One Hundred Fifty.
Friday, 2011.12.09, 3:52 PM CST.
Fall 2010 Chronicles, Part V: Meeting Nitzer Ebb.
Current Mood: It feels like I'm
juggling pieces of my sanity sometimes... but I've seen worse days.
Current Scent: L'eau D'Issey by Issey Miyake.
I stated in the last
Journal Entry, the SRO25 event was an INCREDIBLE two-night party.
On the first night (November 26th, 2010), I got to meet Sanchez,
a DJ that I'd admired over two decades before. On the second night,
I got to meet two British gentlemen from one of my favourite industrial
acts of all time, Nitzer Ebb.
From left to right:
Doug McCarthy, one extremely thrilled Badger, and Bon Harris.
I realize that a lot of you have no idea who Nitzer Ebb (which I pronounce
NIGHT-zer ebb these days) are. Here's a bit of humourous history:
DOWN "MIXER F."
Waaaay back in 1988, the first year that I was getting involved in the
DJ world, my DJ mentor, Dave French, told me about this song
that he'd been hearing in the clubs. Neither he nor I knew what
the song was called, but he knew that it was just incredible...
with a hard electronic beat and simple lyrics that were repeating things
like "Work! Work! Work! Work!" and "Church!
Church! Church! Church!"
knew that I had to get this song... but I had no idea what the title
was, nor who performed it.
one evening, I was at Sound Warehouse (I forget which location... maybe
31st Street? It was definitely not the Cherry Street location),
and I asked a cute Asian employee behind the counter who did this song
that had these lyrics, and she said "Nitzer Ebb" (which she
pronounced NITT-zer ebb). She was saying this with a lot of loud
music playing in the background.
really, truly thought she'd said "Mixer F."
I went to work trying to find this mysterious song by a band called
Mixer F, hunting wherever I could and asking around like a complete
idiot. (This was before I had Paul at Mohawk Music at my disposal;
he would have known it in an instant.)
eventually somehow found out the real name of the band, and - not being
able to find the "Join in the Chant" single - I picked up
a domestic 12" single for a song called "Murderous,"
with "Warsaw Ghetto" on the B-side. I consider this
to be the first real industrial 12" I ever purchased.
loved it. I didn't enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the work of Depeche
Mode (with whose music I was growing more and more obsessed), but it
was quite good. Soon after, I FINALLY tracked down "Join
in the Chant," as well as some of the Belief-era singles
by them like "Hearts + Minds" and "Control I'm Here,"
and added them to my collection ASAP as well.
NITZER EBB, 1990.
So, eventually 1990 rolled around, and with it came the album Showtime,
providing now-classic singles like the incredible "Lightning Man,"
"Fun To Be Had" and "Getting Closer."
July 8th, 1990, I joined a group of friends including Dave,
Gerard, and Kelly from my old high school to see Depeche Mode perform
live at the Starplex Ampitheatre in Dallas, Texas. The opening
act was none other than Nitzer Ebb.
Nitzer Ebb's club hits, they were not nearly as well-known as DM.
So, in our little group inside this sea of concertgoers, Dave and I
were standing there loudly chanting along with the lyrics to "Join
in the Chant," while a great deal of the thousands upon thousands
of people around us had no idea who they were. It was rather exhilirating.
IS, EBBHEAD, AND BIG HIT...
the summer of 1991, Nitzer Ebb released a four-track EP entitled As
Is, followed by a single called "I Give To You" - arguably
their most melodic single with some wicked strings in the background,
and easily one of my favourites by them. It didn't hurt that one
of the producers of "I Give To You," as well as the other
tracks on NE's Ebbhead album - was Alan Wilder of Depeche Mode.
Needless to say, I found myself a huge fan of Ebbhead,
and looked forward to what they had in store next.
Big Hit, featuring the addition of new Nitzer Ebb member Jason
Payne, followed in the late 1990s. It was almost like Nitzer Ebb's
version of a rock album... and for the most part, it really, really
that, Nitzer Ebb faded away and broke up... for about a decade.
COMPLEX AND THE SRO25 EVENT....
In the mid
2000s, Doug and Bon reunited and eventually started doing live shows
again. In 2010, they released an album I certainly didn't expect
- Industrial Complex, which amazingly turned out to be my favourite
album of theirs so far. They even got to tour with Depeche Mode
again during the early 2010 leg of DM's
abysmal "Tour of the Universe."
their reunion was only a precursor to the most shocking news about the
SRO25 event: The second night of the party would include a LIVE
performance by Nitzer Ebb.
event (held at the club known as "Junkie Live" - as of this
writing, it's called "Red") was miniscule compared to normal
Nitzer Ebb events. Only 200 tickets were offered for the second
night, and I'm pretty sure they didn't sell out. My friends Jon
and Carrie Prough came down from Oklahoma City for the second night,
and as Nitzer Ebb - Doug, Bon, and Jason - took the stage on the venue's
tiny, tiny stage, my friends and I were right up at the front,
only a few stairsteps away from the band. It was the closest I
have ever seen a major electronic act, and it was AMAZING.
worked through a remarkably large set, covering hits from most of their
career (but, if I recall correctly, nothing from Big Hit, ironically).
"I Give To You" was featured as an encore, and you can imagine
how geeked I was about that!
the show, I hoped to meet Doug and Bon... but the only one I saw was
Jason Payne. I mean no disrespect to him, but I had brought three
records (out in the car) that I wanted signed by Nitzer Ebb... and he
wasn't on any of them, and thus I really wasn't interested in his signature
on them. So, I skipped him, chatted with Sanchez
for a while, and hung out with my friends.
a bit later, a new friend I'd met at SRO25, a wonderful young lady named
Ariel, asked me if I'd met the band yet. I asked her if they were
in the building, and she explained that they were actually on the opposite
side of the club and were openly meeting people! She and I dashed
out to my car, grabbed my vinyl, and ran back in. Jason was no
longer around, but Doug and Bon were... and after admiring their work
for over 20 years, I finally got to meet them.
happy to report that they were both extremely cordial.
I explained to them that the last time I'd seen them perform live was
in 1990, and that this meant a lot to me. Doug explained that
they still did shows like this for the "hardcore fans" like
myself, and he seemed extremely genuine when he said that. It
meant an awful lot.
they were both VERY happy to autograph the records ("Join in the
Chant," "Lightning Man/Shame," and "I Give To You")
and upon seeing a much younger picture of them on the 1991 "I Give
To You" single, Doug even nudged Bon with his elbow and smiled,
as if he was pointing out how much more muscular Bon had looked back
in the day.
getting their autographs, getting my picture taken with them, and wishing
them a safe journey, I returned to my friends and, soon after, headed
home. It was not an experience that I can foresee myself forgetting