Audio Mouth Breathers

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a new breed of idiot to celebrate.

Recently I become annoyed at people on You Tube that had my music up as soundtracks to a still image. There’s plenty of reasons to despise this:

* If they had made a video to go with the music, they would have added some small thing to the store of art. They didn’t and haven’t.

* They often see themselves as providing something that otherwise would not be heard. 10 seconds with Google would have told them otherwise. Their self promotion allows no such deviation.

* They often describe themselves as some sort of collector. A collector, the way that somebody picks up my garbage. Again they have not actually researched anything, have no idea of what it means and have no inkling that the year 1990 passed some time ago. It’s 2011. You are old and fat and so are The Bangles.

* Like all good Fascists they pretend to speak ‘on my behalf’. Particularly distressing are those academics that promote their redistribution of other people’s work as ‘a gift economy’ – the same that would condemn anyone that spoke on behalf of another person with less power – but then academia and hypocrisy are siblings.


I could go on. But let’s get to the meat.

I was told by one that he was a connoisseur of vinyl and that he wanted people to hear what the music sounded like on that format. Now, the idea that by streaming audio over the incredibly low bandwidth of YouTube Flash format you were demonstrating the quality of analogue audio is so UTTERLY FUCKING STUPID that I regret my membership of the human race.

Perhaps it’s not clear – let me put it this way – if you said that an original oil painting was better than a print and you prove this by providing a black and white photocopy of the painting then you are as thick as two short planks. No one would for a moment believe a word you said. And yet somehow there are people out there who are commenting on the superior sound they are streaming down from YouTube.

One particular serial retard based an entire critique of my later music on what they had downloaded from YouTube. Well yes, everything I have done recently has a bandwidth of 12KHz. You’re so perceptive.

It’s worth repeating (how many more times?) that everything we recorded since 1985 was recorded digitally. The record labels would make a tape from that and press vinyl and leave me to cry at just how BAD these unnecessary modifications have made the sound. Then when some oaf tells me that the vinyl sounds superior it broadcasts their ignorance. Let alone over YouTube. Ye Gods!


I have the original recordings. Telling me what it is supposed to sound like makes you a fool. Get it?

Now I am getting some people who complain about how loud CDs can be. It’s on the level of ‘Why is this loud-over-the-top-noise-music loud-and-over-the-top? Why are you making this thumping sound like thumping and this screeching sound like screeching? This is not how it sounds on the vinyl I bought 25 years ago!’ Well no shit Sherlock. When you cut vinyl you have to turn it down. You have remove bass. You have to compress the stereo image. You have to run it through limiters. You end up with something which is called ‘warm’, like a pie that’s been too long on a heating tray. Vinyl sucks and the really loud and crunchy CDs are free of these compromises that I have hated.

Bottom line – if you want to live in the past go ahead. But to try drag it all back to your youth is desperate. Let the rest of us go on ahead, we don’t need you.


And here it comes … the hate mail!

A depressing number of people of course didn’t actually read what I said and started another chorus of that tired old song about analogue, unicorns and rainbows. Good for you.

One guy decided that I was in no position to call the Bangles (and presumably him) fat. Actually that’s the point dear chap, I’m not the one injecting sonic Botox. The sweet bird of youth is dead on the bottom of the cage, so let’s all be grown ups now. Look in the mirror. I’m near 50 years old, it’s 2011, and 1982 may as well be 1882 for what it matters any more.

I particularly liked an impassioned plea that I respect ‘fans’. You have to ask what a ‘fan’ means? Let’s see:- no idea about what’s been happening for the last 20 years, never buys anything, steals my shit, never contacts me. Oh yeah, right that’s a FAN. With fans like that who needs indifference? Or maybe it’s a case of be kind to these people because they are particular delicate flower who ‘mean well’?

I have a community of people who I DO respect, and they in turn respect me and this is far healthier than the notion of a ‘fan’ – a kind of hostile dependency that should have been taken out back and shot a few decades ago.

The rant is valid, the rant calls out bullshit. I will denounce things that suck.

13 thoughts on “Audio Mouth Breathers

  1. Go on bad mood guy!

    I always loved how the bass sounded on Dressed in Air and Casey’s Ion… 2 of my favorites ever…

  2. Well said, Sir.
    I am, of course, NOT one of these people you speak about.. but have recently discovered your work and found you rather interesting. So much so, that I decided to look you up which is how I discovered this page.
    Is it weird, that I read the entire contents of this page and heard it in my head as the voice that was in the Dead Eyes Opened video?
    Yes I know I must be nuts but.. well, fuck it, we’re all nuts in our own way!
    Lol have a fantastic week.

  3. I am 40 and still growing, specially the belly :-). I can’t get Sevs in Space out of my head. Even the voices in my head love it and they sing it.

  4. Well you are right as usual Tom. But at the same time, am I to condemn myself for being a fan. I emailed you several times to thank you for your shows. Is that wrong? Is that stalking? Is that I want you? No it is simply I enjoy your music.

    Put it this way, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age called a fan a faggot. This person is still a fan. I think we can divorce ourselves between the person as the artist and the person as a human being that may hate me or someone else.

    Bottom line is, we agree but keep doing Petrol/Greater Reward/Dead Eyes Open. Even if you put on a show of pure electronic noise I would go. Makes me wrong and bad, but i’m sure Lady Ga Ga doesn’t care if her fans worship her.

    And yes it is 2011 and yes we are all over 40 here (likely) but I still get a thrill out of Greater Reward or Harold and Cindy Hospital or Big Car. I thought when I read this I was bad and wrong for feeling this way. But f**k it, you can hate fans all you want, or like them or be indifferent or think they are fools or whatever, your music is brilliant and I don’t mean just the hits, and fools sometimes need to be tolerated.

    Roll on Gary Numan dates as I will be there screaming and dancing to whatever you chose to play Tom regardless of if you think we are fools or angels.

    “My wings are not for you”

  5. “But at the same time, am I to condemn myself for being a fan”

    You can like something without being it being a hysterical catharsis. It’s more enjoyable for all concerned. Words like ‘condemn’ and ‘divorce’ and ‘tolerate’ indicate an emotional level that is excessive for what’s really involved.

  6. Agree tte, my point was more I can understand the foolishness of those re the issue you were talking about.

    I just felt that I go to any 70 or 80’s band purely because I like the band not to recapture the past. Maybe I am different. Sure if Duran Duran do girls on film yay. But in your case Tom, again maybe it is wrong, but if you turn up and did no Dead Eyes Open or Big Car, I would not be disappointed. All the times I have seen Severed Heads have been great but obviously both Kelvin Grove 2007 and Beck’s Bar 2010 are special memories because it celebrated the audio visual marriage of song.

    It is 2011 not 1982, the bangles and most of us may be fat, but no I agree it should not be a hysterical catharsis nor a let’s get back our youth. So point taken especially re heavy emotional language.

    “Carry the news, the nation of two is in despair”

  7. What if the complaint isn’t with CDs per se (I agree that they’re better than vinyl), but CDs where the sound is compressed and bricked to the shithouse in order to make it sound “loud”? As in how a lot of SevCom CD-Rs have been lately?

  8. @tte
    “You have to ask what a ‘fan’ means? Let’s see:- no idea about what’s been happening for the last 20 years, never buys anything, steals my shit, never contacts me. Oh yeah, right that’s a FAN. With fans like that who needs indifference? Or maybe it’s a case of be kind to these people because they are particular delicate flower who ‘mean well’?”

    I used to be a fan, but then I bought your music. Now I can’t stand you. 🙂

  9. All I can remember is you talking backstage at Peabodys Down Under in Cleveland, Ohio, about something called Bombay disco. Back in the 1980s when people I loved were still alive.

    Seriously, I can’t collect anything else tangible like CDs or vinyl. I have no more room. Well, except for…[tangent] Fortunately, the price per GB, no… TB for magnetic storage keeps on dropping, so that seem like the way to go. At least until the next big electromagnetic pulse.

    Plus, there’s F#$% the cloud.

    Thanks, Mr. Ellard. I laughed until I pissed myself.

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