Negativland - These Guys Are From England

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These Guys Are From England




NegativlandA classic both in terms of content and what occurred in the aftermath of its release, this Negativland cd contains the first chance for many of us to be able to hear their infamous U2 single (tracks 3 and 4 on this disc - amongst a bunch of all quite different live versions).

In 1991 Negativland issued an EP which was packaged to look like a U2 single titled Negativland. The record featured a cover of the song I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, played on kazoos and synthesizers along with a direct 30 second sample of the tune.

On top of the mix was a bootleg tape of a studio rant by deejay Casey Kasem. Things turned ugly for Negativland when U2's label, Island brought a suit against them and their label SST. In the end, the single was recalled and destroyed, and Negativland were forced into a long drawn court battle costing them thousands and thousands of dollars.

The original copies of the EP which made it out into the market became collector's items selling for $50-$100.

Ironically, the idea behind the EP occurred when a fan gave the band a tape of "American Top 40" outtakes that captured Casey Kasem ranting and raving about a dedication to somebody's dying dog named Snuggles. Kasem blows up saying "That's the letter U and the number 2...These guys are from England and who gives a sh*t?" amongst other off color remarks. Brilliant stuff.

The only tell tale problem with this disc is the amount of profanity (Casey Kasem was really going at it!). So be aware of this when playing this disc. The cd itself even starts out with a warning! Track 11 is the bleeped radio edit and can be played on the radio. This track ends with 5:42 left in the track.

The live Tracks 1 (a live version on the radio of all places) and 2 (both contain profanity) and were recorded prior to the singles release. Tracks 5 through 10 (also recorded live) were recorded following the singles release and in response to the court case.

Track 5 contains profanity; Track 6 does not contain profanity; Track 7 - Casey swears once at the very end; Track 8 and Track 9 have some interesting "Cold War" samples and no profanity; and Track 10 does not contain profanity.

Also for the curious check out the Tape Beatles - a classic from around 1990, or John Oswald's CD, Plunderphonic, originally released in 1989, and also seized and destroyed by the Canadian Recording Industry Association because the CD extensively samples from the music of artists like The Beatles, James Brown, Metallica, Stravinsky and Michael Jackson.

Patrick R, October 16, 2001