TRIBUTE:When creating my magazine, I had various titles to choose from. But, the one that stuck out the most was GO BANG! GO BANG! was the perfect description for what my magazine would represent…power, explosiveness and excitement. In addition to that, the song GO BANG, simply gives that cool feeling that describes the magazine’s vibe. Lastly, the lyric in the song that says, “I wanna see, all my friends at once!” really hits home with me and my generation. We, the House community, are a family of friends that actually have true love for one another, whether formally introduced, or just meeting for the first time.
With that being said, let me introduce you to the creator of the song GO BANG, the late Mr. Arthur Russell.
Link to the “Making of Go Bang”
The following is a reproduction of the bio of Arthur Russel from his Facebook Artist page:
Music critics love to write about the underdog: the guy who never quite made it, the one whose songs ended up stuffing the bank balance of the wrong party, the genius who took a wrong turning and ended up in nowheresville. Without doubt, Arthur Russell was such an underdog. In all the fields of music in which he excelled, success eluded him. Songs were never quite finished, projects fell apart, the world was cold hearted.
Yet Arthur made records and established a reputation that set him apart from the usual commercial underachiever. Dance tracks like “Go Bang!” and “Let’s Go Swimming”, along with his ethereal solo album, “World Of Echo”, live on as legendary assaults on all the petty rules that govern what’s possible and prohibited in the worlds of pop, dance and experimental composition.
Arthur was born in Oskaloosa, Iowa, on the 21st May, 1951. In 1970, equipped with little other than his wits and a training in piano and cello, he joined a Buddhist commune in San Francisco. On the west coast he met poet Allen Ginsberg, recording songs which also featured Bob Dylan, Perry Robinson and Happy Traum. Then in 1973, after two years of study at Ali Akbar Khan’s College for Indian music, he moved to New York City.
During the first half of the 1970s, Arthur wrote songs. He founded The Flying Hearts with Modern Lovers bass player Ernie Brooks, worked as musical director of The Kitchen and formed collaborative associations with composers such as John Cage, Laurie Anderson, Peter Gordon, Rhys Chatham, Philip Glass, Peter Zummo and Elodie Lauten. From the mid-seventies, the boundaries between experimental and popular were under assault. Sound artists like Laurie Anderson recorded hit records and composer Glenn Branca and Rhys Chatham composed pieces for massed guitars that drew as much from noise rock as from American minimalism.
Inspired by bubblegum pop and easy listening, Arthur composed his first major piece, “Instrumentals”, a composition that would take 48 hours to perform if played in its entirety. Released in Belgium in 1984, “Instrumentals” is a great demonstration of Arthur’s compulsion to mix simple chords and rhythms with formalistic processes and complex moods.
Then he went to a disco called Gallery, one of the earliest underground clubs in the city, and heard DJ Nicky Siano. That experience changed his life. In collaboration with Siano he made “Kiss Me Again”, the first disco 12inch released by Sire. Featuring David Byrne on guitar and Arthur on cello, “Kiss Me Again” was the first of a sequence of extraordinary dance tracks. “Is It All Over My Face” by Loose Joints followed in 1980, along with the more experimental “Pop Your Funk”.
In 1981 Arthur worked with theatre director Robert Wilson on a production of Medea, staged only once at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Despite the disappointing failure of this project, Arthur continued to engage in other collaborations. The following year he founded Sleeping Bag Records with Will Socolov, releasing “24-24 Music” and in 1983, the legendary “Go Bang!” through the label.
One of the great off-the-wall disco tracks, “Go Bang!” combined dub
influences with jazz and funk, and Arthur’s unique sense of space and dynamics. In that same year, a sombre orchestral work, “Tower of Meaning”, was released by Philip Glass’s Chatham Square Records and another dance track, “Tell You Today” was the first US release on 4th & Broadway.
In 1986 he released two of his most enduring 12 inch singles: “Let’s Go Swimming” and “Schoolbell/Treehouse” (as Indian Ocean). Featuring Arthur’s cello and vocals, along with Mustafa Ahmed’s percussion, both records were mixed (with love) by the late Walter Gibbons, whose dub unorthodoxy contributed to the status of these records as disco masterpieces. During the same period, Arthur also released “World Of Echo”, a poignant solo album of songs performed on voice and cello.
Licensed from Upside Records in the U.S., and released on Rough Trade Records in the UK, “World Of Echo” should have been followed by an album of songs commissioned by Rough Trade’s Geoff Travis. In 1986, Arthur was diagnosed with HIV. Although he worked on the album until his death, he felt both physically unable and emotionally unwilling to complete the project. Despite declining health, he continued to perform, either solo or with Elodie Lauten, Peter Zummo and Mustafa Ahmed as The Singing Tractors. Arthur Russell died of Aids in New York City on April 4th, 1992. A year later, the first postumous compilation of Arthur’s work, ‘Another Thought’, was released by Philip Glasses Point Music.
In 2004, long time fan and former Tommy Boy executive Steve Knutson launched Audika Records to exclusively compile and release the exceptionally varied, long sought-after music of Arthur Russell, and in the process has succeeded at helping the beloved, late artiist find the broader audience he always believed he would reach. A new generation of listeners and critics has come to appreciate Russell as visionary and an influence upon a broad range of today’s most compelling musical artists.
Working directly with Arthur’s partner Tom Lee, Audika’s first release began with the 2004 disco/new wave collection, ‘Calling Out Of Context’ (in part compiled from the material commissioned by Rough Trade in the mid-80’s) continuing with a reissue of Arthur’s definitive work, the cello-and-voice masterpiece, ‘World Of Echo’ (2005); the instrumental compositions collection ‘First Thought Best thought’ (2006) (includes ‘Instrumentals’ and ‘Tower Of Meaning’); the hip-hop inspired ‘Springfield’ EP (2006); the singer-songwriter collection, ‘Love Is Overtaking Me’ (2010) in which a number of the songs are featured prominently in Matt Wolfs film, ‘Wild Combination: A Portrait Of Arthur Russell”; the expanded ‘Let’s Go Swimming’ EP (2011); the 2012 Soundtrack ‘Keep The Lights On’, and the forthcoming album of previously unreleased rhythmic material, CORN (2015).
In 1986, Arthur predicted that many of the ideas that made him commercially unreliable at the time would become commonplace. The breadth of his talent allowed him to work with artists as diverse as Alice Coltrane, John Cage, Christian Wolff, Jackson MacLow and the young Vin Diesel. This open hearted attitude to music was far ahead of its time. Perhaps he was right; finally, the world is ready for Arthur Russell.