Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Do Anything You Wanna Do
Norton Records & The A Bones' Billy Miller & me in Memphis
photo by Windy
Do Anything You Wanna Do is a punk rock era song by the punky pub rock band, Eddie & the Hot Rods. "Eddie" is songwriter Ed Hollis, whose brother Mark lead the pop-turned-proto-ambient band Talk Talk. I mention this record, these songwriters and bands because they are/were all Island Records/Music artists during my tenure at the firm.
Island Records was always a dream job goal for me - ever since I was a teenaged Sparks, Roxy Music, Eno, Nick Drake fan. The Island Records imprimatur meant a lot when you were in a record store... if you were undecided about which record to buy with your limited funds, the Island label meant 9 times out of 10 that you'd love the record.
It was my friendship with The Plimsouls that lead to my job at Island. It was the place I had always wanted to work once I figured out you had to work. The Plimsouls' manager/producer, renown DJ, record producer and long-time Chris Blackwell associate, Danny Holloway worked at the Los Angeles office as the second-in-command of the music publishing division. Boldly, I asked him for and he gave me a job in the department. One of the first things I had to do was learn the entire catalog. Talk about your dream jobs... it was my job to listen to all the records in that office that were recordings of songs published by Island and/or Ackee Music. One of those records was indeed Do Anything You Wanna Do written by Ed Hollis for Eddie & The Hot Rods... it was a song I knew well for years before joining Island. The song was my credo!
For all the things that punk rock is and / or was purported to be - chaos, anarchy, a new youthful movement - whatever... the charge to "do anything you wanna do" meant more to me than all the lyrics I heard and had quite a lot in common with the Sex Pistols refrain, I wanna be anarchy.
To me, punk rock meant (in the words of Rabelais, 4 centuries before Aleister Crowley would claim them and the Rabelaisian Giant characters' Thelema as his own) do what thou wilt - or in today's vulgate: do what you will, with "will" meaning intent... yeah.. punk rock philosophy 101. Rabelais, by the way, was a bad ass Renaissance era French punk rock dude before anyone dreamed of punk attitude. He was a bawdy humorous humanist who was also a physician in addition to writing about the grotesque in an avant-garde style.
me in 1975
Ever since I can remember, I have been taking pictures. I hijacked my parents' camera when I was a toddler and this is where it got me. Without knowing that's what I was living up to, I was indeed living up to the punk rock credo I embraced: "do anything you wanna do" and "do what thou wilt." What I willed was capturing images.
Eventually, those images ended up in magazines, books and on record covers. Chalk it up to right place/right time or whatever... I'm saying its the punk rock message that got me there...
I can't tell you how many times in my life from the 1990's onward, I'd travel just to see shows where the Oblivians were playing, and after they split up, I sought out every show I could catch by Greg Cartwright aka Greg Oblivian.
In 2007, Greg and Billy Miller - with whom I am pictured at the top of this post, both figured into my career as they both endorsed/vouched for me to Mary Weiss when it was time to take photos for her album, Dangerous Game, which both Billy and Greg produced and wrote songs for. Greg's current band project, The Reigning Sound were Mary's backing band
In addition to good words on my behalf from good friends, I attribute this success to living by the code set by Rabelais in his hysterically funny Life of Gargantua and Pantagruel, by Aleister Crowley for stealing the line, and by Eddie & the Hot Rods singing the sentiment to "do anything you wanna do."
Ultimately, it pays off.
I was recently interviewed for the RockPop Gallery about the work I did with Mary Weiss, the Reigning Sound and Norton Records. Click the link to read the piece and see the pix.
at 1:13 AM