NED'S ATOMIC DUSTBIN GOD FODDER, 1991, Furtive (UK pressing)


That slogan burned through the speakers of my oversized black jam box the high school summer between my sophomore and junior years. I was already a wannabe music geek with plenty of will but lacking appropriate influences. A natural contrarian, I was eager to embrace anything outside of Tennessee (bluegrass came to me later), and to sidestep the Floyd-Zeppelin-Dead-Rush flotilla that embargoed our school parking lot. (That all of those great, enduring bands came from well outside Tennessee is an irony that was lost on me then).

Our local alternative-rock radio station—WAWL “The Wall”—didn’t have enough programming for the whole day, so at odd hours they would pipe in broadcasts from all over tarnation. Which explains my strange affinity for New Age music (don’t ask, please, unless the words, “Echoes with John Diliberto,” in a breathy whisper mean anything to you). For some reason from 2 or 3 pm for an hour or so I would suddenly be listening to Brit-pop straight from a Manchester, England, radio programme, at the tail end of the whole "Madchester" scene. To be honest, I hardly knew what I was hearing, but I was absolutely transfixed. It seemed like an eerie, fourth dimensional transmission from another world, sitting there in my basement, in the middle of a sticky Tennessee June staring out the blinds at a trampoline and a magnolia tree. A world where people drank heavily, beat each other up, talked with incomprehensible accents (well, we had our own version of that one), took pills, shagged slappers in urinals and wandered through a rainy iron wasteland of the imagination from scary dank warehouse to warehouse, dodging shattered glass and rebar, dead pigeons and bloody puke. LIVE!

It started for me a period of searching out all the British music I could get my hands on, with variable results, sometimes sublime (The The) sometimes not (Soup Dragons, anyone?) Ned’s Atomic Dustbin was always one of my favorites of that time. Loud, coherent and upbeat. I used to turn up “Gray Cell Green” super-loud in my basement and dance around by myself and still would if I had a basement now. I have no idea why no one remembers God Fodder, or why it’s so damned hard to find these days in any format. Maybe that “Kill Your Television” song pissed off the Big Media corporations and they’ve blackballed it.

There’s nothing in this that will save your soul or help you resolve a thorny personal issue. It’s fun music. TWO bass guitars music. Energy drink music. Get all wound up for no good reason then spin out into the streets like a top with no plan at all music. Seventeen-year-old music. Literally.

So here’s to that inner seventeen-year-old in all of us. I dedicate this to J.B. and his father’s Alpha Romeo and its sunroof and to speeding down the W Road at 45 mph. And it's officially required listening for all those people who grow up and evolve and look back on their “old” selves with humiliation, loathing and pity. Get over yourself. That kid wasn’t such a dumbass, you know? Give him a break.

And while you're at it… Kill your television!... Damn fuckin' straight!