Category Archives: Nick Clift

Art & Authoritarianism + Influential & Ignored

Last year before the election, Philip Kennicott, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Art and Architecture Critic, imagined with clever wit, what would happen to the Arts in America if Mr. Trump became President. His scenarios were fantasy, but the context for Kennicott’s creativity was built on facts: In a gallery in Chelsea, New York, a crudely made sculpture of the new president sitting on a toilet, using the Constitution as tissue paper is ignored by collectors and critics, but amusing passersby. A church group is outraged, the President comments, “It’s disgraceful, they take your tax dollars to make this filth.” Agitated vandals are prompted to spray-paint graffiti on the gallery’s windows. Only they get the neighborhood right, but the address wrong. Many in the art world are amused, but it worries others. We are barely two weeks into the new Presidency and Kennicott’s question,“What would happen to the arts if this country turned to authoritarian leadership?” is more chilling than ever. Philip Kennicott even manages to add a swipe at climate-change deniers in his perceptive commentary for the Washington Post. Next on Life Elsewhere, a repeat of an important discussion on the fallout from the Trump administration.

The second part of the program was prompted by Norman B’s recent visit to KEXP radio in Seattle.“I was explaining to the station manager how in 1984, I had an earlier version of Life Elsewhere on KCMU (now KEXPradio. A teenage listener would call my show regularly, he’d say, “Can you play that Folk Devils record again? That young music fan went onto form his own band and a decade later he was a worldwide sensation, but tragically committed suicide soon after.”  The reference to the Nirvana frontman and one of his major influences had come up in an interview with musician Nick Clift, who has lovingly put together a tribute to his sadly departed friend and bandmate Ian Lowery, who fronted both Folk Devils and Ski Patrol. Influential and ignored is a fitting description for both UK bands. Clift believed the legacy of Lowery and his band Folk Devils deserved to be remembered and perhaps rediscovered. To that end, he has released a stellar compilation, Folk Devils: Beautiful Monsters (Singles & Demo Recordings 1984 – 1986)Nick Clift resurrected the Folk Devils recordings and tracked down the original tapes, which had spent 30 years languishing in the home of the band’s former manager. With expert help, he re-mastered the recordings to capture the ragged fury and adrenalized energy that uniquely characterized the Folk Devils. In the next edition of Life Elsewhere, you’ll hear tracks from the recent compilation and Norman B’s conversation with Nick Clift.

Life Elsewhere airs:
Sundays 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  

Mondays 5.00pm PT & Wednesdays 2.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio
Thursdays 6.00pm ET at Internet Radio Network

Life Elsewhere Music airs:
Wednesdays at 3.00pm Pacific Time on NWCZ Radio
Fridays at 10.00am Eastern Time on Internet Radio Network
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You can hear all the volumes of Life Elsewhere Music over at Mixcloud

Influential & Ignored

“It was Seattle circa 1984, I had an early version of Life Elsewhere on KCMU (now KEXP) radio. A teenage listener would call my show regularly, he’d say, “Can you play that Folk Devils record again? That young music fan went onto form his own band and a decade later he was a worldwide sensation, but sadly died soon after.” This is part of a story Norman B has not widely publicized before. He is in conversation with Nick Clift recalling the conundrum of discovering new music that was both influential and ignored. Clift, a one-time member of another overlooked band Ski Patrol, has lovingly curated a tribute to his friend and Folk Devils frontman Ian Lowery. The result is a stellar compilation, Folk Devils: Beautiful Monsters (Singles & Demo Recordings 1984 – 1986). Nick who was in Ski Patrol with Lowery, believes the legacy of the man and his band Folk Devils deserves to be remembered and perhaps rediscovered. Named after Stanley Cohen’s book on youth subcultures, Folk Devils and Moral Panics this highly underrated British band was as far as one could get from “folk music”. They were formed by Ian Lowery, (formerly of The Wall and Ski Patrol) in late 1983 with a line -up that consisted of Whiteley on bass, Kris Jozajtis on guitar and Alan Cole on drums. By early 1984, their heady brew of swampy rock on a bed of bastardized blues had created a vehicle for Lowery’s increasingly misanthropic worldview. A well-honed gutter poet since the early days of punk, Ian had developed an idiosyncratic style, fusing a natural gift for sly wordplay and a well-turned snarky phase with his often vitriolic and poignant lyrics channeled through an explosive onstage persona. Gigging constantly, yet by early 1986, frustration within their ranks had created a point of no return, and the band imploded. Ian’s artful and sparse tales of love, loss, loathing, and libation may well have been before their time. He died at the age of 45 in 2001. Nick Clift decided to resurrect the Folk Devils recordings and tracked down the original tapes, which had spent 30 years languishing in the home of the band’s former manager. With expert help, he re-mastered the recordings to capture the ragged fury and adrenalized energy that uniquely characterized the Folk Devils. In the next edition of Life Elsewhere, you’ll hear tracks from the soon to be released compilation and Norman B’s conversation with Nick Clift.

Life Elsewhere Show #184 airs:
Sundays 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  

Mondays 5.00pm PT & Wednesdays 2.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio
Thursdays 6.00pm ET at Internet Radio Network

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If you miss any editions of Life Elsewhere, go here then go to the Listen On Demand panel, choose the date of a show and click play.

Check out the Life Elsewhere Music page and download Norman B’s curated selections of new, obscure, rare, unique and extraordinary music; hits of the future; artists who deserve your attention and timeless recordings you probably missed.