jameswhite.jpg
More than just another skinny tie

Every other hare-brained musical trend from rock history has been revived and festishized, why not new wave saxophone? No,

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What Ever Happened to New Wave Saxophone? Or ANY Saxophone?

jameswhite.jpg
More than just another skinny tie

Every other hare-brained musical trend from rock history has been revived and festishized, why not new wave saxophone? No, not like that dispiriting little lick in Men at Work's "Who Can It Be Now?" which is what new wave saxophone devolved into before disappearing altogether. I'm talking about the sound in its raw form as practiced by The Waitresses, Romeo Void, and the greatest No Wave/New Wave sax band of them all:

James Chance and the Contortions (AKA James White).

Nothing against the current crop of handsome, bearded young men in their cadet caps, but most of the time I'm too irritable and jumpy to get into the mystical lumberjack vibe. I know I'm not the only one who's t-t-t-totally wired and craving something less stoned and sincere. Something more sharp, sputtering, and herky jerky: the staccato squonking, stuttering, and bleeting of the saxophone as it was heard circa 1978-83.

Actually, it seems you're pretty unlikely to hear saxophone of ANY kind these days. Yes, there have been many sins committed on the instrument--nothing says 70s FM fodder like a smarmy tenor sax solo--but how did this most rock and roll of instruments so thoroughly drop from sight?

Maybe I'm wrong though. Maybe along with accordion, bouzouki, melodica, Wurlitzer, and all the other outlandishly whimsical instrumentation used by the Young Beards there is someone out there doing something rude with a saxophone. If so, I'd love to know about it.

 
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