At some point indie rock got hot and the Mekons ended up signing with a major label. The resultant album, The Mekons Rock ‘n’ Roll, was full of great music. Rocking music.
This is the official video for a song called Memphis Egypt, which could be called Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Here’s a video of a live Memphis Egypt performance from 2011 in Zurich, home of Dada, more than 20 years later, of Memphis Egypt and Where Were You, did I mention live? Fun, right?
You can read Robert Christgau’s liner notes for the non major label rerelease of the major label Mekons Rock ‘n’ Roll album here.
I like this one even better than Where Were You. Fun live. Makes me want to play.
Good piece by Christgau too. He, The Mekons, and many other Lefties cheerfully play the corporate game when it gets them the corporate dollars. Makes a fella wonder how much they give back to their beloved working class, or do they just let it trickle down?
Totally disagree. Where Were You? sounds excellent and unique while this just sounds like some typical 80s new wave guitar song I’d hear on 80s on 8 at the gym. I can give you specific bands and songs if you want and I think about it a little.
Why I lost interest, I guess.
Memphis Egypt is the lead song on an album called The Mekons Rock ‘n’ Roll for a major label. The guitar rock song sound with devilishly ironic lyrics about selling your rock ‘n’ roll soul to the corporations who own rock and roll is twistedly ironic. It is meant to be funny, not self righteous, and it’s supposed to rock while critiquing rockism, and that all works for me. The song doesn’t sound like any other Mekons song really, and the band really doesn’t sound like any one thing. So, maybe you lost interest because they didn’t do the same thing over and over.
But they quote, they regurgitate, they play guitars. And fiddles and accordians and sing harmonies. Here they sound like the Animals, on purpose.
Yes Peter, we all know you’re the cool open-minded guy and I’m the crabby closed-minded guy. Hooray for you.
Helluva band. Thank God for irony, it lets them take the money, play the corporate game, complain about a lack of tour support and advertising, and pretend they’re not hypocrites.
Obviously my reading on this is different. The Mekons were art schoolers who made music, not politicians. They had/have politics, but they played for fun and craft and all the social benefits, and have managed to do so in one form or another for nearly 40 years. I think that’s the opposite of playing the corporate game or selling out, but it is part of their shtick that it might be nice to have a brush with stardom. To rub elbows with the devil and be tested. If given this chance, why wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) they take it?
Keep calling ’em the way you see them please.