Digging for Gold and Getting Dirty Fingers

I listened to a podcast of an interview with Glen Hansard of The Frames (backstage at the Austin City Limits festival that I attended in September) where he was asked what was on his Ipod. He said a few very interesting things. The first thing he said was, “no one will top Pink Floyd as a band.” I tend to agree. Roger Waters has put out some amazing music over the years, and I’m partial to Floyd with Rog, but David Gilmour is pretty impressive. The way they made music can’t be duplicated except by themselves, I guess that’s why no one has tried.
He goes on to say that he listens to Radiohead the most. He says that a band like Radiohead is searching, and that they are bored enough to be digging and digging. He describes Thom York as digging through the mud and finding Pyramid Song. Then he says bands like Keane and Coldplay take that gold that Radiohead dug up and make wonderful music with it, but emphasizes that Radiohead got its hands dirty. “They dug for gold and got dirty fingers, and a bunch of other bands are wearing the gold and their fingers are clean” was the exact quote after mentioning Coldplay and Keane. I think it’s pretty accurate. He also describes them as avante garde. He goes on to explain that in the battlefield the avant garde or vanguard soldiers went into battle knowing they were going to die. They were the frontline running towards the bullets spitting and screaming, the last man standing would plant the flag before he was killed and the rest of the army would know they could advance to the flag. He describes Radiohead as destroying their career experimenting to pave the way for hundreds of other bands.
I’ve often been heard saying, “I appreciate them as an influence, but I can’t get into their music.” I’ve never said this about Radiohead, but I’ve said it about Sex Pistols and Lou Reed and Grateful Dead.
Also in the interview Hansard is asked who his favorite songwriter is. He says there’s a trinity of songwriters for him. Dylan, he’s the actor wearing the mask. Leonard Cohen, he’s the poet. And Van Morrison, he’s the bull, the emotion. A fascinating interview from a fascinating time.

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