Home > In Celebration Of > Steve Lamacq RIP

Steve Lamacq RIP

Jean Baptiste Lamarck

He’s either dead or finally leaving Radio 1 after 16 years, I forget which one.

These are the same changes that are seeing Bobby Friction leave Radio 1, but for some reason that’s not making headlines. Strange that.

Look, this isn’t gonna be a summary of the Lamacq years of The Evening Session: for a indie fuck like me, mid 20s, Lamacq effectively dictated my discovery of “cough underground cough” music in the years I became awakened to it, say 1998 through 2001.

Eventually ILB will publish a series of articles on “the lost years of indie”, the music that came up between the releases of “This Is Hardcore” and “Is This It”, and we can all sit back and remember The Bitter Springs and whatever that one indie band who had Melinda Messenger in their video and got on the Wednesday National Lottery draw were called. We may name the series of articles “It’s The Year 2000, Is There Anybody Out There?”. But that’s for another time.

No, today, we want to pay tribute to what was clearly the most important compilation album of its time:

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Steve Lamacq’s Bootleg Session Volume 3. I know, right? Free with the Melody Maker in 1999, part of a series of CDs, some of which probably contained M Organ on them idk, that took the pulse of the Evening Session shows at the time. Allow me to talk you through three tracks in particular.

Arsonists – Pyromaniax!

Did any rap act from the late 90s see their lustre fall as heavily as the Arsonists? It’s probably impossible for people to remember now, seeing as Q-Unique’s gone off to do the “I fuck a whore with a knife/ And then listen to some Pantera” thing with the Psycho+Logical crowd while the rest of the dudes now work in Foot Locker, but the Arsonists were the indie kid’s rap band of choice in 1999. They were on Rawkus, so they had more “look ma more indie cred” than Jurassic 5, but they weren’t as beardstrokingly worthy as Black Star.

People always mistake the idea that Lamacq was strictly a show where they played hopeless bloodless indie music: they played a lot of hopeless bloodless rap and electro as well. Time hasn’t really been kind to this track: sinister carnival beats basically got taken off the critical guestlist circa the release of “The Great Milenko”, and really even at their best Arsonists were just a designated driver Tha Liks. Still, song kinda makes me wanna break out Worms Armageddon again.

Frigid Vinegar – Dogmonaut 2000

Yeah, I know it was the “Lamacqmanaut 2000” remix that was on this CD, but do you think in 20 years time when people are critically appraising the might of Mika they’re gonna be talking about the version of “Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)” where he changes the lyrics to be about the cast of Ugly Betty? No they won’t, and that’s because hopefully Israel will eradicated all existence of Lebanese culture from the planet by then.

Frigid Vinegar were a… novelty act? KLF/Cassetteboy/Cuban Boys style “event” act? Crock of shit? Possibly all three. Nice flip of the Tom Jones sample though. Frigid Vinegar released a couple of other singles: one contained the line “You said I wasn’t good looking like Bob Mortimer” and the other featured a middle-of-his-nervous-breakdown-in-public Les Dennis. They later pretend that Frigid Vinegar never existed and rebranded themselves as somehow even worse hoolie rap act Acarine, and spent the next four years being buttfucked by Cass Pennant on demand. Nice work if you can get it.

Hefner – I Love Only You

Does anyone really know what music Steve Lamacq actually liked? I’m sure we’re gonna get to his post-retirement autobiography (fun fact: his current autobiog, 2002’s “Going Deaf For A Living”, contains an end chapter where he goes “Well, it’s been an exciting journey in music, and thankfully hot new bands like JJ72 will keep going way beyond the next ten years”) and discover that while he was playing all this stuff in public, he actually fucked off home to listen to Ladies First and Yomanda. I recall him at various points naming Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Green Day, and the fucking Vandals as his number one picks, which makes it all the stranger that he called chose Hefner as his “BEST BAND IN THE WORLD TODAY” in one of his Melody Maker columns.

Quite frankly, no band are as underrated as Hefner: the first three Hefner albums may, pound for pound, be better than the first three Belle and Sebastian albums. It was the same formula over them: utterly broken ridiculous looking man mixes up Christianity with a desperate misogyny and fucks art students after two bottles of rose. But they did that shit so perfectly, when it comes to “Jesus Christ is awesome but so are teenage girls, what am I to do?” they really do push Violent Femmes to the line.

Getting into Hefner was a bit like the point in your indie listening career where you’d grabbed enough crystals from the Aztec and Industrial Zones to make it worth you going to the Crystal Dome itself, where instead of Richard O’Brien acting like a cunt you had John Peel exchanging weirdly paternal banter with Lamacq before playing you Neko Case and some dead country blues musicians. So it’s kinda fitting that’s how they chose to end this compilation.

Steve Lamacq will be appearing on a radio station you don’t listen to as of next month.

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  1. August 11, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    I totally agree with you regarding Hefner

  2. mrchurn
    August 12, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    ^^^^ This.

  3. January 16, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Hefner are great. Lamacq originally, and most famously, wrote for the NME. Didn’t know he subsequently had a column in MM but then I quit the music press in 96. Lamacq’s high profile brand of indie, along with, lest we not forget, Jo. Fucking.Whiley. was the point where genuinely indie music died.

  1. August 14, 2009 at 2:05 pm

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