James Murphy talks Bowie, Bleecker Bob, City Gardens & more in new interview
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LCD Soundsystem main man James Murphy sat down with veteran NYC DJ Justin Strauss for a freewheeling conversation as part of Strauss’ JUST/TALK series on the Ace Hotel’s blog. With no record to plug, Justin and James really let things go where they go, starting with James growing up in a NJ farmtown (Princeton Junction), to his early music obsessions, and Trenton’s City Gardens where he would eventually work as a bouncer:
The Ramones was my first show. The second show was Iggy, and then it was just like a million Dead Milkmen shows… I think Fishbone played with everybody. Like, no matter who played, Fishbone also played. It used to be like, “Iggy Pop and Fishbone.” “Black Flag and Fishbone.” And the Dirty Dozen Brass Band was always playing for some reason.
He also talks about record stores, including Bleecker Bob’s:
Bleecker Bob’s was where I first got yelled at buying my first Smiths record, because you couldn’t get The Smiths in Princeton. I bought the “This Charming Man” 12″. And I had a very funny experience, which it took me until much later in my life to recognize, to really understand my experience. I went in there and I said, “Do you have The Smith Brothers?” And The Smith Brothers is just an old trio. And I’m like, “This Charming Man?” And he goes, “Oh, you mean The Smiths?” He was really dismissive.
And so, he just threw me the “This Charming Man” 12″ and I bought it. I was like 13 and sheepishly bought it, and went back home embarrassed of myself. And now I’m like, I bought, in a pre-internet age, came from my fucking farm town in New Jersey and I took the train to New York to Bleecker Bob’s and bought an import only 12 inch of a British band that had no albums out. And I was like, “Man, fuck you.”
JS: I think that it was a rite of passage to get yelled at Bleecker Bob’s. It happened quite a lot.
The conversation also includes his early bands, moving to NYC, and starting DFA and LCD Soundsystem, and almost working with Bowie:
JS: I personally would have loved to hear the record you and David Bowie might have made together.
JM: Well, I think it wound up being a fucking great record in the end. I did take two songs away and I was supposed to make my own versions, and I did. And I never really got to play them for him, because I was now out. Tony came by and he wasn’t super psyched on them. But I changed drums and I had the drummer come in and play a part. I was doing what I would do, which is disassemble and reassemble, but it wasn’t going to make the record that was being made, it was not going to do that. And it was deeply saddening. I would have had to be somebody else, I would have to be a different person, but I’m not capable of that. It is a regret though.
There is a whole lot more to this and you can read the whole thing here.
LCD Soundsystem recently released a cover of Chic’s “I Want Your Love.”
Justin Strauss, meanwhile will DJ at Elsewhere Hall on Friday (12/7) for a back-to-back set with Max Pask, as well as Museum of Love and a headlining set from 2MANYDJS (aka Stephen and David Daewale of Soulwax). Tickets are on sale.