Waiting for some friends to get out of what they're doing and come and meet me in the pub, I find myself killing time by reading about Baader Meinhoff online. Logically enough, I pull out Luke Haines' Baader Meinhoff album to soundtrack it.
At this point in time it's actually funny to think that anyone could seriously have considered Haines a pop-contender, but prior to 1996 he was courted as a crossover success. In the form of Lenny Valentino, he even had hits.
And then 1996.
A busy year. He released the Auteur's third album, the Albini produced After Murder Park, and Baader Meinhoff. The Auteurs album's first single was the brittle, perfect "Unsolved Child Murder", released in the same week as another of Britain's child killings. Baader Meinhoff was called Baader Meinhoff, credited to Baader Meinhoff and was a ten-track album of songs from the perspective of Baader Meinhoff. He excelled in his Dickens-villain personna in live gigs where he performed from the comfort of a wheel chair, looking like some librarian predator. He claimed to have suffered a fall, but no-one really quite believed him.
While dark, After Murder Park is more understandable than Baader Meinhoff. He presents these songs (Example titles: "Meet me at the airport". "Kill Ramirez" "Theme from "Burn Warehouse Burn"") in the style of what appears to be lo-fi Noir-funk. Disco-string sections dual with an distorted bass thud, his harsh whispers over the top. You couldn't dance to it, but you could probably slice off someone's head to it. Sound breaks down. Things are clearly not *quite* right.
This was, basically, the start of the second part of his career. This was his first, and probably best, expression of his hatred of nostalgia culture. At this point the seventies, the mind of the public, had been reduced to the disco, Abba and ridiculous flares. Superfly. B-cinema. Cheese nights.
Haines couldn't help but point out this was a lie. The Seventies were three-day weeks, impending fascism and rampant terrorism. So, with a warped version of the musical techniques, he reminds us of the fact.
You can't have Dancing Queen without Airport Hijackings.
What I've always liked about Haines best is that he's not a genius. He's simply a clever man acting with all the venom and precision he can muster at a society. Whenever I see him play, I half expect him to have "This Machine Kills Everyone" painted on the side of his guitar.
A line in a Haines gig of this period always sticks in my mind. He describes the audience as a meeting of "Misanthropes anonymous".
That's exactly it.
Kieron Gillen's Workblog, foo'.