The Rock Club Q&A

Duff Steer review and Q&A with The Rock Club

http://www.therockclubuk.com/index.php/reviews/album-reviews-19366/2847-lyle-christine-duff-steer

Hi Lyle, how’s Glasgow treating you today?

It’s a bit drizzly, it’s a bit dreary, but we’re all still out in the streets, holding hands and wishing for a brighter tomorrow.

The BBC 6 music festival is coming to town shortly, does that help local musicians in anyway?

I think so, it should be good for venues, good for bands – I like 6 Music, Shaun Keaveny wakes me up each morning (my radio alarm clock, not him in person), so I’d be more attracted to a festival supported by that station, certainly more than a tour supported by the likes of Radio 1. Being a Southsider in Glasgow, it’s nice to see venues such as Glad Café and Rum Shack included in the festivities.

New Album ‘Duff Steer’, who is in the band and where/when was the album recorded?

The band is…. only me, all on my lonesome. I’ve been a solo recording musician for almost 10 years now, although it’s entirely possible I’ll get back with a full group at some point in the future. Duff Steer was recorded over 2016/2017, backing tracks laid down in my home studio, vocals recorded at Dixon Street studios in Glasgow.

This looks to be your eighth album and your first was 2007? Has your sound changed over the years and how do you feel you have grown as a musician in that time?

So, my first solo record in 2007 was Why Doesn’t My Album Sounds As Loud As Everyone Else’s?, and back then I wanted to try out a fairly heavy-digital sound, with layered drum machines, distorted synths, and guitars overdriven with digital clipping. But really, that was more a one-off experiment – at heart, I’m a guy who likes good guitar sounds, good guitar songs – for example, I really like the style and production of Kurt Vile’s album B’lieve I’m Goin Down… (2015), the opening track Pretty Pimpin sounds amazing. The thing is, when you’re a recording musician who is also your own engineer/producer, it’s really tempting to throw on synths, or techno drum beats, or 5 track guitar solos. And I like that freedom to experiment, but it costs time and doesn’t always work. The one consistent thing about my albums is, each record usually has a couple of songs that don’t work, but I leave them on – good, bad or indifferent, publish and be damned. Then move on to the next one.

Any live dates planned to promote the new record?

Only press promotion for the new record at the moment, mainly to satisfy my ego without having to go outside.

Is music full time for you or is there a day job as well?

Well, let’s put it this way – my income from Spotify royalties for December 2016 was 5p. That’s right, five pence. Read it and weep, wage slaves.

What was the first album you bought and where from?

It was To the Extreme by Vanilla Ice, 1990. I was 10 years old. My sister also took me to see Vanilla Ice that year in Edinburgh. After the show, she looked ill and said “I have never seen so many pelvic thrusts in my whole life”. My next purchase, one year later, was Nevermind along with ACDC’s For Those About To Rock. You can hear all three of those influences in everything I’ve ever done.

One piece of advice for new guitarists just starting out today?

Trade in those guitars for shovels.


Last 10 songs added to my YouTube favourites list:

  1. Stand Back (Stevie Nicks)
  2. Entropy in the UK (D-Generation)
  3. False Jesii Part 2 (Pissed Jeans)
  4. Love On Top (Beyonce)
  5. Despair Came Knocking (Daniel Johnston cover by Circuit des Yeux)
  6. Solid Air (whole album – John Martyn)
  7. Tubular Bells (Champs Boys)
  8. Urgent (Foreigner)
  9. Beautiful World (Devo)
  10. Why Bother? (Weezer)

D-Generation is the early 90s dance band which (recently deceased) cultural theorist Mark Fisher was in. Not to be confused with D Generation, the gross glam punk crapfest band from New York.

I really love the cover of Despair Came Knocking. And my love of Devo knows no bounds.

Mark Fisher & Sweet Pee

I was very saddened to hear that cultural theorist Mark Fisher recently took his own life: (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/18/mark-fisher-k-punk-blogs-did-48-politics)

I thought his book Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? was excellent. He was only 48 and had struggled with depression. A big loss.


Last 10 songs added to my YouTube favourites list:

  1. Warehouse: Songs and Stories (whole album – Hüsker Dü)
  2. Babe I’m Gonna Leave You (Led Zeppelin)
  3. Make Some Noise (Beastie Boys)
  4. She Sells Sanctuary (The Cult)
  5. Bulls on Parade (Rage Against the Machine live 2010)
  6. You Know You’re Right (Nirvana)
  7. Bonzo Goes to Bitburg (The Ramones)
  8. Stormcock (whole album – Roy Harper)
  9. One Man Rock ‘n’ Roll Band (Roy Harper)
  10. I’m Gonna Be Your God (Slayer)

Roy Harper’s Stormcock has been a treat recently, highly recommended. Also, Warehouse: Songs and Stories takes me straight back to my punk rock 16 year old self – a big album during my formative teenage years.

Speaking of formative teenage years, The Fife Herald recently ran this piece on my high school band Sweet Pee (photo from 1998):

nostalgia sweet pee

Bizarre and awesome.

 

Shows I’ve Seen

20th June 2010Paul McCartney (Glasgow, Hampden – support from Sharleen Spiteri)

21st Aug 2007Sonic Youth (Glasgow, ABC)

14th Dec 2006The Melvins (Glasgow, Garage – support from Flipper w/Krist Novoselic)

11th Oct 2006 – Andy Fairweather Low (Perth, Bein Inn)

25th Aug 2006The Rolling Stones (Glasgow, Hampden – support from The Charlatans)

25th Feb 2006 – Hundred Reasons (Dundee, Reading Rooms)

19th July 2001Status Quo (Edinburgh Castle – support from The Beach Boys)

13th July 2001Bob Dylan (Stirling Castle)

10th June 2001Neil Young & Crazy Horse (Glasgow, SECC)

3rd November 2000The Who (Glasgow, SECC)

30th Oct 2000Smashing Pumpkins (Glasgow, SECC)

21st June 2000 – Bill Wyman & The Rhythm Kings (Glenrothes, Rothes Halls)

15th Oct 1999Therapy? (Glasgow, Garage – support from Rico)

4th June 1999The Rolling Stones (Edinburgh, Murrayfield- support from Sheryl Crow)

24th April 1999BB King (Glasgow, Clyde Auditorium – support from John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers

Sept 1998 – Noel Redding (Glasgow, Cathouse)

25th Jan 1998Green Day (Glasgow, Barrowlands – support from D-Generation)

CLASSic

There’s been much talk in recent years of how out-of-touch the political and media classes are with society, and this alienated relationship feels particularly pronounced in the UK and America.

My anarchist side welcomes this breakdown, as part of me remains hopeful that public resentment of these propagandist times leads to pressure which engenders change. However, there’s a prejudice in me that feels people will instead make stupid decisions when they’re angry. Have I been guilty of stereotyping Brexit and Trump supporters? To some degree – but it’s hard to ignore the contradictions in their arguments. The blue-collar populations of America whose lives were destroyed by outsourcing have voted for a billionaire capitalist whose own business uses outsourcing in order to avoid creating jobs or risking money (http://www.pbs.org/…/column-trumps-outrage-over-outsourcin…/). In the UK, a significant section of the population stubbornly cling to the belief that their misery is caused by small Polish sausage and cheese shops rather than the gargantuan financial, political and media corporations.

Trouble in Paradise

I’m really enjoying Slavoj Žižek’s “Trouble in Paradise” just now.

For the hard of hearing, I’M REALLY ENJOYING SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK’S “TROUBLE IN PARADISE” JUST NOW.

This work has turned me onto wholesome red-blooded Commie ‘dialectic humour’:

“A guy sits down in a cafe and asks the waiter for a coffee without cream… the waiter apologises and says they’re out of cream but would a coffee without milk be OK?”

I’ve recently started using Goodreads, why not join me: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/54559133-lyle-christine 

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Last 10 songs added to my YouTube favourites list:

  1. House Of Broken Promises – The Hurt (Paid My Dues)
  2. Neil Young – The Needle and the Damage Done
  3. Cat Stevens – Sitting
  4. ELO – The Diary of Horace Wimp
  5. Betty Boo – Hey DJ I Can’t Dance
  6. Rapeman – Two Nuns and a Pack Mule
  7. Green Day – BBC Sessions 1996
  8. Jaco Pastorius – Dear Prudence
  9. Sluts of Trust – Leave You Wanting More
  10. Trouble – Tales of Brave Ulysses

 

 

More Maxims

  • Writing lyrics is my least favourite part of creating music. I’ve made some terrible lyrical mistakes in the past which should have been punished by tar and feathering. Approaches which are valid: stream-of-consciousness; critical/political; surreal; punny. Approaches which stink: obvious/literal; love and/or sex; boneheaded banality; nostalgia; twee.
  • Vocal styles which I detest: that screamy screamo/hardcore/emo thing; and similarly, the ‘bowels of hell’ impression of satan that usually happens at some point in a screamy screamo/hardcore/emo track (“OK auld yin, and is the jitterbug too highly sexualised for your taste?”); the whispered baby-voice that accompanies acoustic interpretations of popular 20th Century songs on TV ads just now; twee baby-voice; people who sing from their postcode rather than heart (e.g. exaggerated “Laaahndahn Taaahn”).
  • Calvin Harris, David Guetta and Skrillex earned an average of $42 million last year. Since 2014, I have earned $12.87 in royalties (half of which were my own purchases to test that the royalty system is legit). They say “you gotta live the blues to play the blues”, but I’m broke and my pentatonic riffs always sound like Lenny Kravitz.

The last 10 videos I added to my YouTube favourites playlist were from: Desalvo; Tim Cappello (Lost Boys); Bruce Hornsby; Ghostbusters Theme Remix; Roy Buchanan; David Bowie; Beastie Boys; Stevie Wonder; Gloria Gaynor; Primus

I particularly recommend the Roy Buchanan track (“Sweet Dreams”) – beautiful guitar playing. Also, Desalvo were a band from Glasgow I had the pleasure of watching live in 2008 at the Balcony Bar in Dundee. Excellent stuff, shame they split. Also, Desalvo employed a screaming vocal style which sounds sincere to me – that’s what makes the difference.

A Shopping List of Thoughts

 

  • I’m a jaded mid-30-something. Ten years ago I was a jaded mid-20-something, and so forth. Disillusionment is no longer a feature to be experienced by some individuals at a certain point in their life, but rather has become a defining characteristic of the overall contemporary age.
  • I’m treading carefully though – declarations of ‘the end of ideas’ in the past have rightly been mocked. The quote “children must be taught how to think, not what to think” is attributed to cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead which I think resonates well with the jazz adage “It’s not the notes you play; it’s the notes you don’t play”. The world would be vastly improved by teaching people what not to buy.
  • Sentimentality is a big selling point in art and business (as this article highlights). Subsequently, I think it’s fair to deduce that the fear of sincerity from within the spheres of art, business and media has become a cultural obstacle which has paralysed our natural instincts of exploration. In 1965 Mick Jagger sang (I can’t get no) Satisfaction; 50 years later the anthem should surely be (I can’t get no) Exposure.
  • Milk
  • Bread

The last 10 videos I added to my YouTube favourites playlist were from: Captain Beefheart; Frank Zappa; Motley Crue; George Michael; Le Tigre; LL Cool J; Focus; Mahavishnu Orchestra; Satchel; Wang Chung.

That makes my taste look pretty eclectic, but the reality is I’ll listen to any old shit.

Toil!

More ‘sheet’ than ‘press sheet’, click here for a PDF of empty words which accompanies the pathetic letters I send to record labels. Detailed biographical information can be invented by starting a Wikipedia entry on my behalf. I have recently finished album No. 7 – The Landed Gentry. I have started work on the follow-up record which shall probably be a 5 song EP.

Writing about my own music isn’t an easy thing to do as there’s a good dozen other things I’d rather be doing instead. If it helps, the last 10 videos I added to my YouTube favourites playlist were from: NWA; Herbie Hancock;Torche; John Lennon; Kinski; Curiosity Killed The Cat; Massive Attack; Nick Cave; Al Green and The Spencer Davis Group.

Please get in touch if you have any specific requirements or allergies.

Greetings!

TIDINGS! My name is Lyle Christine. The music business makes me sick, so I do things my way – writing, recording, producing, rehearsing imaginary courtroom monologues.

Lyle Christine: an insatiable creative-type, patience of a toddler, radioactive levels of cynicism.

‘Many a little makes a mickle’ or, to put it another way, ‘look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves’. My albums are found here. My current business model is to charge £7.49 per album, 79p per track. Last week’s market strategy was pay-what-you-want. Next week I’ll try a three-tier consumer saturation campaign incorporating loyalty schemes and longevity incentives. When I said ‘the music business makes me sick’, this is what I mean; I am not a salesman.

How do I describe my music? It’s flaky. Not so much in a psoriasis way, more in an unreliable way. Some songsmiths like to change key in the middle of a song; I like to change song in the middle of a song.

And so on, and so on, I’m sure you get the etc.

I played in bands many years ago (e.g.), but my primary focus for a long time has been as a solo musician. It’s entirely possible I’ll play with a new group in the future, if the price is right (i.e. it won’t cost me my mental stability).

I live in Glasgow. I have lived in Dundee. I grew up in the magical kingdom of Fife.

Cheerie-bye!