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July 21, 2011 4:16 PM   Subscribe

Is the epic saxophone solo returning to pop music? With recent good time summer radio hits by ubiquitous hit makers Katy Perry and Lady Gaga featuring an unexpected saxophone solo, is this a hint towards a return of the woodwind as a staple in rock/pop music or just ironic posturing from vapid "tastemakers"?
posted by mediocre (135 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
A couple weeks ago listening to FM radio I was caught off guard by the sound of sax solos in not one but two current hits by popular acts. Apparently, I was not the only one to notice.
posted by mediocre at 4:17 PM on July 21, 2011


His spirit lives on.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:18 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have always been mystified by the way the saxophone is classed as a woodwind when it is so obviously made out of brass. Funny trees you are having here in America.
posted by anigbrowl at 4:19 PM on July 21, 2011


Are those really the only two options?
posted by eugenen at 4:19 PM on July 21, 2011


It's the curse.
posted by GuyZero at 4:20 PM on July 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yes, yes they are.
posted by mediocre at 4:20 PM on July 21, 2011


Dr. Luke producer of "Last Friday Night" played in the snl band for 10 years alongside Lenny Pickett who plays on that KP track.

Massive gaff by the author to miss that connection.
posted by nutate at 4:22 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have always been mystified by the way the saxophone is classed as a woodwind when it is so obviously made out of brass. Funny trees you are having here in America.

America? The saxophone is a Belgian instrument.
posted by The World Famous at 4:23 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Call me when they put this sax solo in the next summer radio hit.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:24 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


The sax gets its sound from a reed, like all woodwinds whereas brass instruments use a little cup and you buzz you lips like so: ppphhhhbbbbzzzzzzz to make the sound.
posted by GuyZero at 4:24 PM on July 21, 2011 [16 favorites]


I for one await the return of jazz flute to pop music.
posted by GuyZero at 4:25 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Funny trees you are having here in America.

Those trees make the reeds for the sax. Do they make brass reeds somewhere?

So what happened to the sax? In part, the answer might be that the '90s happened. The rock music that dominated in the decade of ironic detachment had little room for a shiny, curvaceous, elaborately valved instrument that it's impossible to play while looking like you don't care. Your cheeks puff up. Your fingers flutter. There is an earnestness and a delicacy to playing the saxophone, an irreducible musicality that was out of step at a time when shrugged-off riffs alternated with bashed-out power chords on the rock airwaves.

That is one tiny sliver of 90s music, and hard rock was being played in the sax-lovin' 80s, too. The sax faded away for the same reason other sounds have left popular music - they wore out their welcome. I personally don't care if they're coming back "ironically", so long as the sax solo is done right. And by that I mean this.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:25 PM on July 21, 2011 [12 favorites]


I'm never gonna dance again....
posted by mudpuppie at 4:25 PM on July 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Maceo!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:27 PM on July 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Katy Perry ain't shit. This guy is playing two saxes at once.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:30 PM on July 21, 2011


No epic sax solo thread (title notwithstanding) would be complete without links to all three epic version of I Still Believe. (Russ Taff remains my favorite.)
posted by hippybear at 4:32 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Compare the fanboy hyperbole. A guitarist shreds. What does a saxophonist do? Blow? Cook?

Wails.
posted by ShutterBun at 4:33 PM on July 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


This guy is playing two saxes at once.


Pfffft. Real men play three at once, then take a half-sung flute solo.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:34 PM on July 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: just ironic posturing from vapid "tastemakers"
posted by Trurl at 4:34 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Those trees make the reeds for the sax. Do they make brass reeds somewhere?

Open up a harmonica some time...;)
posted by stenseng at 4:35 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's great sax on the new albums from both Bon Iver and Eleanor Friedberger. No irony, just great sounds.
posted by wemayfreeze at 4:37 PM on July 21, 2011


Is that like sawing open a golfball? Will I get splashed with nuclear juice?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:37 PM on July 21, 2011


Those trees make the reeds for the sax. Do they make brass reeds somewhere?

Open up a harmonica some time...;)


Or an old-fashioned bulb-type bicycle horn.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:37 PM on July 21, 2011


Yes.
posted by gyc at 4:37 PM on July 21, 2011


Pfffft. Real men play three at once, then take a half-sung flute solo.

But he has no can of silly string that he shoots at the band when he's not playing. So there's that.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:38 PM on July 21, 2011


Is the epic saxophone solo returning to pop music?
God, I hope not.
Nothing sets my teeth on edge more than a goddamned pop/rock sax solo. This goes for it all, from Bill Haley all the way down to the E-Street Band. If you want me to turn-off the music, start a sax solo.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:40 PM on July 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


The sax gets its sound from a reed, like all woodwinds

...except for flutes.


posted by pompomtom at 4:41 PM on July 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Nevertheless, even if you use readily-gotten shoddy plastic reeds, it remains a woodwind instrument. I recall that the serpent and the digideroo are both classified as brass despite being made of wood. There are also plastic saxes.
posted by curuinor at 4:42 PM on July 21, 2011


Sergio
posted by burnmp3s at 4:43 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I didn't like the album, but I have to give credit to Destroyer's Kaputt here. Dan presaged the saxophone breakout.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:43 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


We don't need more sax, we need more guys in loud blue jackets playing keyboards.
posted by bwg at 4:47 PM on July 21, 2011


DOO-DOO-DOO-DO-DO-DOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!
DOO-DOO-DOO-DO-DO-DOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

/ Baker Street
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:47 PM on July 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


Yeah, it was definitely in Kaputt that I first noticed this (I have no contact with Katy Perry or Lady Gaga), and now Bon Iver has jumped on the blandwagon too.
posted by Flashman at 4:48 PM on July 21, 2011


(although in neither of these can the sax work be called 'epic', more.. .noodling)
posted by Flashman at 4:50 PM on July 21, 2011


Kaputt is a full-on callback to Al Stewart by way of Gerry Rafferty. It's a throwback to the 70s more than the 80s, not that I'm complaining about that. You kids are welcome on my lawn if you bring horns.
posted by immlass at 4:52 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I for one await the return of jazz flute to pop music.

Like the boys from my hometown??
posted by digitalprimate at 4:52 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


We don't need more sax, we need more guys in loud blue jackets playing keyboards.

And women with piano keys on their giant shoulder pads! Nothing says summer like farfisa.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:53 PM on July 21, 2011


There's sax on the new M83 track as well.
posted by schoolgirl report at 4:53 PM on July 21, 2011


"We have to lose that sax solo!"
posted by TwoWordReview at 4:56 PM on July 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


God I love Baker Street's sax solo. Not a particularly bold stand to take, I know, but to me it's the penultimate pop song sax solo. Instantly recognizable, and the hook ties the whole song together, as opposed to being filler for the break.

Also, I think the sax solo in Duran Duran's Rio and the sax solo in Quarterflash's Harden My Heart are like twin brothers who were separated at birth, with one growing up in some gritty, working class neighborhood in Philadelphia, and the other growing up in the Seychelles.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:57 PM on July 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


just ironic posturing from vapid "tastemakers"?

clarence clemmons an ironic posturer? a vapid tastemaker?

rock and roll has never kicked your ass, has it?
posted by pyramid termite at 4:58 PM on July 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


God I love Baker Street's sax solo.

yes, that's just about perfect, isn't it?
posted by pyramid termite at 4:59 PM on July 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Say what you will about the sax - but if you doubt it could ever match or beat the electric guitar as the sound that drives a rock and roll band, well, I got something for you.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:07 PM on July 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


There's lots of badass sax soloing in Woody Herman's awesome cover of Deep Purple's "Hush."
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:09 PM on July 21, 2011


Flutes are full of win
posted by b1tr0t at 5:12 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


And while '80s metal holdouts like Metallica unleashed elaborate barrages of guitar notes well into the '90s, they framed their virtuosity as viciousness, a trick that's much harder, if not impossible, to pull off with the sax.

clearly, this person has never listened to john coltrane and eric dolphy tearing it up on the village vanguard tapes

*watches video*

it's not that great a song, but clarence does well - and while she jumps around endlessly, trying to be cool, clarence just sits there on the steps and IS cool
posted by pyramid termite at 5:14 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Baker Street" is my ringtone. Just sayin'.

(Unless it's my husband calling, then it's Battle Without Honor or Humanity.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:24 PM on July 21, 2011


In Soviet Russia, lead singer does solo during fade out!
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:24 PM on July 21, 2011


*bangs head against wall repeatedly*
posted by jonmc at 5:25 PM on July 21, 2011


Also, let's bring back the synthesized harmonica solo with the pitch bends, like right NOW.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:26 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


clearly, this person has never listened to john coltrane and eric dolphy tearing it up on the village vanguard tapes

Or to black metal with sax.
posted by ersatz at 5:26 PM on July 21, 2011


Also, let's bring back the synthesized harmonica solo with the pitch bends, like right NOW.

And thus is born the bastard child of epic trance and dubstep.
posted by b1tr0t at 5:30 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, let's bring back the synthesized harmonica solo with the pitch bends, like right NOW.

And thus is born the bastard child of epic trance and dubstep.


It would be worth it just to see every DJ in the world forced to use a DX7 breath controller.
posted by The World Famous at 5:32 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, let's bring back the synthesized harmonica solo with the pitch bends, like right NOW.

ahem
posted by Sys Rq at 5:36 PM on July 21, 2011


I might like you better if we slept together...
posted by scody at 5:37 PM on July 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


That song is not bad, but it's not even remotely as good as Baker Street, and Garh hudson's solo on the Band's "It Make's No Difference" puts 99% of the world to shame.
posted by jonmc at 5:42 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I used to hate the saxophone. Every solo I heard was growly and honky and grating. The instrument had slightly more melodic value than a car horn. Then I heard Stan Getz. Smooth, liquid, and warm. I couldn't believe it was the same instrument.
posted by rocket88 at 5:42 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


MONTHS ago I was riding in the car with my friends and Springsteen was on and I said to them "I think the next big indie thing should be saxophones, we need to bring the saxophone back" AND NOW I HAVE BEEN PROVEN... half-right because you can't get less indie than Katy Perry and Lady Gaga but I WAS RIGHT ABOUT THE SAXOPHONES, OKAY
posted by titus n. owl at 5:45 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


titus n. owl, just to relieve you of some illusions: most indie rock is neither indie nor rock and has little or no cultural impact outside of a tiny circle of people with nothing better to do than react to stuff.
posted by jonmc at 5:47 PM on July 21, 2011


Wow thanks for pointing that out to me
posted by titus n. owl at 5:49 PM on July 21, 2011 [11 favorites]


you're welcome.
posted by jonmc at 5:51 PM on July 21, 2011


Of course, there is a downside to sax: frat ska.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:03 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pretty much 99% of ska actually, especially non-jamaican ska. The last thing the world needs actually is another ska band, I'd venture.
posted by jonmc at 6:13 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, let me get this straight. There are people who don't have saxophone solo PTSD from putting up with roommates who listened to Dave Matthews Band all the time? I guess I really am getting old.
posted by The World Famous at 6:20 PM on July 21, 2011


Ah man, let's not speak ill of the dead.
posted by Lutoslawski at 6:25 PM on July 21, 2011


So, let me get this straight. There are people who don't have saxophone solo PTSD from putting up with roommates who listened to Dave Matthews Band all the time? I guess I really am getting old.

You were still in college when Dave Matthews Band existed? Getoffamylawn, Junior.
posted by straight at 6:25 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


You were still in college when Dave Matthews Band existed? Getoffamylawn, Junior.

I said nothing about college. And when did Dave Matthews Band cease to exist?
posted by The World Famous at 6:32 PM on July 21, 2011


I have felt old for quite some time, ever since I realized that the H.O.R.D.E tour that I saw (which included Dave Matthews Band) was staged in 1996.

How the fuck can that have possibly been 15 years ago. Christ.
posted by hippybear at 6:36 PM on July 21, 2011


World Famous, I think straight was talking about existing in in a time before Dave Matthews rather than after.

But originally I thought this post was going to be about this epic sax.
posted by Red Loop at 6:37 PM on July 21, 2011


New York's alright if you like saxophones.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 6:43 PM on July 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was half kidding, but yeah, their sax player died recently.

Also as a decent sax player myself, I always thought the one sound I had mastered was the 80s porno sound, so I welcome this renaissance.
posted by Lutoslawski at 6:44 PM on July 21, 2011


Funny... most of the bands I listen to are pretty blatantly based on Springsteen, but Gaslight Anthem/The Loved Ones/etc haven't added sax solos yet. Give it some time. I'd be happy to see it return, along with the redemptive guitar solo. Nobody will replace Clarence Clemons, though.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:46 PM on July 21, 2011


The AV Club's worst Inventory ever. it claims its '10 Great Songs Nearly Ruined by Sax Solos' but its really nothing but great songs
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:47 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pretty much 99% of ska actually, especially non-jamaican ska.

And within that remaining 1%, more than half of that is the property of the heavy, heavy monster sound.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:49 PM on July 21, 2011


I started violin in 4th grade, but it was 1983, and I wanted to play music like I heard on the radio. Switched to sax, and I still play today in a community band. For some of us, the sax has always been cool. (Except for that abomination Kenny G. Blech.)
posted by candyland at 6:50 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Norway's "Shining", a black metal / jazz fusion sort-of-band, use sax .... for Satan!
posted by Zack_Replica at 6:50 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


And within that remaining 1%, more than half of that is the property of the heavy, heavy monster sound.

Yeah, Madness are cool, and the Skatalites, and the Bosstones and Dance Hall Crashers, too. But the ska thing became tedious rather quickly.
posted by jonmc at 7:18 PM on July 21, 2011


"If you want me to turn-off the music, start a sax solo."

Oh gods yes. I lived through the late 70's and 80's once already, thank you. You'd think my teens, first fuck, first drunken stupor, first car, first job, and first real love would make up for the god-awful caterwaulings of the inevitable saxophone solo, but you'd be wrong.

There's only one good way to play a saxaphone, and that's yakety…
posted by Pinback at 7:25 PM on July 21, 2011


The idea of the sax solo (and the guitar solo I guess) is that when the emotion gets too much for the lyrics pure mood takes over
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:32 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's only one good way to play a saxaphone

And that's in the manner of any number of hugely successful sax players from across the decades, ranging from Charlie Parker to John Coltrane to Coleman Hawkins to any of the other people on this list, but certainly not limited to them.
posted by hippybear at 7:34 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am extremely surprised to learn that many many people have a very skewed concept of what a "good saxophone solo" is.

On preview, what hippybear said.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:15 PM on July 21, 2011


There's the saxophone, and then there's the Saxophone Colossus.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:22 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Soundtrack to this thread.
posted by sleslie at 8:35 PM on July 21, 2011


Eddie Harris' solo on The Generation Gap (Swiss Movement, Les McCann & Eddie Harris) makes me fucking weep.

I wish I could put a finger on why I just don't like sax in rock much all, though, with the glaring exception of Clemons. He was a little bit different, somehow.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:53 PM on July 21, 2011


Sax solos are shit. Guitar solos are shit. All solos are shit.

Sax trios are awesome.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:06 PM on July 21, 2011


The idea of the sax solo (and the guitar solo I guess) is that when the emotion gets too much for the lyrics pure mood takes over

Pure cheese, you mean?

This is all reminding me why we had to have grunge.
posted by pompomtom at 9:09 PM on July 21, 2011


I'm actually more intrigued by the increasing use of the harp in modern popular music.
posted by Flashman at 9:11 PM on July 21, 2011


The idea of the sax solo (and the guitar solo I guess) is that when the emotion gets too much for the lyrics pure mood takes over

Pure cheese, you mean?


'cheese', 'emo', whatever you call it... emotion still has a place in music. Hmm... its a good rainy day today. Might benefit from some Baker Street.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:13 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm actually more intrigued by the increasing use of the harp yt in modern popular music.

I love Joanna Newsom (and her music) but I'm not sure if you'd call her 'popular'.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:13 PM on July 21, 2011


Well, I hear The Hold Steady are replacing Nikolai with a harpist.
posted by Flashman at 9:15 PM on July 21, 2011


Stan Getz was god who walked among us and gave us his version of Desafinado..

John Coltrane's Equinox is somehow sullenly beautiful.

I want Sergio the rogue saxophonist to be near me so I could send him on emergency saxophonical missions. For maximum awesome I'd need to construct a Sergio signal to project into the sky when his services were required.
posted by winna at 9:21 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


'cheese', 'emo', whatever you call it... emotion still has a place in music.

To each their own, of course, but you do know that this is a false dichotomy, right? I can agree that 'emotion still has a place in music', (even dance music - true story) but I was alive in the 80s, and one thing I took away was that sax solos tend toward the cheesy.

Hmm... its a good rainy day today.

Poor Sydneysiders... always dealing with the rain.
posted by pompomtom at 9:29 PM on July 21, 2011


'cheese', 'emo', whatever you call it... emotion still has a place in music.

To each their own, of course, but you do know that this is a false dichotomy, right? I can agree that 'emotion still has a place in music', (even dance music - true story) but I was alive in the 80s, and one thing I took away was that sax solos tend toward the cheesy.


But what makes them 'cheesy'? You can't really be talking about the Jungleland sax solo, can you?

Well, I hear The Hold Steady are replacing Nikolai with a harpist.

The two bands played the same festival this year. I'm now wishing Newsom had shown up during their set...
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:43 PM on July 21, 2011


But what makes them 'cheesy'? You can't really be talking about the Jungleland sax solo, can you?

Sax solos are literally constructed out of actual cheese, but it hard to tell on account of they're always filmed in soft focus with dim lighting.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:52 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


*it's
posted by Sys Rq at 9:52 PM on July 21, 2011


I keep waiting for the clarinet to come back.
posted by Bonzai at 9:53 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is a link to the sax solo in "Rio" by Duran Duran. It is so awesome that the sax player needed to be placed on a raft and sent out to sea. Perry and Gaga are welcome to keep trying, but mere mortals are not going to approach this level of fabulosity any time soon, Lenny Pickett or not.

Ironic posturing is ok with me.
posted by mintcake! at 9:54 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your cheeks puff up. Your fingers flutter.

If your cheeks puff up and your fingers flutter, you are not a very good sax player.
posted by Camofrog at 9:56 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Holy crap, I was JUST NOW watching Labrynth and thinking that it's about time for sax solos to cycle back into popularity. And I, for one, welcome our new saxophone overlords!
posted by hammurderer at 9:57 PM on July 21, 2011


Pretty sure Mr. Saxobeat is the origin of this trend. It's been in the charts since November of last year - first the Romanian charts, then the Europe-plus-Quebec-minus-the-UK charts, and then finally the UK charts around April. It'll probably make its way over to the US by the end of the year.
posted by subdee at 10:31 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Previously
posted by vespabelle at 10:40 PM on July 21, 2011


I just hope that pop music shifts its way back to horns and funky bass, a la Joe Jackson.
posted by this one is danny at 11:44 PM on July 21, 2011


Sax prank guy.
posted by XhaustedProphet at 11:54 PM on July 21, 2011


Zappa's The Purple Lagoon from L├Ąther, has an absolutely incredible sax solo. And Sergio wasn't the first time first epic saxophone soloing happened on SNL.
posted by Homemade Interossiter at 1:30 AM on July 22, 2011


I like to think this guy made it happen.
posted by palbo at 2:08 AM on July 22, 2011


I was alive in the 80s, and one thing I took away was that sax solos tend toward the cheesy.

No kidding, 80s rock sax solos just drip with gooey Hallmark sentiment.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:45 AM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: "The idea of the sax solo (and the guitar solo I guess) is that when the emotion gets too much for the lyrics pure mood takes over"

So I'm never gonna dance again
the way I danced with you.

*cough*
posted by bwg at 3:50 AM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


A few days ago I played Fly Me to the Moon at a work dinner party on my tenor sax. While rehearsing for it, I went on YouTube for some inspiration, and found this amazing 10-year-old Russian boy absolutely nailing the solo. It didn't do my confidence much good, but thankfully the performance was well-received, and I was asked to play again in October.
posted by baejoseph at 7:34 AM on July 22, 2011


I sort of like the idea of a resurgence of sax solos here and there, but I'd be really psyched if we could get back to the use of electric pianos.

I dig out my Blues Brothers soundtrack and hear it on every song, and damn it, if it doesn't make nearly ever song that much more awesome.
posted by quin at 7:49 AM on July 22, 2011


The sax is used to great effect (albeit more as a flourish than anything else) in St. Vincent's somewhat-recent single, Actor Out of Work. Between it and the manic guitar chugging, it gives the song a wonderful Bowie-like vibe. Bring it on, I say.
posted by kryptondog at 8:15 AM on July 22, 2011


Morphine "The Other Side" Live 1990 Boston
posted by wobh at 8:41 AM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nothing sets my teeth on edge more than a goddamned pop/rock sax solo.

Let me guess; you cant bend your little finger, can you?
posted by happyroach at 9:18 AM on July 22, 2011


Sonny Rollins and Leonard Cohen perform Who By Fire, a perfect antidote to the cheesy and or ironic sax solo.
posted by Lorin at 9:31 AM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Morphine "The Other Side" Live 1990 Boston

Oh god, Morphine. See also A Good Woman is Hard to Find for an example of a somewhat-contemporary song that would be hopelessly inadequate without the sax.
posted by kryptondog at 10:37 AM on July 22, 2011


Nothing beats a vigorous round of hard, sweaty sax
posted by nathancaswell at 12:14 PM on July 22, 2011


Speaking of saxophone parts in rock and pop music that are not terrible, Love and Rockets (and sometimes Bauhaus) used sax really well. Something to do with knowing when not to play, I think.
posted by The World Famous at 12:33 PM on July 22, 2011


Love and Rockets (and sometimes Bauhaus) used sax really well.

Citation, please! I'd like to hear this, if there's anything on the 'Tube.
I can't think of any sax in their music... but maybe that's just because I wouldn't know a sax if it saxed me in the face.
posted by Flashman at 2:01 PM on July 22, 2011


I can't think of any saxy Bauhaus either. Are you sure you're not thinking of the Psychedelic Furs or Sisters of Mercy or something?
posted by Sys Rq at 2:13 PM on July 22, 2011


All my favourite sax solos appear not be on YouTube - or at least not in acceptably recorded form. But they all feature huge piles of blart and skronk, and many of them are played on the baritone sax.

Why are there only terrible live recordings of Gallon Drunk, for example?
posted by Decani at 2:29 PM on July 22, 2011


Here's my favourite bit of saxery in my music collection (pretty sure it's a sax!)/
Lambchop: King of Nothing Never
posted by Flashman at 2:44 PM on July 22, 2011


Trent Reznor, also ahead of (or way behind) his time.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:07 PM on July 22, 2011


Citation, please! I'd like to hear this, if there's anything on the 'Tube.
I can't think of any sax in their music... but maybe that's just because I wouldn't know a sax if it saxed me in the face.


Daniel Ash played sax on tons of Love and Rockets stuff, and if I remember right, I don't think there's an album of theirs that doesn't have sax on it, though the one that jumps out in my mind first is the opening of Express and about half the songs (if not more) on Earth, Sun, Moon. Now, they also used a lot of e-bow electric guitar lines, particularly on Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven, which should not be confused with saxophone parts. Nevertheless, Off the top of my head, here are a few Love and Rockets songs that have prominent sax solos or parts:

It Could Be Sunshine - It was the first song on the Express album and it opens with a saxophone solo!
Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven - Jump to 2:30 for the sax solo.
Youth - Jump to 2:09 for the sax
Waiting For The Flood - Huge sax solo at 1:52
Here On Earth - Awesome saxophone solo at 1:46
Rock and Roll Babylon - Opens with a sax solo and more sax throughout the song.

There's a lot more, including sax on the Tones on Tail stuff, but remembering all the sax solos and tracking them down is, as I'm sure you can imagine, a little time-consuming.

I can't think of any saxy Bauhaus either. Are you sure you're not thinking of the Psychedelic Furs or Sisters of Mercy or something?

Oh, come on now! Bauhaus is so saxy that sometimes Daniel Ash just played a crazy sax solo for entire songs.

Dancing - This one's an early live performance video where you can watch Daniel Ash play the crazy sax solo that runs the entire length of the song.
In Fear Of Fear - Another live performance - this one from 1998 - where Daniel Ash plays an insane sax solo the whole time.
Watch That Grandad Go - Sax throughout
Who Killed Mr. Moonlight - Sax throughout
Dive - Crazy sax throughout
posted by The World Famous at 3:44 PM on July 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Bauhaus is so saxy that sometimes Daniel Ash just played a crazy sax solo for entire songs.

I think, technically, if there's singing happening while the sax is playing, it's not actually a sax solo, but rather is a sax part.

By definition, a "solo" would be a point in the song where said instrument is featured and attention is drawn to it to the exclusion of other parts of the band.

And I do support bands which break out of the standard guitar-guitar-bass-drums instrumentation and have other textures as part of the sonic landscape. But seriously... those aren't sax solos.
posted by hippybear at 4:04 PM on July 22, 2011


That's awesome, TWF, thanks for going to the trouble. I don't have Express anymore but I was going through SDOTH, and yeah there's sometimes something there that sounds saxy, but I guess is the e-bow you speak of. Ditto Tones on Tail.
posted by Flashman at 4:14 PM on July 22, 2011


But seriously... those aren't sax solos.

I suppose that they could technically be considered a duet with Peter Murphy's lead vocal. But still: Crazy sax!
posted by The World Famous at 4:16 PM on July 22, 2011


Lambchop: King of Nothing Never

That's Deanna Varagona on baritone. She's fantastic.
posted by mintcake! at 5:49 PM on July 22, 2011


The last thing the world needs actually is another ska band, I'd venture.

I wait patiently for Ska to come around again. I wait patiently for Two Tone to come around again. The glorious conflict of cultures involving a brass section and a guy in a suit dancing as hard as he can as main components in the band. A ska band without horns is like a porn superhero without a... mustache. Yeah, it kinda works, but you feel cheated. A ska band without the guy in the suit doing brief, staccato scat in between stanzas, well, it's just sad.

So I wait, in my house in R'lyeh for Ska to resurge. That is not dead which can eternal lie. And with strange aeons even death may die. Pickituppickituppickitupnow!
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:57 PM on July 22, 2011


OK, to double post...

You'd think, that if you put Les Claypool on vocals for "Honey White", and better yet, bass guitar, his freaky fingers flying in full-on in his "The Bass Is the LEAD Instrument" style, and then added an extra drummer - the sax would fade to it's rightful place in the background.

You'd be wrong.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:14 PM on July 22, 2011


Slap*Happy, those aren't just some guys. They are Billy Conway, Jerome DuPree and Dana Colley. They're Morphine (what's left now).
posted by wobh at 9:35 PM on July 22, 2011


Shhh! I know, but they don't!

The point still stands. If Les Claypool can't pull the rug out from under your lead instrument, then no one can.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:03 PM on July 22, 2011


I recently saw a guy propose to his girlfriend during a reunion show of Sydney ska band Area 7. She accepted.
Every time I see a ska band I dig 3 songs and get bored.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 2:06 AM on July 23, 2011


I got your saxophone here.
posted by marxchivist at 3:59 AM on July 23, 2011


"Sydney Melbourne ska band Area 7. "

FTFY.
posted by pompomtom at 6:35 AM on July 23, 2011


For good or for bad, I can't think of a sax in a song without immediately thinking of this. I blame my Dad.
posted by vckeating at 3:48 PM on July 24, 2011


The horns on the last Lucero album are great.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:47 PM on July 24, 2011


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