Friday, March 21, 2014
Michael Moorcock: Rock 'n' Roller
This coincides happily with an obsession I developed last year with Blue Oyster Cult. Moorcock was a fan of the band, and wrote lyrics for "Black Blade," "The Great Sun Jester," and "Veterans of the Psychic Wars." He was also a confidante of the band Hawkwind (somewhat obscure in the United States, where they are known chiefly for having schooled Lemmy of Motorhead), for whom he also wrote lyrics.
Reading about Moorcock's relationship with rock'n'roll, I learned that he actually released an album of his own - New World's Fair, by Michael Moorcock and Deep Fix. Fans of his Jerry Cornelius novels will recognize Deep Fix as the fictional band fronted by Cornelius, but this album is all too real. Check out some details here. Another article focusing on Moorcock the Hard Rocker is here, and worth reading.
My reaction - Moorcock has a weird voice, one that ranges from warbly, high-pitched keening to malevolent, sinister whispers. He also uses the word "dude" almost constantly, which I found strange in a British guy. Tracks range from somewhat folky ballads to balls-out rock in the Blue Oyster Cult vein. Moorcock sings and plays guitar, and he's not half bad at it. Highlights, however, are Moorcock's spoken word bits between the tracks. His spoken voice is creepy.
All in all, it's perhaps best that Moorcock's career has been focused on what he's really good at - writing mysterious, evocative, psychological but action-oriented prose. However, this album is a must-have for Moorcock fans, as it shows a side of him one might not expect. Whether you think it's cool or embarrassing depends, of course, on you. It is certainly not in the ranks of the finest rock albums of the 1970s, but it's an interesting addition to my collection, and one I'll probably listen to again. It's no surprise, really, that Moorcock, arguably the vanguard of fantasy and sf's "New Wave" of the 1960s, should have been involved with the hipsters, stoners and rockers of his day. He was, in fact, one of 'em, and may have consumed more drugs than everyone's favorite incarnation of the Eternal Champion, Elric.