Radio: Jon Savage – Savage Music 001 / Meridian 1970

June 3, 2010


Image: Aubrey Mayer

Jon Savage is one of the UK’s most respected music journalists, authors and social historians. Many of you will know his classic book on punk, ‘England’s Dreaming’ and it’s recently released companion, ‘The England’s Dreaming Tapes’, which consists of many of the source interviews for the book including all four original Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer, Chrissie Hynde, Jordan, Siouxsie Sioux, Viv Albertine, Pete Shelley, Debbie Wilson, Tony Wilson, Jah Wobble and more.

He also wrote ‘Time Travel: From the Sex Pistols to Nirvana – Pop, Media and Sexuality, 1977-96’, the highly recommended book on youth, Teenage, and edited the Factory focused The Hacienda Must Be Built.

We were doing some work with Mr Savage recently in the office and were given some of his radio shows which I was totally unaware of. Jon records the shows for Germany’s ByteFM, the Savage Music shows appearing here. They are, as he says in the first show, ‘just a way of putting a lot of great music together’. To be honest they are a bit more than that. They are a treasure trove of music and knowledge with the character, stories and honesty of Savage at the helm.

Bit of background on the station these were originally recorded for. ByteFM was founded in January 2008 and covers many different genres, from alternative rock to country, techno to dubstep, reggae, French chansons and many other styles. The shows are presented by around 80 radio music journalists from all over Germany, many well known within their fields and they have won many awards. I think it may be a bit of an untapped source.

Everyone I shared the Savage Music shows with has thoroughly enjoyed so we spoke to Jon, as well as Klaus and Ruben at ByteFM, to ask for permission to use the shows on Test Pressing. Kindly the chaps have all said yes so here we go with the first show. By way of introduction here’s a brief Q&A with Jon.

How did this series come about? What was the original thinking behind it? How did you meet the ByteFM guys?

I was asked to do it by Klaus Walter after I did a long interview with him in Hamburg to promote the German language England’s Dreaming. Klaus is a friend of my translator Conny Losch.

We hear you have an amazing record collection at home, have you kept most of the music you have been sent over the years?

Well yes and bought music I like as well. I still buy records. I’ve been reviewing records since 1977. Mmm, quite a long time.

How do you catalogue? By artist? Genre?

Periods, artists and genres.

When it comes to prized pieces of vinyl or cassettes please could you list your top three.

First Velvet Underground Album mono promo.
Acetate of Byrds’ Eight Miles High.
White label of Sex Pistols “Never Mind The Bollocks” US – formerly the Ramones’ copy. They hated the Sex Pistols so it is barely played.

What’s next for you?

Script for feature documentary of ‘Teenage’ book and starting plans for new book. Working on exhibition of Joy Division materials this summer. And on Punk Graphics book for Rizzoli.

I think one of your most underrated compilations to date has been the Dreams Come True – First Wave Of Electro on Domino. What were the first records you heard form this scene and how did you come to it. Was it through the electronic/industrial side of things or more the disco side?

Big cross over between black American dance music and white avant-garde in the early 80s. I DJ’ed at the Hacienda in 1982 and so was exposed to a lot of early Electro/Rap thanks to Hewan Clarke and Mike Pickering. But I was going that way anyway. Then a bit later Vince Aletti showed me the true delights of Disco, which of course you were not allowed to like during the punk period (although I Feel Love and Magic Fly escaped the fatwa).

Favourite record of last year?

Oh something on Kompakt. Anything on Kompakt.

Back to the shows, I understand it is to be a series of 100 shows? Why?

Not necessarily 100. Maybe yes, maybe no.

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Tune in weekly to ByteFM for the Savage Music shows or stay tuned for the next update. Forthcoming shows include Queer Noise, Songs About The Sun, Moon Songs, Motorik and more.

[Apiento]

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