Published: 10 February 2000 / Pages: 304 + 8 pages b/w photographs
Price: £12.99 - but if you want a brand new copy for £3 (!) + postage then email me directly (email@example.com)
Beck is 40 years of American music rolled into one small frame. Borrowing deeply from sources as diverse as Appalachian folk and New York hip-hop, he also passes through blues, punk, pop, rock and country on the way. He's arguably the most important, original force in contemporary music - yet there has never been an incisive, definitive study of his work until now. Beck! On A Backwards River follows the career of the diminutive icon from his first ever single - the indie smash 'Loser' - to his status today as the most innovative musician since Prince. This book closely examines the man behind the music whose music heads optimistically into the new millennium. PRESS REVIEWS
‘With his bohemian background and early career struggles Beck is ripe for a biography and Beck! On a Backwards River is a serious attempt to chronicle his life and put his work into context.’
‘Every Beck fan will want to get their hands on a copy!’
‘Jovanovic manfully tackles the enigma that is Beck Hanson…Those keen to discover the hows and ways of his art will glean insights into Beck’s musical alchemy, and there are plenty of interviews with those who have played with him along the way. There’s also a complete discography, to help you keep up with Beck’s scattergun recordings.’
‘A compelling tale.’
‘A book detailing the eclectic maestro that a real fan will fall over themselves for. On a Backwards river has all the vital statistics, every kind of ‘ography’ you could think of, and a thorough dissection of Beck’s life and career…this comprehensive Beck-tionary has him well covered for the time being.’
‘Carefully compiled homage to Beck…’
New Musical Express
‘What does finally across is that the man-boy is going to be with us for many years and the best is yet to come. That alone makes this such an enjoyable read.’
"Jovanovic's book provides an excellent overview of a fine artist" Amazon.co.uk
click on following link to buy this book at amazon.co.uk
or directly from me for £3 + postage - a must!
(to be completed)
Some Beck Links-
Deborah's slo-jam site http://slojamcentral.tripod.com/news.html
and don't forget the official party line at www.beck.com
BECK INTERVIEW PART 1 - for the full story check out Record Collector magazine December 2002 issue....
A chat with Beck Hansen
Beck Hansen interview conducted by Rob Jovanovic on behalf of Record Collector
On the phone from Denver, Co.
August 7th 2002
Record Collector: Sorry if the tape recorder puts you off, it will keep beeping.
Beck: It beeps?
RC: Yes, it’s a legal thing to let the other person know you’re recording them.
B (laughing): Ok, some espionage.
RC: Did you get the email I sent with the questions? The London office said you wanted to read them first.
B: No, my email has been down all week.
RC: OK, well in case you’re not familiar with Record Collector it’s similar to Goldmine, long articles with full discographies, stories about collectable stuff.
B: - lot’s of vinyl, that kind of thing?
RC: Yes. So, let’s start by talking about some of your more collectable stuff. Tell me the story behind the Golden Feelings tape, when was that recorded?
B: That was in the early 1990s, I had a four track but one track was broken so it was really a three track and every three or four months I would make a cassette album and you know, I’d make 10, 15 copies, sell a few at shows and give copies to my friends and then I’d be off on the next thing. It was a way for me to have the process of writing and creating songs and to have them put on a tape and have people hear them, it helped me have some perspective on it. It was my cut-rate version of making records and I put out a handful of those tapes.
RC: Did the change the track listing much from tape to tape?
B: During that period I’d have a show every week and write all new songs for each show. I was writing two songs a day. I still have lot, one of the songs from the new record is from that time.
RC: The earliest ‘release’ if you like, that I know of yours was a cassette that circulated under the name Banjo Story. Was that that a name that bootleggers gave it or was that your own title?
B: I gave it that name. That was around 1990.
RC: Are these surviving tapes from your time in New York?
B: Yeah, and you know a couple of years ago someone gave me a fifth generation copy of one of these tapes and you know by the fifth generation it’s kind of sped up so it was like the chipmunk version, it was ridiculously high. Most of the bootlegs I’ve heard from those early tapes are sped up.
RC: Another early release I have a copy of is called Fresh Meat & Old Slabs.
B: Yeah, that’s something I made for my Mom actually for her birthday I think. I made it because she opened up a café and she wanted some of my music to play in the café. So I put together some of the different songs off the different tapes I’d made.
RC: There’s quite a few songs from these early tapes that you since re-recorded and released. Is this an on-going thing where you keep going back and seeing what you still have tucked away somewhere?
B: I probably will because some of those songs still deserve to see the light of day and it was a different time, you know, writing in a different way.
RC: So moving on to your first ‘proper’ release if I can call it that, is A Western Harvest Field By Moonlight.
B: Yeah, I think that probably is my first proper release.
RC: The first pressing was issued with original finger-paintings in the sleeve.
B: There was all of these labels trying to sign me and there was one, this girl Meredith, she was from Warner Brothers and she had her own label called Fingerpaint and she said “I really want to put out an EP.” And at the time I had three different albums going, and I’d had so many years of trying to find someone who’d put something out, I had a lot of music stockpiled and so that record was just my project for two weeks. I recorded a bunch of it on the four-track and then did the rest of it at Poop-Alley. That was a studio that a lot of bands were recording at at the time it was in an auto mechanic garage, I had to wait for them to stop the auto-mechanic drills to stop between takes.
RC: So it was pretty lo-fi stuff.
B: Yeah, in the end they had the idea to put an original finger-painting in each one so we had a huge party at my house and we covered all the floors with paper and we just let everybody at it. It was one of those Fellini-esque all night painting melees.
RC: Do you know how many were issued?
B: I think the first run was about a 1,000 copies.
RC: They’re quite expensive now.
B: Are they?
RC: Well I paid over $100 for mine!
B: Really?! I’ll have dig out, see if I still have a copy, see if I still have one.
RC: It’s always good insurance to keep a few copies back for yourself.
B: I know, I think Mick Jagger said something about that once.
RC: I guess around the same time was the Stereopathetic Soul Manure compilation, which is one of my favourite albums.
B: I get a lot of people who say that, probably more the record collector types. I’ve always wanted to go into a studio for two weeks and do another record like that.
RC: The dates on the say that this collection built up over quite a period of time,
B: Not really, most of then were ’91, ’92. There’s just a couple that were a little bit older.
RC: What’s the story behind the little spoken word interludes where it sounds like a little kid talking about stuff.B: I had a microcassette recorder and I was fooling around one day and I started talking into it making up stories and then hit ‘stop’ by mistake and had to start again but it sounded great the way it just cut off, the way the kid was talking and then it had a high-speed mode and I sort of just discovered this character and I just started telling stories into it like it was a diary. So I started using it my shows, I’d talk about this kid and I’d found this tape and this was his diary, and use little snippets between songs. A couple of them made it onto that record, I had a whole cassette full and I played it at a show in Seattle around that time and someone jumped up on stage after I’d left the stage and grabbed the tape recorder. All those stories are lost, but a couple of them survived on that record.
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