Thursday, October 31, 2019


I must keep this 'un short lest I go on for paragraph after paragraph filled with the standard repeato-riff bornados that filled up my crudzine to the point of incomprehension. But sheesh, if we ever needed a book about what was perhaps thee complete krautrock/garage band effort of the ages, Can that is, this 'un it! A hands down winner that thankfully retains the drive, dirt and energy of the group transferring it into print making for one mighty sensory overload especially when listened to in conjunction with THE CAN BOX.

Sure the Pascal Bussy effort of a couple decades back was also extremely informative, well-written and remains an important book in any true blue BLOG TO COMM reader's personal library. However this recent inclusion into the Can-on is just what every drooling rock 'n roll manic has been dreaming of for a longer time than I perhaps even knew this group existed. Really, who out there in reader-land wouldn't want this hefty 550 + page tome for the times? I mean, ALL GATES OPEN contains a whole load of detailed Can history complete with all of the minutiae you've always wanted to know about this legendary German act and the behind-the-behind-the-scenes goings on and whatnot about all of those Can mysteries that have been bugging you for ages. After all you get all of the important Can historical milestones from the exits of both Malcolm Mooney and Damo Suzuki  explained in a whole lot more detail than had previously been let onto, while the inter-group hassles and stories behind the creation of those Can songs that have been wowzing you for years are fleshed out in a whole lot more detail than anyone had previously been let onto. An' lemme tell you, you don't have to be a frustrated anal-retentive like myself to appreciate and absorb like a sponge all of the new Canformation you will be soaking into your mind once you get this. But it sure helps!

Can keyboardist Irmin Schmidt had a big hand in this 'un working with some Rob Young guy who thankfully doesn't muck things up too much inserting his own private opinions and various extraneous sundries into a saga that reads just fine on its lonesome. The resultant wordblare really is fascinating not only because of that aforementioned bits and pieces added into what we already knew about was these German punk rock pioneers, but even the more personal and private matters that woulda embarrassed a whole load of celebrities way back when HOLLYWOOD BABYLON was considered the ultimo in scandal sheet tattling tend to surprise and perhaps even shock. True it ain't exactly that you might really care about guitarist Michael Karoli's toe dabbling in heroin usage or even Schmidt's marital infidelities but I only find it more and more crucial to the whole Can outlook giving (at least) me an insight into the whole maddening system that created and allowed such an act to grow. This also includes Mooney's resultant crack up and even the truth behind the time David Niven saw 'em in Berlin which is quite a different story than the one told in THE CAN BOOK. Added flavoring to a recipe that already tasted pretty swell inna beginning. But that's just might disagree vehemently and I get the feeling you will.

Ya actually get two books, the first 'un being the Can biography proper and the last being a collection of Schmidt musings and dialogues with various Can-anites ranging from SPECTATOR rock scribe and longtime supporter Duncan Fallowell (when are we gonna get a collection of his rock writings?) to the infamous Nick Kent who legend has it has Can to blame for his longtime opiate addiction but that was so long ago he probably forgot all about it. This section makes for some enveloping and in-depth reading as the banter is banted around, though for the life of me I gotta say that I now have an even lower opinion of Mark E. Smith even if he does come up with all of the cool rock credentials (being a Can fan so early in the game being one) for which I should like the guy for his tastes alone. Maybe he was as big a jerk as Bill Shute believes...from this dialogue I would believe it.

Picwize this does have quite a few good snaps of things like Mooney in action and various group poses in and around their hometown Cologne. I wish there were more snaps to accompany this bot at least we do get this collection of early pre-Can Schmidt snaps taken not only when he was a symphony conducter but as a teenager! And y'know what, when he was a good eighteen he looked a whole lot like Orson Bean with a necktie 'stead of a bow!

May I say this just might be the ULTIMO Can book which any upfront fan should beg, borrow or steal if only not from me? Really dredges up the memories and feelings of just what this music must have meant for many a drooling rockist maniac in those not-so-barren seventies, the kind who fought out the blandness with groups such as these to the point where the Can influence sure could be felt not in those early Siouxsie bootlegs and Mirrors rehearsal tapes but with many a classic slab of under-the-counterculture musings. And for one thing, this book sure makes me wanna re-live a good portion of my youthdom at least to the point where I could go back in time and snatch up those copies of MONSTER MOVIE and SOON OVER BABALUMA at the local shopping mall record shop import bins back '75 way. If I only had I mighta evolved into the total human being a whole lot sooner, y'know?


Anonymous said...

Sounds good. I'd been slightly wary of it but you've persuaded me. I *have* read the Mark E. Smith/Irmin Schmidt head to head though and it reads really oddly, as if it's been translated from English to German and back again to English, so I wouldn't take that entirely at face value. And if he was such a jerk, would Damo have named his book after a Fall song? I rest my case!

Anonymous said...

Looks like a good book to read while on the can!