The last founding member of the visionary German band left alive, the 81 -year-old remembers how he repudiated his Nazi father to discovery freedom in music
In the dining room of his jogging farmhouse in Provence, Irmin Schmidt pours a glass of rose in preparation for being interviewed. At 81, he is twinkly, genial company, a little at odds with the image he projected as the keyboard player in Can, the Cologne band once described as” the most influential and worshipped avant-garde band of the late 20 th century “. While his bandmate Holger Czukay used to play up for the camera, Schmidt tended to stare sternly down it from between a pair of immense sideburns, every inch the serious musician who had trained under Karlheinz Stockhausen.
Since the band split up in 1979, he has induced solo albums, conducted, written cinema scores, penned an opu. He says he doesn’t much concern himself with the past. He is dismissive of Can’s brief late-8 0s reunion on the grounds that it” voiced too much like Can” and balked at a suggestion that he should join an all-star Can tribute group at the Barbican’s 2017 celebration of the band’s 50 th anniversary:” It was a wonderful performance they did, but I entail, playing a Can piece as a sung, having to learn the fucking piece and remember it …” He giggles.” We never cared about what people expected. I always imagined if one day we would go onstage again, people would think:’ No, this isn’t Can. This is another group- we are in the wrong place .'”
After the way is criticised for its tone-deaf portraying of same-sex relationships, Ora says sorry for the style she expressed herself
Rita Ora has apologised after her new song Girls, featuring all-star guests Cardi B, Charli XCX and Bebe Rexha, was criticised for a “tone-deaf” approach to same-sex relationships.
The song’s lyrics reference Ora’s bisexuality, saying,” I’m 50 -5 0 and I’m never going to hide it ,” before going to get a chorus that rebuffs a man’s advances, read:” Red wine, I simply want to kiss daughters .” A line from Cardi B reads:” I could be your lipstick just for one night .”
Pop star Hayley Kiyoko wrote on Twitter that Girls did” more harm than good for the LGBTQ+ community. A anthem like this just gas the male gaze while marginalising the idea of women loving females … I don’t need to drink wine to kiss daughters; I’ve loved women my entire life .” She added that the sung” belittles and negates the very pure impressions of an entire community “.
R& B singer Kehlani, who recently defined herself as queer on Twitter, wrote that” there were many awkward slurs, quotes … I never presumed it was for men lol just think certain quotes weren’t progressive .” DJ Kittens wrote:” This song is literally about was intended to hehe kiss daughters when you’re drinking and smoking weed … It’s harmful when LGBT women are fetishised and no relationships are ever taken seriously .”
Ora has now responded to the criticism, saying she was ” sorry[ if] how I carried myself in the song has hurt anyone. I would never intentionally cause harm to other LBGTQ+ people or anyone .” She said the song” was written to represent my truth and is an accurate account of a very real and honest experience in my life. I have had romantic relationships with women and men throughout my life and this is my personal journey .”
She had previously said the song was inspired in part by Katy Perry’s similarly-minded I Kissed a Girl, though Perry herself lately admitted that some lyrics in the ballad were outdated, telling:” It has a couple of stereotypes in it .”
Petula Clark was an uncool 60 s pop star on the rise when, 50 years ago today, she held on to Harry Belafontes arm on US television, and sparked a race relations furore
Had you asked anyone in 1968 to pick the British female singer most likely to become embroiled in a race-related TV scandal , no one would have said Petula Clark. Not “Pet”. Not pop’s prim Miss Jean Brodie to the St Trinian’s brass of Sandie, Cilla and Lulu. Not the “Singing Sweetheart” of the wireless era.
Clark’s elocutionary voice was first immortalised on shellac in 1949 and filed under “easy listening” ever since, whether it was her first UK No 1, Sailor, in 1961, or her signature anthem Downtown. The latter swim with the tide of the Beatles-led British Invasion to top the US charts in early 1965, helping her become the first British female vocalist to win a Grammy. That it was also written by the man afterward responsible for the topic to Neighbours, Tony Hatch, tells much about Clark’s immunity to the Vidal Sassoon cool of her younger, earthier pop peers: she was an anomalous supper club chanteuse for whom the 60 s often glisten but never swung.
And yet it was Clark who, in the decade’s” year of insurrection“, determined herself at the centre of a media disagreement involving race, censorship and endemic bigotry in a newly desegregated yet depressingly divided US. All because she had dared to place her white, English thumbs upon the black Caribbean-American arm of her friend and fellow singer, Harry Belafonte.
” It sounds stupid now ,” says Steve Binder, the TV director responsible for encouraging their contentious intimacy.” But back then it became an international story in Newsweek and Time magazine. It wouldn’t even have been an incident if the show’s sponsor hadn’t said anything. Petula touched Harry’s arm and the next thing they went bonkers .”
Binder was a 35 -year-old pop TV veteran when he was hired by NBC to direct Clark’s first one-hour US TV special. The sponsor was Plymouth motors, a division of Chrysler, and the catalyst for all the ensuing hullabaloo was its head of ad: a 49 -year-old decorated US Air Force pilot and former second world war PoW named Doyle Lott.
Lott’s military record almost certainly had something to do with his evident opposition to Clark’s choice of guest star. Once the ” King of Calypso “, by 1968 Belafonte was using his celebrity to become a prominent civil rights activist. That February, he’d stood in for Johnny Carson as host of the Tonight Show, discussing Vietnam, poverty and racial inequality with political friend Bobby Kennedy, and his close friend, Dr Martin Luther King Jr . Belafonte’s liberal, anti-Vietnam stance wouldn’t have sat well with Lott’s Silver Star medal for valour in combat , nor his waiting plot in Arlington cemetery. Whatever his motives- political or racial- from the moment Binder first brought Belafonte’s name into discussion, Lott attempted to veto him.
” As soon as Belafonte said yes to the demonstrate, I rang up the ad bureau to tell them the good news ,” tells Binder.” They told:’ You’ve got Belafonte! Wow !’ Because at that time Harry had more or less stopped doing range Tv. So this was a real coup, to have Belafonte back singing on screen. But then two minutes later, I get another call from a different guy at relevant agencies who tells me:’ We have to get rid of Belafonte .’ I was confounded. And the guy told:’ Off the record, the reason is Lott’s a bigot. He doesn’t want a black person on the reveal .’ I was speechless .”
The Eagles of Death Metal frontman also compared handing in guns to avoid handgun violence to men dismembering themselves to end rape, and accused protestor Emma Gonzlez of treason
Jesse Hughes of Eagles of Death Metal, the band whose concert at Paris’s Bataclan venue was targeted by terrorists in November 2015, has criticised this weekend’s March for Our Lives protest against gun violence, which took place across the US. Across five posts on Instagram( three of which he has since deleted ), the 45 -year-old directly assaulted the survivors of the Parkland school shooting in Florida and shared rightwing memes.
In one of the remaining posts, Hughes shared an illustration of a woman telling a man,” I turned in my gun to do my part in stop violence ,” to which he responds,” I chopped off my own dick to stop rape .” In a caption beneath the post, Hughes questions the efficacy of passing new legislation as a route of “[ combating] chronic abusers and disregarders of the law( like the law against Murder )” and accuses the Parkland survivors of” exploiting the death of 16 of our fellow students for a few Facebook likes and some media attention “.
The Guardian has approached Hughes’s representatives for comment.
The musician continued:” The Whitney Houston song about letting the children lead the way wasn’t actually had[ sic] operating paradigm for life…..And when the truth don’t line up with your bullshit narrative simply hold your breath and stamp your feet and refused[ sic] to except[ sic] it …. then take multiple days off of school playing hooky at the expense of 16[ sic] of your classmates blood ….!…. it was possible to funny if it wasn’t so pathetic and disgusting ……”
Hughes depicted on his own experiences at the Bataclan:” As the survivor of a mass shooting I can tell you from first-hand experience that all of you protesting and taking days off from school insult the memory of those who were killed and abuse and insult me and every other devotee of liberty by your every action…..Long Live Rock’n’Roll ….. and may everyone[ sic] of these disgusting vile abusers of the dead live as long as possible so that they are able to have the maximum sum of time to endure their shame….and be Cursed ….”
In a deleted post, he shared a Photoshopped image of student protester Emma Gonzalez supposedly rending a transcript of the US Constitution in half. The original photo, from a Teen Vogue photoshoot, pictures Gonzalez tearing a gun scope target in two. Hughes described Gonzalez as:” the Awful Face Of Treason…..survivor of Nothing….Lover of Treason…..enjoy your little moment…..it’s about to End …… #stupidity #hatersofliberty #loversofsatan #borntolose #2ndamendment “.
A third, deleted post, contained multiple images: an illustration of a bottle of pills labelled” Hard to Swallow”, followed by an image of a hand holding three pills, each bearing a caption:” Our guns aren’t going anywhere “;” “Theres only” 2 genders “; and” Donald Trump will be your chairman for 7 more years “. In Hughes’s caption, he promised” moronic dingdong headed losers” that he would report any threats made against him to the FBI.
In a fourth, deleted, post, Hughes shared a photograph of a pro-second amendment patch, with the caption:” I can tell you right now that the actions of these misguided youth and evil socialists is inducing “i m feeling” frightened … with every broadcast of a willing and complicit press I feel the wall of security that the Constitution provides being taken down bit by bit …..”
A fifth post, apparently made after deleting the previous three, contained an image of a ceramic eagle. In the caption, Hughes wrote,” I’ve always believed in the motto I may not agree with what you’re saying but I’ll die for your right to say it. Saddens me to ensure so many not have this motto for the same …..” He said he would start a second Instagram account for his political notion, and preserve the fatherbadass account for “Rock’n’Roll”.
After 89 people were killed by terrorists while attending an Eagles of Death Metal concert in Paris in November 2015, Hughes suggested that France’s strict gun control statutes did nothing to mitigate the bloodshed of the night.” Did your French gun control stop a single person from succumbing at the Bataclan? If anyone can answer yes, I’d like to hear it, because I don’t think so ,” he said.
The musician and sometime performer has often been referred to as David Lynch’s muse: one of her ballads appeared in his 2006 movie Inland Empire , and since then they have recorded an album and an EP together. She has been making music in various guises for 20 years, and in 2017 released her first solo album , We Dissolve , produced by PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish. She goes by her full first name, Chrysta Bell, a southern-inspired spelling of Christabel, the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem she was named after( fittingly, it deals with mysterious women and the supernatural ).
When we fulfill at a hotel in Paris, she has just released a self-titled EP– a wistful, languid affair full of water imagery and symbolism- and is about to perform at the Philharmonie de Paris with French singer Christophe( guess a more bedraggled Johnny Hallyday ). She has flown in from the Country the night before but explodes into the room full of energy, immaculately turned out in a 40 s-style dress. While on screen she emanates a cool gothic beauty-” I thought she was like an alien, the most beautiful alien ever ,” Lynch said of first seeing her perform- in person she has the air of a southern belle: unfailingly polite, warm and upbeat, with the sort of posture that makes you instantly sit upright.
Chrysta Bell first fulfilled David Lynch in 1999, introduced by an agent who thought they’d get on. They hit it off right away, talked for hours, and wrote a sung together that day.” Before you meet David, he’s this icon, it’s kind of impossible to believe he actually exists. Then you insure him, and he’s real ,” she recalls.” We figured out that day we’re complementary as artists and as friends. Everyone was really happy .” They started making music together- he’d write the lyrics and she the melodies- resulting in their haunting, dreamy 2011 album This Train .” It became a regular thing: I’d come to the studio and we’d build music we both loved and we’d have coffee- a lot of coffee .” She laughs.” Man can drink coffee .”
On one level, it may seem obvious why the director was initially drawn to her- with her waist-length dark hair and femme fatale red lips, she looks like she’s been beamed in from the David Lynch cinematic cosmo- but it’s more than that: they have a compatible artistic sensibility and a shared interest in mysticism and spirituality. In the studio, she tells,” we’d have these great conversations- we have similar intrigues: esoteric subjects, the great unknown “. She’s partial to digressions about the imagination and destiny, but it’s hard to be cynical about it: there’s exuberance and openness in everything she says, and a beguiling lack of irony or malice. When she utilizes phrases such as” cosmic beyondness”, she apologises with a little smile.
The day before the interview, I send an email to Lynch via his assistant, asking for a couple of quotes explaining what he admires about Chrysta Bell’s work. This is the reply:” David loves Chrysta Bell. Here’s what he has to say about her:’ Chrysta Bell is round and fully packed, and what comes out of her reminds me of a light blue songbird with extended wings, and a shining beak .'” I read this out to her;” Wow, that’s really sweet ,” she replies, and wells up.
Soul singer Claudia Fontaine, who has died aged 57, was a Zelig-like figure in the 1980 s, backing up performances by Elvis Costello, the Jam and the Specials and was not the only unsung pop hero of the age
I didn’t know Claudia Fontaine’s name until this week, when she died at persons under the age of 57. I knew her face, though, and her voice: she was as much part of my pop adolescence as being poised over the intermission button of the radio cassette recorder while listening to John Peel, or wondering whether I’d get back to Paddington from some London venue for the last develop home to Slough.
Fontaine was part of Afrodiziak, first as a duo with Caron Wheeler( afterwards of Soul II Soul ), and later as a trio with Naomi Thompson, who were the British record industry’s backing singers of option for much of the 1980 s. In those days, even for mimed appearances, solo artists or groups would often bring along to the Top of the Pops studio the people who actually appeared on the records, and so Afrodiziak became regulars at BBCTelevision Centre, as well as on Channel 4′ s The Tube.
Some backing artists become famous in their own. Sometimes it’s because of one specific performance: Merry Clayton on the Rolling Stones’ Gimme Shelter; Clare Torry on Pink Floyd’s The Great Gig in the Sky. Sometimes it’s because of the enormous number of incredible records they appeared on: the Funk Brothers at Motown; the Wrecking Crew in Los Angeles; the Swampers in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
You wouldn’t build those claims for Fontaine. Afrodiziak’s contribution to Sunset Now by Heaven 17 is not, whichever way you cut it, going to be “was talkin about a” in the way of the Swampers’ performance on Aretha Franklin’s I Never Loved a Man( The Way I Love You)- but that’s fine. If you were growing up in the 80 s, Afrodiziak- even if you didn’t know who they were, as I didn’t- felt as curiously central to Top of the Pops as Ooh Gary Davies, awkward teens and the feeling of shame as you demanded stillnes from your family for the three minutes of your favourite band.
The couple will play together for the first time since their On the Run tour in 2014
Beyonce and Jay-Z have confirmed gossips that they will tour together this summer, detailing dates in the UK, Europe and North America. The married couple previously mounted the On the Run tour together in 2014, to promote their respective albums Beyonce and Magna Carta Holy Grail.
The couple’s latest album releases are 2016′ s Lemonade and 2017′ s 4: 44. They are appearing together on DJ Khaled’s current single, Top Off.
Next month, Beyonce will headline California’s Coachella festival. She was initially due to headline in 2017, but receded on doctors’ orders after was found that she was pregnant with twins. The couple have three children in all- Blue Ivy Carter, six, and the twins Rumi and Sir, born 13 June 2017- and will celebrate their 10 th marriage anniversary on 4 April.
The On the Run II tour starts in the UK at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on 6 June, before moving to Glasgow’s Hampden Park( 9 June ), Manchester’s Etihad Stadium( 13 June) and the London Stadium( 15 June ). They will then head to Europe for 11 dates, before a run of 21 dates across north America, concluding on 2 October at Vancouver’s BC Place. A pre-sale begins on 14 March before tickets go on general sale on 23 March.
‘ I detest the 80 s for the mullet I used to have’ … Steve Lukather, third left, with Toto( l to r: Steve Porcaro, David Hungate, Steve Lukather, Bobby Kimball, David Paich and Jeff Porcaro) Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/ Getty Images