what the dugga this has to do with Wire, they are the first band on, playing Drill:
It will be shown on Tuesday, December 05, 2000, at 01:00 (UK local time). For those that are interested, here's the playlist in full: Wire: The Drill; Moby: Go; Death in Vegas: Dirge; Depeche Mode: I Feel You; Laika: Uneasy; LFO: We are Back; Underworld: Push Upstairs; REM: Stand; Prodigy: Outta Space [sic]; Bjork: Army of me; Add n to [x]: Metal Fingers in my Body; Joy Division: Atmosphere; New Order: Bizarre Love Traingle; Moby: Natural Blues.
Calling Graeme Larmour!
If this doesn't get your attention, nothing will! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, as most of the email you sent, which looked very interesting, got mashed by Yahoo! mail.
WMO's latest newsletter is online now to read, compiling Wire-related news from the last three months. This missive also includes some interesting news about upcoming releases from Ocsid and the ever-elusive O'Shea.
No new Swim news this month, but Malka asked us to pass on the following message regarding her Wire project:
"Now that the deadline on my project has passed I want to firstly take the opportunity to again thank all the contributors. I am really pleased and excited by the different contributions not only by the differences in approach but also by the amount of thought which obviously went into the work.
Over the next week or so I will be attempting to put together something which can be viewed in our online gallery 'non-space' (go to swimhq.com and click on the nonspace link) which hopefully will show not only all the contributions assembled but also the individual pieces. My intention is to link in supporting text either from letters included with contributions or subsequent correspondence.
By the way, I know that some of the contributors are not on the IC list but I'd like to ask anyone who knows anyone who contributed to the project who isn't on the list to pass on this message. I also got a submission from a Stephen Sheen from Birmingham, UK with no other details and was not able to thank him personally or have any more text to add on the website. Also please don't hesitate to let me know what you feel about how it turned out once you can see it online.
Cheers and thanks again
Since this message went out, Malka has put the display online and it can be accessed via the Swim non-space (the right-hand image on the opening page), or via pinkflag.com's resources section (bottom-right—click on the 'an ideal copy' link). It's an impressive collection and the selection certainly shows the diversity of opinion as to what 'Wire' is, or at least how people attempt to interpret it visually.
This is not directly Wire-related, but we learned via the Ideal Copy mailing list that composer Robert Rental recently died at the age of 48 after a battle with cancer. Known for the 'ahead of its time' The Bridge, recorded with Thomas Leer, his forays into music remain unique and Double Heart has long been one of the favourite songs of the Wireviews ed.
May he rest in peace.
Well, that's it for 2000. Onwards and upwards to a new century and hopefully a new Wire. Happy holidays to all those that are celebrating at this time of year and we'll see you in thirty!
Who is to blame this month:
Editor: Craig Grannell
Hello and welcome to the November edition of Wireviews. Thankfully, things are starting to stir in Wireland and there is actually some news this month, along with a couple of new releases, including our exclusive review of Swim's new video!
The first major news from Wire is the upcoming new release from the band: 12 Times You. Based on their seminal punk 'epic', this limited 7" is the first PinkFlag.com release to be issued through conventional distribution as well as the website. The Wire press release states:
"Limited, one-off pressing, on Wire's own label. One side is based on a high velocity Y2K live recording, nuclear fused by Mr Newman @ Swim Studios. The other side, Mr N on a frantic 21st century techno dub dancehall DJ version from the far side tip.
Packed for maximum minimalism, black vinyl/white label/clear bag/pink sticker. Their past catapulted into the future and your right here and right now in three minutes and seven seconds. A definitive statement object d'art.
Blink and you'll have missed it (again)!"
Two MP3s are available from the PinkFlag.com website: a clip of 12 Times You and of the flip-side, X U Version.
The record is out November 13 and has the catalogue number VPF3. Distribution is by Cargo.
The band has also announced an upcoming UK gig in Edinburgh. The 8th of December will see Wire performing at the Queen's Hall and tickets can be purchased via www.avalancherecords.co.uk (email@example.com) and cost £10 each. Telephone/fax contacts are 0131 668 2374 and 0131 668 3234 respectively.
The Cracked Machine website has been updated and now has a clutch of new Wire articles. One that will certainly be of interest is the conclusion to the interview conducted prior to the Garage Sunday reversed romp.
The site has also "added quite a bit of info to the Bruce Gilbert page, turned Colin a lovely shade of yellow and put up some 78 vintage words on the Pink Flag album, which amongst other things includes the lowdown on 12XU..."
Finally, Wilson Neate also sent in a lengthy Wire overview, the bulk of which contains information about Mute's USA reissue frenzy. Written in the summer, mostly for Wire 'newbies', it's still very much worth a read and can be found here.
The Swim website has a small update at the end of October, confirming last month's news on this site about the likely new releases from the label in the first half of 2001. According to the site there will be a new Silo album in January/February, a new set of Symptoms 'Apathy' to follow in March/April and a new Colin Newman album hopefully before the summer. The site also sports a new URL: www.swimhq.com.
More immediately, and rather surprising perhaps, is the release of Compilation 1—a ten track video from Swim containing pieces by Silo, Symptoms and Immersion. At the moment it's PAL only, but an NTSC version is under consideration if Swim get enough preorders. I guess if you're an interested American then you should let Swim know that you want a copy! The video is priced at £15 + P&P and the Wireviews review can be found here. The full track listing is as follows:
1. Silo — Templates; 2. Colin Newman — Turn; 3. Malka Spigel — It's Odd; 4. Symptoms — Burn; 5. Colin Newman — Blank Canvas; 6. Malka Spigel — Strumgliding; 7. Immersion — Days Under the Sun; 8. Malka Spigel — I Just Want; 9. Immersion — Dahab; 10. Immersion — Expanded Now.
At long last, we have been sent an overview of Colin and Malka's gig at the Knitting Factory by David Heagle! This A/V outing was followed by a DJ set from none other than Orb-guru Alex Patterson. Text and images can be found via the live reviews page
Finally, a new interview with Colin Newman appeared at the Modern Dance website last month and is reprinted onsite here. For those of you that haven't visited yet, Modern Dance is a great paper and online fanzine catering to a diverse musical audience. Their website can be found at members.madasafish.com/~moderndance.
That just about wraps it up for another month. If there's anything Wire that you'd like to share with the readers of this site, be it reviews of albums that we currently don't have, live shows, or other essays/images, then please send them to us @ firstname.lastname@example.org. See you in thirty!
Who is to blame this month:
Editor: Craig Grannell
Apologies for the slightly late appearance of this edition, but news was a bit thin on the ground this month and I thought it best to wait for some content rather than just bunging up a blank page! So, without further ado, here's this month's news...
Well, the band has caused a stir and this time by not doing anything at all. Judging by the amount of emails Wireviews received over the past month or so, many people appear to be getting twitchy, so it's probably a good time to point out that, no, Wire hasn't split and yes, the possibility exists of new material and 'events', although it's very unlikely that anything will happen before 2001.
PinkFlag.com was also up and down like a yo-yo last month due to various technical problems, but you can still visit the site and buy the items, although stocks of Third Day are reported to be low. PF3 remains elusive and there is no official word from Wire as to what this release will contain. We understand that the Albini sessions remain a candidate for release, but there is no word as to when/if they will finally get out to the general public.
In terms of new/old releases, a so-called 'limited boxed set' of EMI material has been sighted in London. This is merely Pink Flag, Chairs Missing and 154 wrapped up in a rather naff cardboard box. However, if you are still without those albums and want copies, then it seems pretty good value for money—slightly cheaper than buying the mid-price CDs separately.
Finally, fUSION have a Wire page on their site at http://www.fusionanomaly.net/wire.html. Content-wise, it's nothing you won't have seen before, but the site is quite interesting in concept, so it's worth a look.
The London record label has hit R&D season, apparently, but there are tantalising glimpses of new releases for 2001. First up is the new Silo album, which has been in development for quite some time now. This is likely to follow on from the impressive debut, Instar, with a stew of post-rock stylings. Two other releases that are due around the same time are another Symptoms album, and the ever elusive follow-up to Bastard by Colin Newman. More news as we receive it.
Another interesting piece of news came our way just prior to this going online regarding the possibility of an Immersion/Swim video. This is likely to surface very soon and would make a lot of sense in light of the duo's activities at Royal Festival Hall and in various festivals this year. We expect to find out more next month.
Speaking of art (good link, eh?) Malka Spigel is currently working on a Wire project, as detailed in August's news. She has now issued a 'last call' for submissions, so if you want to send her your 'Wire' then please do so before November. Her text on the project update is as follows:
So far I have received a few very good and interesting responses to my 'Wire art' project but I realise that I didn't set a deadline. The fact that I haven't may have discouraged a few potential contributors and it would be great to have a few more items to make the project complete. So I would like to announce that the deadline will be the end of October. Anyone wishing to contribute by email (or anyone who is unsure about what to do) can mail me at email@example.com. I can print it here.
Thanks to everybody who contributed so far.
The metamorphosis of the VMU website and project continues. The site received a severe revamp a week or two back to coincide with the pending release of Also. Originally scheduled for release in November, it looks like Also will now appear in January 2001 due to a rethink of certain pieces and some exciting new developments. An MP3 'work in progress' clip can be found on the Also page of the new site.
The VMU site can be found at www.vmuonline.com and still contains around a dozen full MP3s for download, now wrapped up in a rather more interesting website!
Well, that's it this month—short but sweet. Remember, if there's anything Wire that you'd like to share with the readers of this site, be it reviews of albums that we currently don't have, live shows, or other essays/images, then please send them to us @ firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next month, have a good one!
Who is to blame this month:
Editor: Craig Grannell
Those of you who visited the site last month will remember the less-than-subtle feedback form attached to the editorial. Thanks to those of you who responded—surprising as it may seem (or not as the case may be) this site receives very little in the way of de-facto feedback, with well over 90% of emails relating to some question or other about Wire.
However, the recent flurry of feedback has certainly changed some of the intended direction for the site. For instance, the most-liked thing about Wireviews, apart from the fact that it exists at all, is the monthly bulletin. Although many readers are also members of Ideal Copy, it seems most still enjoy their monthly compiled Wire fix, so to speak. Hence, plans that were in motion to move the site to a quarterly update will not happen, unless Wire and related activity disappears.
The general wealth of information also gained some praise, although certain reviews came under scrutiny, such as Pink Flag and Document and Eyewitness, two Wire releases that get a less-than-glowing reaction from this site. As an aside, some of the reviews on this site have been revisited for the update (although not those two), amended with the benefit of hindsight. One such review is that of Immanent by H.A.L.O., which, while still not regarded as an essential release, was overly criticised previously. Others have moved in various directions, but either way you can be assured of an honest viewpoint on this site that is not affected by anything external—any accusation of that sort of 'bias' is without foundation, other than the fact that those writing for this site are obvious Wire-fans!
What people didn't like, and this was fairly unanimous, was various aspects of Wireviews' design. All this has done is pushed forward the new version that you see before you now, which would have happened sooner-or-later anyway. Gone is the nasty Java applet and harsh colour scheme, a hangover from the old Snub Communications site. In its place: simple categorised-navigation and those of you using WebTV or 640 x 480 monitor resolutions should now have an easier time of it too. Please let us know what you think!
The last thing asked for provided the most varied responses, namely what you'd like to see on this site. Some of the suggestions clashed with what's already out there, such as rare cover art, which is handled by The Wire Page when available. Current interviews with members of Wire were also high on the agenda. Several interviews can be found on the web and these are detailed in the new 'articles' section, but if any members of Wire or partners-in-crime are reading and are happy to talk to us then get in touch.
The final main request was for rare and unreleased tracks to be provided in MP3 or similar format. This certainly isn't going to happen for reasons of copyright more than anything. That's not to say that certain lost classics are lost forever though—watch this space.
Lock up your hats!
As mentioned above, the site has had a bit of a reshuffle, so here's where to find everything:
News: this month's news, along with links to the Wireviews and WMO archives.
Reviews: album, single and live reviews.
Articles: another the A list, interview links, links to WMO and Wireviews news archives.
Info: the WireFAQ, video page, CD-ROM page and copyright/disclaimer information.
Links: all the usual links to Wire and related websites.
Contact: link to the Wireviews contact form and useful email addresses.
There's one new mini-review this month, too—the Life in the Manscape CD5, which is housed on the Wire singles page.
A couple of web-related bits of news have recently come our way. The first is from Spotted.Radio, a station that tends to play a lot of Wire/Colin Newman/Swim~ material, mostly within the program called The General Order of Sound, or 'goos,' as they like to call it! Their website can be found at www.spottedradio.com.
The other main web-news is the update of Cracked Machine, Graeme Rowland's webzine that can be found at www.webinfo.co.uk/crackedmachine. The site now contains an increasingly diverse amount of Wire-related information, including interviews with band members and reviews of recent releases.
Two more reviews from the USA tour have also been unearthed, the first from Splendidezine:
Noise Pop 2000 — Chicago — May 10-15, 2000
WEDNESDAY: Seam and Wire at Metro
The most ballyhooed event of Noise Pop Chicago came first: the much-talked-about, hotly anticipated reunion performance by UK art-punk icons Wire. In a post-soundcheck interview (which we'll be publishing in a couple of weeks), Wire's Colin Newman made it clear that the band has no desire to be seen as a bunch of old fogeys milking their fans for cash. The group dusted off some of their 'greatest hits' for a high-profile UK performance earlier this year; it proved artistically satisfying, and Wire rose to the challenge of reinterpreting its music for a new millennium. And of course, with Mute having recently reissued the band's entire catalogue, the time was right to raise their profile. The crowd at Metro was encouraging—roughly equal doses of twenty-somethings who'd recently discovered Wire, and fans in their thirties and forties whose vinyl copies of Pink Flag or The Ideal Copy were well nigh worn out. Opening act Seam had plenty of fans in the house, too, and their feedback-laced rock tunes seemed to go down well with Wire fans. Wire themselves rocked with more ferocity and conviction than they did in the midst of their 'second coming' in 1988. The modernised versions of Wire classics—new arrangements bolstered by electronic underpinnings and stomach-twisting bass—left a few tracks less recognisable, but classics like 12XU shone through. Colin Newman and Graham Lewis attacked their instruments with the ferocity of men half their age, while Bruce Gilbert played rhythm guitar with quiet intensity and drummer Robert Gotobed beat the skins with aggressive confidence. An urgent, raging take on Drill—a song the band has recorded in so many variations that tinkering with it must seem de rigeur—provided the perfect encore, though few in the audience would have protested another hour of music. Colin Newman was scheduled to DJ downstairs at Smart Bar after the Wire show, undoubtedly peppering his set with low-impact electronica from Swim, the label he runs with wife Malka Spigel. But by 1:00 am, Colin still hadn't claimed his place behind the turntables... so we left.
The second is from WeeklyWire.com:
Art Punks — The return of Wire, by Mark Woodlief
MAY 15, 2000: In 1977, the British foursome Wire released Pink Flag. Although it lacked the explosive, anarchic power and fury of the Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks or the revolutionary zeal of the Clash's homonymous debut, Pink Flag went on to become one of English punk's musically influential documents, and it has remained one of the most enduring and respected works to emerge from the class of '77.
Most of the original punk bands, even the ones who paid lip service to the notion of levelling the rock establishment and starting over from scratch, used existing genres like British pub and Glam rock and American Motown and R&B as a foundation. But Wire—guitarist/vocalist Colin Newman, bassist/vocalist Graham Lewis, guitarist Bruce Gilbert, and drummer Robert Gotobed—instead set their sites on deconstructing the whole mess. Relying on a minimalist aesthetic, they offered everything from the stripped-down funk of Lowdown to the proto-hardcore blitzkrieg assault of 12XU to the hypnotic drone of Reuters. The result invented the notion of art punk, providing the subgenre with its first masterpiece.
Although the members of Wire have remained active musicians and the band have continued to write, record, and perform together on and off again, the closest they've come to matching the impact of Pink Flag was with 1987's The Ideal Copy, which marked the end of a seven-year hiatus. Drill, for example, relies upon many of the same elements as the songs on Pink Flag: the ebb and flow of buzzing melodies supported by an insistent, repetitive rhythm section.
Some 20 years later, it's probably safe to assume that Pink Flag is the band's first and final definitive statement. As is the case with many punk bands, becoming better musicians hasn't really made Wire a better musical entity over the years. In fact, it seems to have robbed the band of their directness and immediacy, though it hasn't affected the size and the enthusiasm of the their international cult audience.
The bands whom Wire influenced—Hüsker Dü come to mind—have been more successful than Wire at re-creating the mood and feel of Pink Flag. Elastica did such a good job of it on their 1995 debut that Wire sued them for copyright infringement, charging they stole the riff from Pink Flag's Three-Girl Rhumba for the single Connection [Wire did not actually sue Elastica—this was a publisher move—Ed.] Now Wire are touring again (they'll be at the Roxy this Friday), not behind a new album but—coincidentally, it seems—in the wake of Mute's reissue of several of the band's late '80s and early '90s albums. I caught the May 4 show at LA's El Ray Theater. The hour-long set included a sneering version of Pink Flag's Lowdown and a blistering 12XU, plus a fair sampling of the group's later forays into more electronic progressive pop.
'It's fairly simple to play the old stuff,' Gilbert explains over the phone. 'The Wire premise is about the noise, anyway. That's the starting point.'
But it hasn't ended there. In 1989 Gilbert and Lewis began collaborating in the more experimental, electronic-based outfit Dome, and both released a number of like-minded solo projects in the '90s. Last year, they worked together on a sound and light installation at Oxford's Modern Art Museum. Newman too took the electronic plunge a while back. Aside from his own solo career, he's been running the independent electronic label Swim with his wife, Malka Spigel, who founded the label with him in 1992. Yet he's happy to be returning to more conventional rock instruments for the Wire reunion.
'I'm not gonna be sticking my G4 out on stage and be using Pro Tools,' he jokes. And he's happiest about the legacy that Wire have created for themselves. 'We're not beholden to anybody. If we decide next week that the tour is not a good idea, then that's it. There's nobody telling us, 'But you have to promote the new record'.'
The latest WMO newsletter, 3.4 is now online for you to read here. As usual, it compiles various Wire and related news from the past three months. 3.4 also includes a couple of interesting web reprints, such as the Spendidezine interview series with Colin Newman.
WMO has also dug up a few more copies of Everybody Loves a History, the definitive story of Wire from 1976 to 1991. These books are limited stocks from the publisher — when they are gone, they are gone!
The label have also posted a 'low stock' alert on the following items: Ocsid, Low Impact, Hox, Frequency Variations, and the following WMO titles: Pacific/Specific, Whilst Climbing... and The Haring. The licensing agreement for Coatings also runs out next month, so if you want a copy of that excellent release, compiling the rarities of Wire's 'second coming' then you'd best be fast!
No new news from Swim this month, save for a very interesting tid-bit that came our way recently, namely that Immersion played alongside Alex Patterson (he of The Orb fame) at the Knitting Factory, New York City on the 24th and 25th of August. Colin and Malka apparently played a mix of Immersion and Swim:Live material as a full A/V show.
And so another issue of Wireviews draws to a close. Please let us know what you think of the revamp. See you next month!
Who is to blame this month:
Editor: Craig Grannell
Your views on Wireviews
Well, it's that time of year again when I start to get all edgy and have to ask you all for your opinions about this site. It has to be said; I could never have imagined the site you now see before you two years ago, when it was first uploaded. In fact, I was rummaging around a few back-up CDs the other day and rediscovered Wireviews mk I—a dozen or so pages with some very odd 'moshed' pictures, a very small 'A' list and not a lot else. Now there are over a hundred pages of reviews, regular news updates, a live section and more. But are you 'happy with your wash?' Is there something you are desperate to see on the site? Is there something that really annoys you about Wireviews? If so, now is the time to say it by filling in the form below and hitting that submit button! [Okay, so we've deleted this. Tell us what you think by the normal contact form!—Ed.]
Thank you in advance for your time. We now return you to your regular programme...
The recent flurry of activity has turned into eerie quiet, and announcements regarding any forthcoming PF releases have yet to happen at the time of writing. However, media continues to trickle in regarding Wire's run earlier this year. The latest offering is an in-depth review of the band's gig in Dublin (at last!), supplied by Fergus Kelly. Fergus also supplied a CD full of great photos of Wire at The Garage and Royal Festival Hall, along with some of Wire at the Dublin gig, taken by Cormac Figgis. Some of these are now appended to the relevant reviews in the live reviews section, and the remainder can be seen by clicking on the links below. (These photos will also remain accessible via the live reviews section.)
Wednesday, July 26 saw WZBC's Radio Isotope hosting a special featuring music of Wire and related solo projects. Dome provided the bulk of the track listing, including out-takes from MZUI, 3R4 and Duet Emmo, but the show also contained tracks from Bruce Gilbert, He Said Omala, Colin Newman and other Swim projects. If you caught it and enjoyed it, be sure to let WZBC know and if you didn't, let them know you would have enjoyed it, and maybe there will be the chance of a rerun!
For those that haven't visited this great site yet, I am Wired also contains many old Wire and Colin Newman concerts, all available in streaming Real Audio.
Immersion and Silo both played at the Norberg festival in Sweden, which ran from July 20-23, 2000. Apparently, the line-up was pretty diverse and the site somewhat bizarre!
The next piece isn't directly about Swim, but relates to one of the co-founders, Malka Spigel. Malka is currently producing a piece of work relating to contemporary tribalism. By this, she means very specific special interest groups of the kind characterised by something like a single topic subscription list:
"People who are very diverse in age and cultural affiliation, scattered across the globe who nonetheless have this one thing in common. In order to explore the different ways these diverse groups relate to the same thing I would like to try something with the Ideal Copy List.
I would like Ideal Copy List subscribers to send to me an item that somehow conveys visually their relationship with or how they see Wire. It can be as absurd or as abstract as you like but not bigger than ten centimetres squared (about four inches—the size of a CD insert) if flat or of similar dimensions if 3D. It can be any shape and can be much smaller in fact.
As a musician and a visual artist I find the way that people relate to those art-forms to be incredibly different. Music is very abstract, visual arts very conceptualised. Perhaps the music can stand up better without the words? The work I produce from the items you send will be part of an ongoing series around these themes. Hopefully I will be able to present some of this work in a format you all can see.'="
Malka Spigel, London, July 2000.
Items can be sent to Malka care of Swim, PO Box 3459, London, SW19 6ES.
I guess the above might present a couple of questions, namely, what is the Ideal Copy, who should send items, and when should they be sent by? Well, the Ideal Copy is a mailing list run by Miles Goosens that generates lively discussion about all things Wire, and many things not-Wire too! Anyone with an interest in the band and an email account will probably lap up this list, which, as with all Majordomo subscriptions, can arrive in either individual or digest format. It also tends to be the place where Wire news first breaks. Visit the website for subscription details here.
To answer the second question, anyone subscribed to the list is eligible to send an item to Malka, and those that wish to do so should send it in the not-too-distant. Wireviews will announce when the results are available online to see.
Immersion weren't the only ones at Norberg—Graham once again span the decks, performing a great DJ set at the festival. The promotional blurb described the site as "... unique, because we have found the most beautiful and unreal site, in Sweden's most important mining area ever—Norberg! The festival itself is to be held both inside and around the closed mine 'mimer—shaft 3' and the old powerplant. We assure you, it's going to be fantastic to experience the symbiosis of music, nature, art and heavy industry on the bottom of the cradle!"
Well, that's all for this month. If you have the time, please send us the form from this page and if you're an Ideal Copier, don't forget to send Malka a Wire object of your own devising! See you next month!
Who is to blame this month:
Editor: Craig Grannell
To play or not to play, that is the question
The '90s saw a massive leap in technology, and ever ones to try and pioneer 'the new', some musicians leapt onto the bandwagon wholesale. Others, for whatever reason, sat around mumbling their disagreement, whilst attempting to prove everything was 'better in the old days', like some granddad talking about the taste of chicken.
Now it seems things are starting to come full circle—a new ethic of 'playing' seems to abound. But before any 'traditionalists' start yelling, 'I told you so,' or 'we were right all along,' we should probably note that most of those that are both 'playing' and 'exciting' are most definitely 'grey area'. These acts use the studio as a studio, yet play many live elements on stage—one thinks of Leftfield, Faithless, Moby and so forth, changing the way they are due to the situation they are in.
So, how do Wire fit into all this? In the '70s, at least post-Pink Flag, there was a combined ethic. Much was played, but much was overdubbed. Technology was used, as were tapes, but as were many live instruments. Live, they were mostly beat-combo, but with a slightly Dadaist performance echo. This period provided 154, which the bulk of Wire fans still consider their most successful album. Arguably, the ethos of 'playing', at least in the traditional sense, reduced during their Mute era, as technology came to the fore. Now Wire have, for the moment, taken a route one hundred and eighty degrees from this, almost back to Pink Flag—bare, stripped of anything other than themselves.
It remains to be seen when Wire's Albini sessions will get a release via pinkflag.com, but it also remains to be seen how valid these sessions actually will be. Are they documentation? A controlled version of their live set? Have Wire gone too far or not far enough? Is this just another step on the road to recovery, from which we will see the band dabbling in everything once again, fingers in all the pies?
To my mind, I'd love to see the next step from The First Letter, which contained a number of pieces that echoed a high level of artistic freedom, but instead of being restricted solely to 'tech', playing live stuff when it's needed, and using other means when it's not. If there's to be any more touring, live should always mean just that, but this doesn't mean a restriction to only guitars, microphones and drums.
Exclusions only provide constraints, and although that may initially provide focus, as it has for Wire, it can also be the fast track to a dead end. The fact remains that Wire have always been most successful when dabbling in the 'grey area', and long may that continue.
This month's reviews
We have a new Wire live review this month, Wilson Neate's excellent documentation of the performance at Irving Plaza, New York City.
More Wire additions have made their way onto Mike Thorne's website, StereoSociety.com, including a very rare interview with Robert Gotobed.
From the StereoSociety newsletter:
Wire were (recently) on tour and (shock, horror) were playing their old songs from the late seventies. They started in 1976 as a drums/bass/guitar/vocal line-up, but later lost Robert the drummer and dropped the 'e' to become Wir. Jump-started by the offer of a gig at London's Royal Festival Hall, they returned to their beat combo line-up and embarked on a short revival tour of the US. We enjoyed them at New York's Irving Plaza and are glad that the grand old New York Times appreciated the gig too.
It would have been easy to interview Wire's voluble/volatile Colin Newman or Graham Lewis, but they seemed too easy a catch. We snared Bruce Gilbert last year in the Golden Heart, his favourite East London pub. The only honourable option was to catch the quiet man of Wire, Robert Gotobed (his real original surname, which he changed to Grey in a recently hip moment).
Words were forthcoming.
Robert Gotobed's interview with Mike Thorne can be found here.
Also, another Wire feature can still be found on the www.splendidezine.com website.
Colin's writing for The Guardian newspaper continued on June 8th with the following:
Work in Progress
If anyone had told me a year ago that I would spend the first six months of this year engaged in various activities with my old cohorts Wire, I would have at least expressed mild surprise. No, make that dumb disbelief. Such has been the pattern of my so-called professional life that I've travelled far from my erstwhile roots. Yet it's interesting to indulge in some familiar musical interplay while gently nudging the 'old jalopy' into a more rewarding (and familiar to me) contemporary arena.
Wire now stands at the end of a pretty frantically active period by its own stop-start standards. It's actually played live 15 times this year, including a US tour, and it's only June! So what's going on? Here is a band who have only actually worked together for less than 10 years of their 23-year (count 'em!) history, who have never had any kind of hit record, and who no longer have (nor have any interest in) a record deal. Yet they can fill the Royal Festival Hall and ram certain high-profile us venues way beyond their fire capacities with audiences of which a considerable number are less than half their own (not that inconsiderable) age. It's a mystery and an enigma to us all, yet is perhaps proof positive that an ensemble who have only ever tried to make an impression (somewhat naively perhaps) by just being as good and diverse as they can be, can have a lasting effect beyond being an 'influence'.
So what's next? For me, I'm off to Sonar, an electronic music festival in Barcelona to do a little DJ set to present my label Swim then after that I may or may not be touring North America again, this time in my DJ guise. And for Wire there will be a re-convening later in the year to see if we can cook up some more delights; meanwhile Wire's own pinkflag.com mail-order label will be releasing the third in its current series—a version of the US set recorded and mixed at Steve Albini's 'Electric' studio in Chicago.
Labradford's Festival of Drifting concluded its five day jaunt at the end of June. Following on from 1998's The Falconer, Chris Petit's and Iain Sinclair's new film Asylum was shown on Channel 4 on 22nd June, 2000. Like the previous film, Bruce provided the soundtrack for this. Narration is by Susan Stenger.
Well, that's certainly a bit more relaxed than last month! Hopefully, in August we may have a little news on Wire's possible reunion later in the year, along with reports from Sonar. As always, if anyone has an article or review to send through, then contact us at email@example.com
See you next month!
Who is to blame this month:
Editor: Craig Grannell
So, Wire returns, at least in the short term. There have been many opinions—some of them quite heated—about Wire's current incarnation. Some are claiming they've sold out, run out of ideas, or are just plain taking the rise out of everyone. Others are applauding the fact that they've gone back to basics and are now by and large playing music from their stereotypically popular period of the late '70s. Some people are happy with anything they do, and others are happy with nothing—even 12XU.
However, few people have thought of the very simple fact of logistics—that this was the quickest and simplest place for the new Wire to start, or even the fact that this whole thing was only supposed to be one gig at Royal Festival Hall. The current set may prove to be it for Wire. They may come out of the summer with nothing and call it a day. On the other hand, the back to basics approach may be the launch pad they needed to go forth and write some cutting-edge new material.
Whatever the future, one thing is certain—in order to survive Wire needs your support. That doesn't mean buying every single thing that's offered, agreeing with everything they do, or becoming a legion of mindless sheep. It simply means waiting and seeing before criticising, measured thought, and proper reflection. As someone noted on the Ideal Copy mailing list, they probably wouldn't have gone to any of the live shows had they known about the 'retro' set list before buying tickets. They countered by saying that would have been their loss, as they discovered that the new Wire is every bit as good as the old, if perhaps lacking a little in innovation. Of course, innovation comes with new material, and that's what we'll be hoping for in the coming months.
In the meantime, let's just be grateful that Wire exist at all after a gap of nine years. As they once said in a previous life, "it's just for now".
This month's reviews
We have two new reviews this month. From pinkflag.com comes the documentation of the Royal Festival Hall performance, It's all in the Brochure, and from WMO, their final release, gilbertpossstenger's manchesterlondon.
Call for reviews and articles
Wireviews continues its call for reviews. We have had some reports of Wire's recent outings, but we're hoping at least a few more of you are willing to send us your hard-worked missives! As with all current externally written works on this site, the author (ie: you) retain full copyright of your work, and are fully credited.
Of particular interest are reviews of the current live Wire, especially the USA tour and Dublin. Any photos would also be nice, and these can be sent via email (small JPGs or GIFs, please) or via post to Wireviews, 30 Hardy Avenue, Yateley, Hants, GU466XU, UK. (Please enclose a stamped self-addressed envelope if you want your pictures returned.)
If anyone has any other Wire-related prose that they would like to see on the site, or want to opinionate on one of the releases not covered here, then by all means send that through too.
Please note: original works only. If you feel you absolutely have to quote from any magazine or website, please include full details about the source material.
Wire have just completed a successful residency at London's, which brings to an end the 'retrospective' phase that started at the beginning of February in Dublin. The full gig list is below:
01. Feb. 20th - HQ - Dublin
02. Feb. 23rd - Heavenly Social - Nottingham
03. Feb. 26th - Royal Festival Hall - London
04. Apr 9th - All Tomorrow's Parties - Camber Sands
05. May 2nd - Great American - San Francisco
06. May 3rd - Filmore - San Francisco
07. May 4th - El Rey - Los Angeles
08. May 6th - Showbox - Seattle
09. May 10th - Metro - Chicago
10. May 12th - Roxy - Boston
11. May 13th - 9.30 club - Washington
12. May 15th - Irving Plaza - NYC
13. May 26th - Garage - London
14. May 27th - Garage - London
15. May 28th - Garage - London
Of course, the live Wire isn't all this 'reformation' has been about, as all those of you who have visited the official Wire site, pinkflag.com will know. In fact, pinkflag.com is now well supplied with potential limited releases, one of which is already 'out there', namely It's all in the Brochure, partial documentation of the Royal Festival Hall.
Additionally, all three nights at the Garage were recorded (including soundchecks!) plus Nottingham remains unmixed!
More interesting, perhaps, is what occurred in Chicago on the 8th and 9th of May. Wire documented the US set at Steve Albini's 'Electric' studios in Chicago. The studio is in a converted factory and the band stayed in its first floor accommodation (very homely). The recordings were very much 'as is' with very little being re-done (not even all the vocals). The multitracks were left with Steve and he hopes to complete mixes during June. If the band is pleased with the results then they will become the next pinkflag release (PF3). Wire would like to mention for the record Steve was extremely nice and he and his crew made them feel very welcome. It wouldn't be breaking confidence to say that he is very much a fan.
So, it seems the signs are good that the band are going to continue to work together and perhaps even attempt to write some new material.
Statements regarding any forthcoming availabilities and activities can be found on the pinkflag website — www.pinkflag.com—and not Wire Mail Order as the merchandise people at the Garage mistakenly said on Friday. Mail Order enquiries should be made to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A whole bunch of new live reviews can be found in the live reviews section, including reports from the Garage gigs, and a couple of dates in the USA:
Jon Chaisson/Wire in Boston
Craig Grannell/Wire at the Garage (Friday)
Andrew Westmeyer/Wire in LA
Kieran Chapman/Wire in Boston
Mitch Goldman/Wire in Seattle
Paul Rabjohn/Wire at the Garage
Graeme Rowland/Wire at the Garage (all three nights, in slightly surreal fashion)
(More live Wire comments can also been found in the current WMO newsletter.)
Finally, Checkout.com also have another Wire interview online, which you can read via this link: http://www.checkout.com/music/features/info/0,7633,1914456,00.html.
Last month we gave you the chance to win a copy of the excellent Swim Team #1 compilation. Fifteen copies were up for grabs, and the lucky winners are listed below. (Please allow 28 days for delivery of your CD.)
Michael Chang, CA, USA
Heather Gant, WA, USA
Graeme Larmour, Greenisland, UK
Jan J Noorda, Leeuwarden, Netherlands
Gavin Cameron, Aberdeen, UK
Graeme Rowland, Manchester, UK
Gerald Hofmann, Freising, Germany
Paul Meighan, Herts, UK
Doug Wittner, WI, USA
Brian Peterson, CA, USA
Gerald Burnier, Lausanne, Switzerland
Aaron Oppenheim, Montreal, Canada
Thom Heileson, WA, USA
Andy Comer, NY, USA
Michael Halsted, CA, USA
Colin's Swim debut LP, Bastard, is soon to be re-released, and is already available via mail order. Please note that this is a single CD only version, and the limited 2CD edition is now out of stock. However, if anyone out there is desperate for a copy of Voice, Swim will include it as a custom CDR on any Bastard orders for an additional charge of £5.
In related news, some of you may be aware that Colin performed a DJ set post-Wire in Chicago. For those that are interested, here's the full set list that he played:
Colin Newman - Nothing (new Colin Newman/Malka Spigel track)
Immersion - How Long is a Piece of String?
Ronnie & Clyde - Mikki Maus
Bumpy - Pizza
g-man - Quo Vardis
Hawkwind - Master of the Universe (Colin Newman remix featuring Graham Duff on vocals - to be released in the future by Liquid records)
dol-lop - Phase
Ronnie & Clyde - Theme from a Lazy Life
Colin Newman - May
Silo - Templates
Bumpy - Bumpy B (new track)
Malka Spigel - Memories of Tomorrow
Colin Newman - Turn
Malka Spigel - Humans
Wire - Another the Letter 2000 (remix from RFH audio)
His next DJ set with be on June 15th at Sonar in Barcelona.
The new WMO newsletter, 3.3 is now available to read online—click here to do so!
It contains a plethora of Wire-related information stretching back to Royal Festival Hall, many comments from fans regarding the recent Wire tours, Bruce's DJing on the forthcoming Labradford tour, and information about WMO's future plans.
Speaking of which, May 30th saw the final release from WMO, the daring manchesterlondon from gilbertpossstenger. This collaboration between Bruce Gilbert (Wire) and Robert Poss and Susan Stenger (Band of Susans) occurred in October 1995 at London's Disobey club. The performances involved Bruce Gilbert on slide-guitar and sound manipulation, Robert Poss on guitar and Susan Stenger on bass and oscillators. The trio create an all-out sonic assault, underpinned by Stenger's bass riffs and Poss and Gilbert's experimental guitars.
Only 1000 copies are available worldwide. To order, send £12.00 cheque/postal order/international money order payable to WMO limited, PO Box 112, Stockport, Cheshire, SK3 9FD, UK or order online from the WMO website where you can also listen to sound clips from the album.
Sonus, the new release from VMU, finally arrived late last month. This collection takes a somewhat radical departure from the usually pop/dance-oriented nature of Veer, instead going headlong into abstract noise, rhythmic soundscapes, and ambient textures. Only once approaching 'pop' in a rather sardonic manner, Sonus moves from the distorted angelic instrumentation of The Crossing, to the harsh conflicting Dome-esque sound-loops of Broken, whilst retaining an artistic link with releases such as Like This through the thoughtful What to Believe and 2000 Strings.
'Almost Dome like in construction at times. Very good—love it!'
- Charles Snider, WMO
'Somehow I felt relieved there were no vocals, and in a nice way it reminded me of some music we used to use for background in institutional videos in the old days.'
- Paul Granjon, Z Productions
The album can be purchased from peoplesound.com.
Also recently available for perusal and purchase are Communications, an electronic instrumental set, Snub, the post-pop prequel to Like This, and, due to quite popular demand, the eponymous Fall-like Brickhead album and single, the latter of which includes the semi-legendary piss-take that is Square.
MP3 samples from all of the above can be grabbed from the above links or via the Veer website at http://www.vmuonline.com.
Well, that's it for now. We'll be back next month, a little smaller, but still perfectly formed! Keep on drillin'!
Who is to blame this month:
Editor: Craig Grannell
Hello, and welcome to the May edition of Wireviews. There are a couple of new sections for you to rummage around this month, along with all the usual news and updates regarding Wire and related projects.
Firstly, by fairly popular demand, there is now a page that contains all the archived news from this site. This stretches way back to June 1999, so it's a fairly hefty download, although it's all text and few images to minimise this!
The second new section became necessary when it became apparent that Wire are now at least at much a live entity than a studio one, and that is a set of live reviews pages.
Call for Reviews and Images
Wireviews has done its best over the past eighteen months or so to bring you reviews of most Wire-related activity, but as always, some things slip through the net. This is all the more obvious when one considers that Wire are globe-hopping in the not-too-distant. Hence, we are asking you to send us your reviews. Of the most interest are your reviews of live Wire gigs, along with any photographs you may have handy, especially for those in Dublin and the USA (I think we have enough Royal Festival Hall reports now!). However, if you are the literary type and feel like voicing an opinion on one of the Wire/solo releases that aren't yet covered by this site, then please do so!
As with current external works on this site, the author (ie: you) retain full copyright of your work, and are fully credited.
There are only a few things to bear in mind:
The work must be your own; no ripping great chunks out of newspapers and magazines. We've already been stung by that once, and don't really want it to happen again!
If you want anything back that you send by post then remember to include a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
If sending images via email, please compress them! Not only is the Wireviews email address a Yahoo! One (which means a 3MB limit) but in the UK we pay for our phone bills, so download time must be kept short! Please try and keep individual emails below 250k (compressing your images as GIF or JPG files, with a width of about 400 pixels is a good idea).
The following review of Wire's recent Dublin gig appears on the Irish Times web page:
'It's been 23 years since Wire released Pink Flag, their seminal debut album. At the height of the punk era Wire emerged as an alternative to the pogoing, gobbing culture of the time.
Reflecting their surroundings, the mood was industrial, remote, yet confrontational. It was this desire to capture the extremes of society that led Wire down a inventive path that saw them move from sophisticated punks to dance-pop merchants. In the process, they often alienated fans by ignoring past gems in favour of their latest offering. It was their first visit to Ireland and, guess what, the fans were there in force to hear the old stuff.
And what did we get? We got a band who have settled on the idea that their early material is what folks want to hear and hear it they shall. They kicked the set off with the track Pink Flag and the crowd went wild. They rumbled through their back catalogue to their fans absolute delight.
The front of the crowd pogoed as if their lives depended on it. For their final encore a grinning Colin Newman strolled onstage sans guitar, stepped to the mike and said 'Awlright... 'ere it is... and it goes... 12XU!' and the band surged into the track that fans world-wide had been waiting for.
It's very likely that we may be the first to have heard the track, live for decades. It was a real vindication for the fans and, while the wait may have been long for their Irish fans, it was truly worth waiting for.'
Review by Gerald Kelleher; ©2000 The Irish Times
Wire's performance at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival at Camber Sands holiday camp looked as though it went off well. Tim Robinson went to the gig, and his review can be found here.
For those who missed it the whole festival was web-cast and is available at: http://www.alltomorrowsparties.co.uk
You'll need Windows Media Player to view the gig; Macintosh users can get a beta version of this application from http://www.microsoft.com/mac—although we would recommend shutting down every other application before running it, as it's not that stable.
Graham Lewis was also interviewed at the festival and the results can be seen at http://www.playlouder.com/feature/18/#vids in QuickTime format. There's some interesting stuff within, including Lewis' comments on Wire's current working methods, and what may occur in the (near) future.
Wire also have three upcoming dates at the Garage, Highbury Corner, London from the 26th - 28th of May. Tickets are £10 in advance and can be ordered via The Camden Ticket Shop, via telephone (020 7344 044), or the Ticketmaster website @ www.ticketmaster.co.uk.
The raft label has released a 7" single that features Bruce on the B-side. The track is called Radiator, Plane, Bang. The A-side is by Raum.
Bruce performed alongside Disinformation (Joe Banks), farmers Manuel and Nomex at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London on 30th March as part of the Disinfomation: Blackout event. ICA's press release states:
'Military research into early warning systems has extended human perceptions dramatically in terms of distance, sensitivity and bandwidth. However, obsolescence is never far away. The result is a landscape littered with abandoned devices; a strange architectural legacy above and below ground. Blackout is a multimedia work made in response to these artefacts, exploring relationships between military architecture, sensory activity, archaeology and a vernacular avant-garde art.'
Cracked Machine webzine have recently added an old Beekeeper interview to their site. It's quite surreal reading, mentioning as it does the not very likely situation of a Wire reformation!
gilbertpossstenger's manchesterlondon CD is now available to order from WMO. Send £12 payable to WMO Limited to reserve your copy. Release date is May 30th. As reported previously this is the final WMO release to hit the shops. We have not given up on the possibility of 'limited edition mail order CDR' releases for a couple of remaining projects. Watch this space for details.
Also, in case you missed the note last month, WMO USA also has a new email address: email@example.com.
So that's it for this month. Tune in during June for reviews of the USA Wire tour.
Craig Grannell & Kevin Eden, May 2000.
This month's update isn't quite as gargantuan as March's, but we do have reproductions of some recent press articles by a certain Mr. Newman, more Wire reactions, and our very first competition, which is what we begin with below:
Swim Team #1 continues to get good press, and even made the Sunday Times record of the week, Mark Edwards noting that it is 'an extraordinary compilation that manages to be both challenging and highly listenable at the same time... The only downside, really, is that if you get this you'll probably end up having to buy at least half a dozen albums from which the tracks were taken'.
The NME also produced a favourable review, although they seemed more concerned with putting across the rather odd opinion that the artists on Swim are a bit like Wire (even Ronnie & Clyde!) Of course, Wireviews also produced a review last month, which can be found here.
Those fine folks at Swim Records have kindly offered fifteen copies of this excellent compilation. To try and win one all you have to do is send us the form below, correctly answering the questions and remembering to fill in your name, address and email details. (Hint: if you're not sure about some of the answers then it might be a good idea to have a rummage around the Swim website @ http://www.swimhq.com).
[Obviously, there's not too much point in reproducing said competition here, so it's been removed!—Ed.]
Well, the day after the night before turned out to be somewhat bizarre. After clamouring for Wire's return for near on a decade, the press by and large reacted with a belligerent 'HA! Gotcha!' and proceeded to rip into the Royal Festival Hall show (such as the NME). Much of the reporting was ignorant—the common criticism being that Wire were playing far too much of their '80s catalogue (which, of course, is rubbish music if you believe what you hear without actually hearing it). This failed to point out that 1) half of Wire's set consisted of pieces from their EMI period, and 2) musically, there was little difference between any of the tracks they played; it was all Wire, and more or less melded together into a pretty tight set.
Apparently, Wire looked bored on stage—they didn't react to the audience. Well, quelle surprise. Anyone who actually bothered to watch any of the Rockpalast video would have noted that Wire were never a particularly animated band (Newman's headbanging and Lewis' bass guitar swinging excepted), and as for reacting to the audience: Wire are not Robbie Williams or The Prodigy. No, really.
And then the rumours started: politics of the 'highest' order. Bruce would only reappear if Robert did, Robert would only appear if Wire dropped all vestige of electronics and became a 'rock band' once again.
It has to be said, I cannot believe that Robert would intentionally restrict Wire in such a way. It seems far more likely that the 'beat combo' approach was the simplest way of the band starting again; no faffing around with computers and sequences, just playing with a few guitars, mics and a drumkit—far more plug and play than any PC or Mac! Any anyway, Robert did not leave Wire in 1990 due to being 'forced' into programming drum rhythms. As he said in Eden's biography, he enjoyed all the creative elements. The reason he left was that said electronics eventually completely excluded the drums, something he was not willing to tolerate. But a lot can happen in ten years, as live shows by the likes of Moby, Banco de Gaia, Faithless, and even more mainstream acts such as Depeche Mode prove: live instrumentation can live in harmony, or controlled discord with programmed elements. Assuming Wire stay together I think it's pretty safe to say that both the set-up and the sound will evolve.
Overall, few people have realised a very simple thing: Wire are back. For how long, no-one knows, but at least many people who otherwise would never have seen the band have now gotten to do so. New material must appear soon though. As Uri Baran points out in the review of the Nottingham gig something's gone wrong if they are still effectively playing a greatest hits package in six months time. Hopefully, if/when new material appears, it will rise to the giddy heights of 154 or, even better, a combination of live and electronics, a kind of Bastard Said O' Beekeeper.
Also, there seems to be some confusion as to what Graham Lewis actually said at the end of the Wire set, and we've had people complaining about overt pretension ('we deserve it') to guesses that he was misquoting Shankar. Graham supplied us with the definitive version: 'To paraphrase the great Shankly: 'you thoroughly deserved it!' This refers to the thank you 'speech' given by Bill on receiving the football manager of the year award on one of those many occasions. He said: 'thank you, I thoroughly deserve it!' End of speech. Cool or what? As always it depends on where you're sitting.'
The reviews of It's all in the Brochure gig at Royal Festival Hall and the gig at Nottingham's Heavenly Social Club are still online. If there's enough response to the USA tour (in so much as we get some reviews through) a live reviews archive will become a permanent feature of this site.
Finally, for those still gagging for more images, John Roberts has put some great ones online at the following address: http://www.geocities.com/wirearchive/.
Colin Newman, press guru
It seems our Swim~mer, along with juggling running a record label and resurrecting Wire, has been dabbling with the press in recent weeks. He has so far had two articles appear in The Guardian.
Comebacks are Specious
Imagine the scene down at the 'Dunrockin' Home for the No Longer Crucial'. All the old punks are in the Dungobbin' wing with Wire assigned their own special cupboard under the stairs with a faded sign — 'Dundeconstructin'—hanging precariously from the door.
A message arrives from their faithful retainer artybloke, 'Mr. Important from hugely massive global media (toy and music division) says the kids think you're really spiffing and there'll be a fair few bags of crisps in it for your you if you'll trot around the world for a couple of years and sell their back catalogue for them.'
'Yippee,' say the boys, 'what fun! We're gonna be famous again!'.
Er, well, maybe not, but you can see how if you are serious about what you do and committed to contemporary art/music that anything that has the notion of 'comeback', 'reform', or 'retro' courts the above scenario.
So there we were at the Royal Festival Hall last Saturday. Rehearsals done, item designed, all the supporting cast that makes a show like this an event already history, 64 days and counting to the American 'tour'. Four blokes, blinking in the white light of their first structured and considered live forays for over 11 years. It feels like there are an ocean of possibilities. In moments of change there is a synergy between the past and the future as the moment expands to encompass them.
I don't know how far any of this goes beyond personal concerns but in my 'other job' of being an overworked and under resourced independent label boss I am very aware that there is precious little music out there which avoids the 'mix and match' aesthetic as a short cut to the rewards of success or that isn't so genre specific as to be a virtual industry with an industry. So little which struggles to gain recognition through rugged individuality that the smallest pinprick of an actual idea can seem at times like a huge gesture.
So, how does it feel being in wire in 2000? It feels, in all humility, that we might just be able to make a small difference.
Colin also appeared in The Guardian's 'Answer Me' column:
Getting personal with... Colin Newman (Wire)
Have you ever adopted a pseudonym and, if so, why?
When I was young and dumb I adopted the name Klive Nice for about three minutes.
Have you ever lied about your age and, if so, why?
Why do I need to when I'm still 18?
How would you describe yourself in a lonely-hearts ad?
My first wife described me as an 'acquired taste'—which I've always taken as a compliment.
What was the last illegal thing you did?
Listened to pirate radio (or is it just illegal to broadcast?)
What was the last kind-hearted thing you did?
Ran a record company without making any profit!
Who's the nicest person you've ever worked with?
My wife Malka, a working relationship that's beyond nice.
What are the initials of the most unpleasant person you've ever worked with?
Life's too short.
Has a critic ever made you cry?
They've pissed me off when they've been too lazy to listen to what they've been presented with. But cry, no way!
What would you advertise without a fee?
Daddies Sauce, Macintosh, allotments, posteverything, junk boy, English/American breakfasts, Andreas Gursky, Akai samplers.
What would you never advertise?
I'd find it hard to say much positive about 99% of the record and media industries.
What wakes you up screaming at 4 in the morning?
Very little (though not having any money can be pretty depressing).
What takes you to a 'happy place'?
See the 'advertise' list: and my wife, my son, amazing music produced by artists who are as long on imagination as they are short on resources, spring mornings, being valued for what I'm good at, travel, being alive...
Interview by Lucy Barrick.
WMO have a new email address, firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, congratulations to Charles Snider and his fiancee Mary, who recently got married!
What a waste
I'm sure by now many of you will have heard the very sad news that Ian Dury lost his battle with cancer on the 27th of March. Ian, actor, writer, and of course, singer with Ian Dury and the Blockheads was an inspiration to us all, overcoming his early battle with polio with great courage and determination to become a pop legend. Many of his witty lyrics will forever live on, embedded as they are in the public consciousness.
His classic track, Hit Me with your Rhythm Stick, is actually the first song I remember; I used to drive my parents nuts running round the house singing it when I was a nipper!
The world has lost a truly great man.
Well, that's it for another month. The winners of the Swim Team #1 competition will be announced on May 7, 2000, so, until then, take it easy.
Craig Grannell & Kevin Eden, April 2000.
Well, it's been a pretty busy month for all involved in the Wire story, especially with the gig at Royal Festival Hall, so much so that this month's Wireviews is split into several pages of reports, newsletters and the like. So, without further ado, here's what's new this month:
You want reviews? Well, we've got a bucketload this month including the brand new disc from Swim Records, Swim Team #1 and the EMI reissue of On Returning. Also reviewed is a plethora of Bruce and Graham material including He Said's Hail and Take Care, Bruce's Music for Fruit, Ab Ovo, In Esse, This Way to the Shivering Man and Insiding, and the Mute/Dome collaboration Duet Emmo's Or So it Seems. Oh, and Wire's new disc, Third Day.
A full page has also been devoted to a report of the It's all in the Brochure gig at Royal Festival Hall. In addition to this, you can find all the usual updates, such as a handful of new links and an updated 'Another the A List', which has seen the previously uncatchable Pink Flag toppled from the top—at last...
Unsurprisingly, this quarter's WMO newsletter is something of a monster, covering all Wire events from December until late February:
Bruce and Graham: MOMA exhibition and reports.
Swim: recent releases.
Wire: RFH previews, interviews and articles, Dublin and Nottingham gig, Royal Festival Hall set-list and line-up, pinkflag.com, and news of upcoming gigs.
Click here for the newsletter.
In addition to the long-awaited release of Swim Team #1 Wireviews recently received the great news that Swim is now accepting credit card payment via posteverything. In addition to the previous forms of payment, you can now also use credit/debit cards, Mastercard, VISA, Switch and Solo to order your goods.
You will need to also include the following information: details of the order, including catalogue number, required formats and quantities, card type, cardholder account number, name and initials exactly as they appear on the card, valid form date (if shown on card), card issue number (if applicable), card expiry date, statement address, contact telephone number (not a mobile number). All transactions are in sterling. Your credit supplier will make translation into your currency at the prevailing rate. Mail order dollar prices on the Swim website are only a guide to prices that will be charged by your credit supplier. This information may be sent to: Fax: +44.20.8789.0636; Phone: +44.20.7733.2171 (posteverything); Mail: swim~ PO Box 3459, London, SW19 6ES. You may also send the information by email (email@example.com), but you are advised that this is not a secure method for transfer of the information. No secure online facilities are currently available.
All products are securely packaged to avoid damage.
Revealing Trade Secrets
News recently came our way that a certain Stephen Harper has been appointed Lecturer in Communication Studies at Glasgow University's new liberal arts college in Dumfries.
Among other things he shall be teaching a course on Popular Music: Theory, Text and Sound. Artists on the menu will include Talking Heads, Pavement and, naturally, Wire.
So if anyone out there is interested in such a course, check out the Crichton College website @ http://www.cc.gla.ac.uk, which should have details later in the year (he begins lecturing in August).
All Tomorrow's Parties
As mentioned in the latest WMO newsletter, Wire is playing at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival. For those that are interested, here's the full line-up:
Stage 1: Super Furry Animals, Stereolab, The Delgados, The High Llamas, Ten Benson, Scott 4.
Stage 2: Secret Act (TBA), Labradford, Tarwater, Radar Brothers, Hood.
Stage 1: Sonic Youth, Arab Strap, Clinic, Snow Patrol, And you will know us be the trail of the dead, Ligament.
Stage 2: Shellac, The For Carnation, Pan American, Ganger, Motor Life Co.
Stage 1: Mogwai, Wire, Papa M, Sigur Ros, Bardo Pond, Two Dollar Guitar.
Stage 2: Gorkys Zygotic Mynci, Laika, Sophia, Pram, Plone, Alfie.
The event takes place from Friday April 7-Sunday April 9, 2000 at Camber Sands Holiday Centre, Camber Sands, NR RY.
Well, Wire is back. For how long, no-one knows (including the band), but let's enjoy it while it lasts. In addition to a bunch of new gigs, which are listed in the latest WMO newsletter, various people have been sending through live reports of February's Wire concerts. The main event, of course, was the gig at Royal Festival Hall. However, Wire also played two important warm-up gigs in Dublin and Nottingham. Wireviews received just one report of the former in a crazed, nameless form that simply read "Dublin—utterly f***king fantastic". Thankfully, the Nottingham gig was covered in a more sane manner by Uri Baran who kindly offered this report.
Finally, an EP from up-and-coming band Monomania found its way to Wireviews recently, and after noting that their website said they'd previously been compared to The Chameleons and Wire, I was suitably intrigued.
Oddly enough for an EP, they seem to start with the weakest track. Although Hellsinki is by no means bad, it just seems a little ordinary. The 'harmonic' vocals don't do it any favours (a criticism that could also be levelled at the middle eight), but the occasional great guitar riff (annoyingly replaced at regular intervals by static) saves it by the sheer process of being duly odd.
RC Esquire and the Mad Goth ramps up the tape in terms of quality and interest. It's a jaunty, shuffly, angular song full of energy. I guess the guitaring is where the Wire references come from, but this has true lyrical humour too: She came after me/RC Esquire and the mad Goth/It came after me. Great stuff.
Not particularly immediate, She's my Monomania became a bit of a grower after a few listens. More anthemic than Monomania's other pieces, the verses reminded me of late '80s indie in terms of instrumentation, especially the bass-line and vocals which are pure Inspiral Carpets. But then I like Inspiral Carpets.
The best is saved for last though as the final track, Sofa Bed, is something of a modern-day classic. Showing a more experimental and fun side of the band, a kitsch drum machine loop is joined by a dark, booming bassline and screechy ambience. The lyrics are quietly delivered skewed angst: I watched you endlessly/Because I thought you'd come for more/Guess you've taught me a lesson, see/I could barely sleep. The chorus then intensifies the whole mix, with a great vocal and chord progression.
Sofa Bed alone would make Monomania worth the effort. The humour evident in RC Esquire and anthemic possibilities of She's my Monomania could ensure some commercial success too. One to watch out for.
More information can be found at http://www.monomania.co.uk.
And that's it! Whew! Next month promises to be a little quieter, but we should have some information as Wire move towards their USA tour, along (hopefully) with some news of posteverything.
So, until next time, take it easy!
Craig Grannell, March 2000.
Hello, and welcome to the February edition of Wireviews. Much of this edition is taken up with details of the MOMA exhibition in Oxford and the upcoming Royal Festival Hall event, but we also have five (count 'em) all new reviews this month from Thousand. For those that aren't aware, Thousand is a division of WMO, and while it is once removed from that label, and therefore twice removed from Wire, many of their artists share the same innovation and forward looking nature of the other acts covered on this site. The full listing of reviews is:
- Thermal+Seofon: A Monument of Chance
- O.S.T.: Death Notice
- Orbitronik: My Computer My Stereo
- Various Artists: Knots
- DJ Faké: Conspiracy Theory
... so check them out now!
The Royal Festival Hall show on the 26th of February is now taking shape (box office +44 (0)171 960 4242). The full line up has been confirmed as Wire, Immersion, He Said and DJ x DJ (Daniel Miller/Seth Hodder) with special guest Michael Clark and company performing two new pieces with Wire. Visit the music section of the RFH website by clicking here.
nme.com filed this story in January:
Wire give new year presence!
Legendary art punk pioneers Wire will give away brand new material on a limited edition CD when they play their first show for ten years at London's South Bank Royal Festival Hall on February 26. The CD will contain recordings from recent rehearsal sessions where the band ran through old material and jammed on some new songs. It's likely Wire will be giving away three new tracks in all, but it's unlikely they'll appear as a commercial release through a record company.
Explaining the decision to reform after ten years, Wire guitarist Bruce Gilbert said "we were offered a night by the South Bank people and after a discussion everybody was sufficiently fascinated to look into it."
"We've had a bit of a 'kick-about' rehearsal for three days just to check that the spirit was still there—if not the ability. There definitely was which made us all more confident about it. Maybe three brand new things which will come out of the rehearsals."
"The rest of it will be some very old stuff. This is a retrospective view and it's something that we've never done before, which is a good enough reason for us to do it. We've never really played our back catalogue."
During the Wire gig, friend and collaborator of the band Michael Clark will stage a new choreographed 'dance' performance to two old Wire tracks. The title and details of the performance are still to be finalised but Gilbert revealed: 'I think it will involve two tracks, one will collapse at his intervention and another one will emerge from the debris. It's all about collapse and then reemergence.'
Gilbert also spoke of the 1995 dispute between Wire and Elastica which ended up with Justine Frischmann & co settling out of court with the band over the similarities between Wire's Three Girl Rhumba and Elastica's Connected. The guitarist said: "that was a business thing. It's to do with publishing companies and they had to protect certain things over that."
"Personally I have absolutely no problems with Justine or the Elastica project and I like the music."
"It's fascinating to some degree—it has to be flattering, really it's quite curious. But if Wire did have an influence I'd rather it be from an attitude point of view rather than from a musical point of view."
Contrary to previous reports, the Royal Festival Hall outing is not a one-off, although it's currently unknown whether Wire will offer any new recorded material other than the CD available at the show. Two warm up gigs, one at Nottingham's Heavenly Social Club (February 23), the other in Dublin at HQ (February 20), are planned, but won't be advertised in the national press, so call the venues direct or check local listings for details. Wire also have plans for international dates, the full details of which can be found on the official Wire website at http://www.pinkflag.com. Yep, that's right, Wire have finally got on-line. The site is currently an information resource for the band's current activities and portal for a plethora of Wire related websites, but certain elements of Wire merchandising look likely to appear soon. Keep watching the screens...
Lastly, if you go to the Royal Festival Hall performance, please send Wireviews your reviews and opinions via the contact form or email. We'll also be grateful for any photographs of the event, for our postal address please email direct.
Also, Craig Grannell (Wireviews), Charles Snider (WMO US) and Kevin Eden (WMO UK) should be there, so please come along and say hello.
Bruce and Graham
Graham and Bruce have just begun their contribution to Audible Light, an exhibition of sound and light at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford which runs from 23.1.2000-19.3.2000. Described as an exploration of 'how eight internationally emerging artists make use of artificially produced sound and light as a sculptural medium,' the exhibition also included contributions from Tommi Gronlund and Petteri Nisunen (Finland), CM Von Hausswolff (Sweden), Ann Veronica Janssens (Belgium), Ann Lislegaard (Denmark) and Carsten Nicolai (a.k.a. Noto) (Germany).
An audio CD, priced £3, is available and contains six audio tracks (one by each artist) and a CD-ROM track. To purchase this collector's item, contact MOMA via post at 30 Pembroke Street, Oxford, OX1 1BP, UK, telephone +44(0)1865 722733, fax +44(0)1865 722573 or via their website at http://www.moma.org.uk
We have received three reports about the show. The first is from Mark McQuitty:
"Well I dragged my family down to Oxford today to check out the Audible Light exhibition. Bruce and Graham's piece was called Alarm and consisted of an illuminated red alarm bell housed in a tall metal box. A sensor seemed to trigger the bell and I think there were some electronic tones generated underneath. And that's about it. It was probably the most minimalist piece there and had the least audio content of all the exhibits. Mmm... jury's out."
Paul Rabjohn added this:
"The show itself was quite good. The B&G exhibit is a six foot tall aluminium cabinet with and orange alarm bell visible through a window. I think the idea is that it senses you approaching and the bell rings. There were five other installations, mostly bigger scale than this, all involving electronic noise in some form."
"Graham was hanging around in the foyer... he confirmed he was going to do a DJ set as well as Bruce. Bruce then came over and they both seemed to be looking forward to the Royal Festival Hall night. Graham said he had no idea what Michael Clark would be doing."
"I then headed down to the basement cafe where the DJing was happening. Bruce was first up. He did about 20 minutes of 'Bi Yo Yo' stuff played quite quietly; very low key. Graham played next, together with a very Swedish looking guy [CM Von Hausswolff—Ed.]. They started with some He Said Omala type tracks and then started mashing them up with some noise. After Graham's departure his 'partner' carried on."
And finally, Howard Spencer gave us this:
"I thought the exhibition was disappointing—though probably not seen at its best on a preview night. I'd like to see the B&G piece again before I say too much."
"The live set, however, was superb... it was basically live mixes with Bruce triggering samples and Graham adding other effects to the basic tracks. Best moment was a cover of I've Got you Under my Skin — made it sound like it was about scabies."
"The DJ who preceded and followed them had an Eartha Kitt fetish, which made an interesting contrast."
"It is worth noting that B&G seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. Graham was looking very ebullient—doing a bit of lip-syncing to 'I've got you...' (wonder if he's ever considered doing drag?)"
The big news from Swim is the long-awaited follow-up to the excellent Water Communications, Swim Team #1, which will contain seventeen tracks, many of which are currently unreleased. The album will include pieces by Silo, Immersion, Legion of Green Men, Lobe, dol-lop, brand new tracks by Malka Spigel, Colin Newman, Ronnie and Clyde, Symptoms, Steve Gears, Bumpy, and another outing for the elusive Newman/Izzo track The Narrativ.
The other and rather special point is that Swim is aiming for a low, low price for this release. More news on this next month.
Wire Mail Order has a new address: Wire Mail Order, PO BOX 577965, Chicaogo, IL 60657-7965. This is effective as of now!
Well, that was a somewhat bumper edition this month. Due to the important nature of RFH there may be further bulletins prior to the gig, so keep checking back here! Next month also promises to be exciting with reports of Royal Festival Hall and a review of the new Wire disc from that show. So, until next time, take it easy.
Kevin Eden & Craig Grannell, February 2000.
Hello, and welcome to the new millennium here on Wireviews! (And to those of you who are now complaining that it's not the end of the millennium until December 31, 2000, I know, I just thought it would make a nice greeting!)
Anyway: Wire. There's not a great deal to report this month as Wire continue to plan for the Royal Festival Hall performance in February. If you are reasonably near to London around that time and still haven't got a ticket, first give yourself a good slap and second call the RFH box office on +44 (0)171 960 4242 and ask nicely for some Wire tickets.
In other news Graham Lewis and Bruce Gilbert along with CM Von Hausswolff, Tommi Gronlund (head of Sahko), Cartsen Nicolia and others will taking part in a group show at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford on 23rd January 2000. The private view will feature all participants DJ-ing. More details can be found at http://www.moma.org.uk in the press release section. Also, Swim will be releasing the eponymous Symptoms CD this month.
Observant people will have noticed the new 'info' section on the Wireviews toolbar, and this is home to a number of new things. First, there is a brand new Wire FAQ there, right up to date for 2000, a set of links to all the WMO newsletters [since moved to the articles section—Ed] and major articles since 1995 and a link to the current news page.
Other than that, there's been the usual update to the A List, along with a few tidy ups and amends to some of the reviews.
So, until next month (that of the Wire RFH gig), take it easy.