Skip

I Feel Beneath The White There is a Burundi
May 20, 2008 11:47 AM   Subscribe

When Malcolm McLaren was managing Stuart Goddard (alias Adam Ant), there was one song that Adam says he listened to over and over -- Burundi Black. You can definitely hear the influence.

My reference for this is a paperback copy of The Adam Ant Story which I am a bit embarassed to admit I was reading when I was a senior in high school.
posted by wittgenstein (32 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Isn't that a font?
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:49 AM on May 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


That is a very cool sound.
posted by everichon at 11:59 AM on May 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


very cool indeed :)

Zulus On A Timebomb
posted by vronsky at 12:04 PM on May 20, 2008


That's a great tune, and the similarity is overwhelming. They ought to be due royalties or something!

Kings of the Wild Frontier was the first album I ever bought, when I was nine. It had a fanzine included that I would read cover to cover - the references to like, deviant sexual fetishes went right over my head!
I still love the album though - I even have the cool drum intro to 'Dog Eat Dog' as my cellphone ringtone, made with Audacity (if anybody else wants a copy, drop me a line).
posted by Flashman at 12:08 PM on May 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Beastie Boys sample that bit on Paul's Boutique.
posted by furtive at 12:08 PM on May 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Back in 2002 Goddard was in trouble for threatening some pub customers with either an imitation handgun or a starter pistol. The story was that the people he threatened were calling him names and laughing at him (he was dressed rather eccentrically, it seems). He has subsequently been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 12:11 PM on May 20, 2008


Sounds like Antmusic, too.

If that music's lost its taste, try another flavor. Or not.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:21 PM on May 20, 2008


Here's that drum bit - the low res version at least. I was wrong though, it's from 'Antmusic'.
The New Pornographers also pay homage to it on New Face of Zeroes and Ones, but now I wonder where A & the As ripped it off from.
posted by Flashman at 12:23 PM on May 20, 2008


furtive beat me to it, but yeah, I listened and about 30 seconds in on Burundi Black said "I've heard this before!" on Beastie Boys B-Boy Bouillabaisse
posted by fings at 12:23 PM on May 20, 2008


Speaking of old Malc - if you've never heard his Duck Rock album, consider it recommended. It's wonderful.
posted by davebush at 12:25 PM on May 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, Malcolm McLaren was also responsible for the break-up of Adam and the Ants and the subsequent forming of Bow Wow Wow?
posted by medium format at 12:40 PM on May 20, 2008


Perhaps I should have read the entire article before posting. McClaren coaxed the "then line-up" of the Ants to form Bow Wow Wow. Adam then formed a new band of ants and used the African rhythms as a base for his songs.
posted by medium format at 12:45 PM on May 20, 2008


The New Pornographers also pay homage to it on New Face of Zeroes and Ones, but now I wonder where A & the As ripped it off from.

They ripped it off from another rip off of "Burundi Beat"- which is the above linked "Burundi Black":

Burundi Black (Pt. 1 and 2) is a seven inch single by Burundi Steiphenson Black, released in 1971 on Barclay Records. The track was arranged, composed by Mike Steiphenson. The sleeve notes that the recording contains drums [tambour] by the Ingoma Tribe sampled from the album on Ocora records (OCR 40 - Musique du Burundi).

More info about the whole deal with the Ants and BowWowWow here.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:17 PM on May 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Erm, the original rhythm, by the Ingoma drummers (aka Drums of Makebuko, or Royal Drummers of Burundi) was lifted off the 1968 album Musique du Burundi. (Fwiw, here's a list of all the other stuff that influenced Adam & the Ants.)
posted by progosk at 1:19 PM on May 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oops, I left this bit out: Steiphenson owns the copyright on "Burundi Black". The original African drummers do not share in his profits. Even though his contribution was adding nothing more than an insipid piano line and useless guitar.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:21 PM on May 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


That beat is hot. I always like Stand and deliver. It's a hard beat.
posted by Flex1970 at 1:29 PM on May 20, 2008


Progosk -- Now that last link is a cool link! I have always loved "Prince Charming" ; the video seen on MTV is what really got me into Adam and the Ants as a kid, and here I learn it came from a song by Rolf Harris? That is the kind of info I NEED to know!
posted by wittgenstein at 1:32 PM on May 20, 2008


Ol' Mac rang my bell with "Fans", his wild refashioning of Opera.
I still listen to it at least once a month.
Excellent find, witt!
posted by Dizzy at 3:12 PM on May 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


this post changed my day! big fan of African music, than Antz and the Beastie Boys. it has all come together.
posted by ianaces at 3:21 PM on May 20, 2008


Joni Mitchell picked up on Burundi drumming in 1975.
posted by neroli at 3:59 PM on May 20, 2008


Wow, neroli. Being the last thing i'd ever have expected, that just blew my mind, verily. (So, did she at least credit the Ingoma?)
posted by progosk at 4:53 PM on May 20, 2008


Some mention here should probably be made of Bow Wow Wow, since, to quote the wiki page on Adam and the Ants: "In January 1980, McLaren convinced the rest of the [the Ants], then comprising guitarist Matthew Ashman, bassist Leigh Gorman and drummer Dave Barbarossa to leave the Ants and form Bow Wow Wow, fronted by Annabella Lwin"--and also since that same beat and rhythmic conception also definitely turns up on Bow Wow Wow's first release: "Your Cassette Pet (EMI WOW 1, 8 song cassette EP) released Dec 1980."

You can hear a bit of it in Louis Quatorze, but it's heard far more still in the other songs from that 1980 recording (none of them on YT)--especially in Uomo Sex Al Apache, Sexy Eiffel Tower, and Radio G. String.

That same year (1980) Kings of the Wild Frontier was released. The musical similarities between these recordings and the performace/costume similarities between these two bands (esp. circa 1980) is--given that BWW was a spin-off of pre-Wild Frontier Ants--unsurprising, but here's my question: who stole from who? Did the three chaps McLaren convinced to leave Adam Ant in order to create BWW take their musical and faux-tribal conception w/them, or did they take what was really Goddard's conception with them and just replace him w/a young female on vocals? Or did McLaren take the costume conception w/him and the musicians took the music? Any ideas? For what it's worth I though BWW was the better pop band, but that's just me.
posted by ornate insect at 6:47 PM on May 20, 2008


I remember seeing a video ages ago of Adam playing a song (I want to say it was "Goody Two Shoes," but I'm not sure...) live. Might've been on The Tube - there were two drummers on stage playing in syncopation which gave the whole thing a huge sound. Similar to this vid, Dog Eat Dog. Not enough people do that anymore, it seems to me. If they want a big sound, they turn up the guitars and ignore Africa.
posted by Zack_Replica at 8:09 PM on May 20, 2008


Isn't that a font?

No, you're thinking of Burundi Condensed Sans Bold Italic, Extra Ligatures.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:29 PM on May 20, 2008


Eiffel Tower was on an old (out of print) McLaren cassette I had called Swamp Thing which was a collection of outtakes and b-sides he put out due to contract obligations. The title song is still one of my faves. Actually, it may be my favorite McLaren album period.
posted by vronsky at 9:31 PM on May 20, 2008


This thread spurred on a little Ants binge here at home, ending with the defunct (?) tribute band, Ants Invasion. Pure gold.
posted by billder at 11:03 PM on May 20, 2008


neroli beat me to it. I'll take Joni's take on the Burundi groove over Adam Ant's any day.
posted by wsg at 11:20 PM on May 20, 2008


The drums in Bow Wow Wow's "C30, C60, C90, Go!" really, really hit the spot.
posted by D.C. at 11:54 PM on May 20, 2008


Did the three chaps McLaren convinced to leave Adam Ant in order to create BWW take their musical and faux-tribal conception w/them, or did they take what was really Goddard's conception with them and just replace him w/a young female on vocals? Or did McLaren take the costume conception w/him and the musicians took the music? Any ideas? For what it's worth I though BWW was the better pop band, but that's just me.

Leigh Gorman had begun to work on the slap-bass sound that was part of Burundi Beat at the behest of Adam who wanted a post-punk sound (Adam was the one who hired Leigh). Supposedly there are tapes this incarnation of the Ants recorded that have songs which appear on both Adam and the Ants and BowWowWow records. It's probably most accurate to say they booted Adam, who at 25 was considered "too old", and then hired a new singer. McLaren remained their (BowWowWow's) manager, and Adam got new musicians and kept some of his songs, retaining the Burundi influence. The tribal clothing influence thing was kind of Adam's deal; he has said he gravitated toward it being half Rom (gypsy). Vivienne Westwood and McLaren's clothing store Sex changed to Seditionaries and then World's End, at which time she launched her pirate themed collection (1980). Adam already shopped at the store back when he wore S&M gear, so I suppose it was natural that when he was looking for a post-punk look after Dirk that he go with Westwood's designs. Of course, BWW wore them too.

OK, here you go:

"There was the 45 RPM called Burundi Black and the flipside was just Burundi. They made this magnificent primal drum music with chants to it; it reminded me of an army of ants’ feet going “ga-ga-ga-ga-ga.” So one day I tried to mimic that scratching sound on my bass, and when I did it, Adam said, “Do that again!” And I did it again, and then Adam said, "Hey, Matthew, can you do that on your drums?” Then we did it all together, and we all looked at each other and thought we have something here. "
posted by oneirodynia at 12:05 AM on May 21, 2008


Late to the party (or is it feeding frenzy?), but if you listen to the drum part closely, you'll hear another tune that was influenced by this (and/or others?):

Joni Mitchell, "The Jungle Line" (direct to the YouTube version). From 1975 ... this predates the McLaren years by a good four years ... just sayin' ...
posted by aldus_manutius at 6:39 AM on May 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


In 1999, at WOMAD in Seattle, I was witness to Afro-Celt Sound System jamming on stage with The Royal Drummers of Burundi. The entire place was lifted off the ground!

Off. The. Ground. As in, impending Mothership arrival altitude.

Incidentally, The Royal Drummers of Burundi are credited by Thomas Brooman and Peter Gabriel for having been the original inspirerers for WOMAD.
posted by humannaire at 5:44 PM on May 21, 2008


hummanaire: I got to see the Drummers of Burundi at WOMAD in Golden Gate Park in 1993.
Thousands of people dancing. It was amazing.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:52 PM on May 21, 2008


« Older Earthquake lights   |   Edward Kennedy has malignant brain tumor Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post