Sketch, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll
published: 22 /
Anthony Strutt is impressed by a new DVD documentary about Killing Joke bassist and Paul McCartney and Pink Floyd producer Youth
'Sketch, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll' basically describes what Youth does as a job. He is multi-talented, and to just say he is the bass player for Killing Joke and a producer doesn't really draw up the complete picture. He is both of those, but he is much more. And over the DVD content that lasts just under an hour, he, himself, tries to describe what actually he does, alongside some famous faces with whom he has worked.
Originally, he was a punk known to friends as 'Pig Youth'. He was buying clothes from FLIP, a great store that I used to buy from, that specialized in bringing 1950's retro clothes over from the States to the heart of Covent Garden. Also the beauty of this shop was everything was original and not too over-priced. But the difference was Pig Youth never took them off. He would do whole tours in them and sleep in them,and when they fell apart he would buy another garment and put it on top.
Even Jaz Coleman, of Killing Joke, tells stories, not knowing exactly what Youth does outside of the band. 'Pylon,' last year's Killing Joke album, is briefly spoken about as an album that brought the band to a wider attention span. Youth comes over as a complex but fascinating chap: very honest, a workaholic, but interesting in his work balance. Even when he isn't working behind a desk, remixing or producing, he is often drawing or painting, which relaxes him so that he can absorb the atmosphere around him.
Guest speakers include Alan McGee, Danny McNamara from Embrace and Paul McCartney, with whom Youth worked twice on a project they named 'The Fireman',a more experimental avant-garde project of McCartney's that is only known to his hardcore fans. Youth conducts the room he works in, and records mostly at home where he can paint. He is also very much a hippy and a born traveller, who absorbs everything. He also writes diaries and poetry, and three of his poems are read out in the extras.
On a normal working day, he works on several projects, not spending all day with just one band. Before he was a punk, he was briefly a soul boy, but the creative edge of punk mixed with the spirit of the hippy era led him down his his own path. When he auditioned for Killing Joke, he couldn't play. Jaz went away and by the time Jaz returned Youth could play, having been taught by Killing Joke's guitar player.
The project also features a breakdown of how The Fireman worked out a song in stages. Youth is a man who has no fear of failure. He has crazy ideas; with 'Pasting in Egypt,' he saw the Pyramids and decided they should play live inside one, which they did. When he recorded Pink Floyd, all David Gilmour could hear was the Orb, but Youth brought out the Floyd in Pink Floyd.
As the DVD comes to a close, it features some of his odd other projects such as an anarchist's drawing book, now up to it's third printing, in which he reads poetry while storytelling what's behind the written words. He draws and paints just as much as playing the bass and turning knobs, and all this makes for an compelling portrait of this a very interesting man. 'Sketch, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll' comes with two stickers, four postcards and one hand-signed exclusive drawing.
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