Superpitcher: Today

Dan Nishimoto

Superpitcher takes you for a spin... Hear the needle lift when it's all over.



Label: Kompakt
US Release Date: 2005-05-02
UK Release Date: 2005-05-17
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They were attracted to the outline.

Hard to find because when the three first entered the house little stood out in the sea of blackness. Of course, all the pretty things were present: boots and dye, ties and hoops, studs and 10s. A singular smell arose, a harmony of homogenous odors. The din of bleats and beats beating beleep beleep beep were all too familiar. Then out of the pitch black, a glimmer of product glistened like a glitch in time. Brightness had blasted from beyond the back of the stage, accentuating an impression, an image, an ideal. And it was then that they decided to stay.

They felt the urge. It began as it always did, a trickling faucet leaking petals of soft down bled red to flirt with the porcelain. But the climax came quicker, exploding quickly into a Jello geyser, almost suffocating with its viscous texture. It was a Need. A need to... know? No, a need to embrace back; quid pro quo, if you will. Yes, so calculatingly impulsive, the life of Bass Lovers. Cabinet Freaks. Drum Junkies. And so they pushed and they breathed. And they pushed and they breathed. And they pushed their way forward. Running, reaching, screaming their way into her arms. Their ears pressed deep against her ample chest, they listened for the message. However, her sternum had led lectures to countless before them, cartilage grilled like cobweb with imprints of her past brood. So, all they could make out were her accents, sparks in the darkness.

Proximity did not equal intimacy. So sideway days for their sideways gaze. I think it's raining outside, one said nervously, shifting listlessly. That doesn't mean we have to leave, said another, not about to be bothered. In fact, I think things are only getting better, said the third, eyes big as almonds. And before another word could be shouted, it came again. This time, like a flood, a broken dam unleashing the cleansing that they had been waiting for. A coolness breezing past the rocks, now let's watch it in fast-forward, they yammered. Rewind, selector. Third verse was certainly different from the first. Scanning the scene, it all seemed familiar: black clothes and photophobia, hardly out of the ordinary; goth rock and cock rings, it ain't no big thing; but mad canines and a chronic iron deficiency? Rock 'n' roll and vampires, now that's where it's at. Lusting for life, they knew there was no turning back.

Camera cut: Corbijn and Tarkovsky in soft focus. Don't forget your jacket, the voice whispers, a bike ride in the cool night air will do you some good. After all, Maddin ain't mad at'cha. A great escape across a post-Chernobyl landscape. Did you zip up? The fog is especially thick this time of year. Ghost Riders in an April storm, Jim Morrison on E. Seaward bound, land ever on the horizon, stay the course.

Back to black. They stumble out the backdoor, gasping and grasping. A break from the air would help. Breathe in, should I stay? Breathe out, should I take a breather? Each keels, finally finding their mutual prayer. But no one speaks. Words now bare the weight of three-dimensions in bold and come crashing down at the pace of Tetris level 10; expressions of the incomprehensible. Crumpled in an alleyway, one wonders where is my Kirsten Dunst? Another pines for Toby. The last simply wonders how is it possible for the logical to be so incomprehensible. Breathing slows, they each turn towards each other slowly. Fade to white...

Finally, liftoff. The wheels bounce here and there, but a bumpy beginning promising new and better things; acceleration to move past yesterday's turbulence. The friends sit side-by-side, middle aisle, leaving behind gravity's discomfort. How's the air up there, their friends will ask? Fine, thank you. Won't you come join us? On second thought, we'll be moving along; catch us if you can.

Cut back to first scene. One teen atop a stage. Turns out his wishes were already there, in the spotlight, all eyez on him. It's his moment of clarity, his moment of honesty. Would you like to sing along, he asks? A melody twinkling like gilded wings on an angel. To the beat y'all, and it don't stop. And when I swell, you swoon. When I croon, you purr, pussycat. Was it as good for all parties involved? A most satisfying meal with the best of company. Swirls of peppermint secrete red and white candy stripes, coating the tongue with a slow pleasure. Shards form like acne pockmarks along the surface of the Man on the Moon, dipping in then jutting sharply. Audience cheers fade out.

Sebastian Tellier on the closing credits. Organic liveness for the post-popcorn coitus. The feature is always Focus vagueness; the lights aren't even back up, but it's back to basics. A dream from the life of Superpitcher. And you're invited.

But what a dream.


In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Editor's Note: Originally published 30 July 2014.

10. “Bedlam in Belgium”
(Flick of the Switch, 1983)

This is a massively underrated barnstormer from the boys off the much-maligned (unfairly, I think) Flick of the Switch. The album was missing Mutt Lange, but the Youngs did have his very capable engineer, Tony Platt, as co-producer in the studio at Compass Point in the Bahamas. Tony’s a real pro. I think he did a perfectly fine job on this album, which also features the slamming “Nervous Shakedown”.

But what I find most interesting about “Bedlam in Belgium” is that it’s based on a fracas that broke out on stage in Kontich, Belgium, in 1977, involving Bon Scott, the rest of the band, and the local authorities. AC/DC had violated a noise curfew and things got hairy.

Yet Brian Johnson, more than half a decade later, wrote the lyrics with such insight; almost as if he was the one getting walloped by the Belgian police: He gave me a crack in the back with his gun / Hurt me so bad I could feel the blood run. Cracking lyrics, Bon-esque. Unfortunately for Brian, he was removed from lyric-writing duties from The Razors Edge (1990) onwards. All songs up to and including 2008’s Black Ice are Young/Young compositions.

Who’ll be writing the songs on the new album AC/DC has been working on in Vancouver? AC/DC fans can’t wait to hear them. Nor can I.

9. “Spellbound”
(For Those About to Rock We Salute You, 1981)

"Spellbound" really stands as a lasting monument to the genius of Mutt Lange, a man whose finely tuned ear and attention to detail filed the rough edges of Vanda & Young–era AC/DC and turned this commercially underperforming band for Atlantic Records into one of the biggest in the world. On “Spellbound” AC/DC sounds truly majestic. Lange just amplifies their natural power an extra notch. It’s crisp sounding, laden with dynamics and just awesome when Angus launches into his solo.

“Spellbound” is the closer on For Those About to Rock We Salute You, the last album Lange did with AC/DC, so chronologically it’s a significant song; it marks the end of an important era. For Those About to Rock was an unhappy experience for a lot of people. There was a lot of blood being spilled behind the scenes. It went to number one in the US but commercially was a massive disappointment after the performance of Back in Black. Much of the blame lies at the feet of Atlantic Records, then under Doug Morris, who made the decision to exhume an album they’d shelved in 1976, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, and release it in-between Back in Black and For Those About to Rock.

In the book Phil Carson, who signed AC/DC to Atlantic, calls it “one of the most crass decisions ever made by a record-company executive” and believes it undermined sales of For Those About to Rock.

8. “Down Payment Blues”
(Powerage, 1978)

This is one of the best songs off Powerage -- perhaps the high point of Bon Scott as a lyricist -- but also significant for its connection to “Back in Black”. There are key lines in it: Sitting in my Cadillac / Listening to my radio / Suzy baby get on in / Tell me where she wanna go / I'm living in a nightmare / She's looking like a wet dream / I got myself a Cadillac / But I can't afford the gasoline.

Bon loved writing about Cadillacs. He mentions them in “Rocker” off the Australian version of TNT and the international release of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap: Got slicked black hair / Skin tight jeans / Cadillac car and a teenage dream.

Then you get to “Back in Black”. Bon’s dead but the lyrics have this spooky connection to “Down Payment Blues”: Back in the back / Of a Cadillac / Number one with a bullet, I’m a power pack.

Why was Brian singing about riding around in Cadillacs? He’d just joined AC/DC, wasn’t earning a lot and was on his best behavior. Bon had a reason to be singing about money. He was writing all the songs and just had a breakthrough album with Highway to Hell. Which begs the question: Could Bon also have written or part written the lyrics to “Back in Black”?

Bon’s late mother Isa said in 2006: “The last time we saw him was Christmas ’79, two months before he died. [Bon] told me he was working on the Back in Black album and that that was going to be it; that he was going to be a millionaire.”

7. “You Shook Me All Night Long”
(Back in Black, 1980)

Everyone knows and loves this song; it’s played everywhere. Shania Twain and Celine Dion have covered it. It’s one of AC/DC’s standbys. But who wrote it?

Former Mötley Crüe manager Doug Thaler is convinced Bon Scott, who’d passed away before the album was recorded, being replaced by Brian Johnson, wrote the lyrics. In fact he told me, “You can bet your life that Bon Scott wrote the lyrics to ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’.” That’s a pretty strong statement from a guy who used to be AC/DC’s American booking agent and knew the band intimately. I look into this claim in some depth in the book and draw my own conclusions.

I’m convinced Bon wrote it. In my opinion only Bon would have written a line like “She told me to come but I was already there.” Brian never matched the verve or wit of Bon in his lyrics and it’s why I think so much of AC/DC’s mid-'80s output suffers even when the guitar work of the Youngs was as good as it ever was.

But what’s also really interesting about this song in light of the recent hullabaloo over Taurus and Led Zeppelin is how much the opening guitar riff sounds similar to Head East’s “Never Been Any Reason”. I didn’t know a hell of a lot about Head East before I started working on this book, but came across “Never Been Any Reason” in the process of doing my research and was blown away when I heard it for the first time. AC/DC opened for Head East in Milwaukee in 1977. So the two bands crossed paths.

6. “Rock ’N’ Roll Damnation”
(Powerage, 1978)

It’s hard to get my head around the fact Mick Wall, the British rock writer and author of AC/DC: Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be, called this “a two-bit piece of head-bopping guff.” Not sure what track he was listening to when he wrote that -- maybe he was having a bad day -- but for me it’s one of the last of AC/DC’s classic boogie tracks and probably the best.

Mark Evans loves it almost as much as he loves “Highway to Hell". It has everything you want in an AC/DC song plus shakers, tambourines and handclaps, a real Motown touch that George Young and Harry Vanda brought to bear on the recording. They did something similar with the John Paul Young hit “Love Is in the Air”. Percussion was an underlying feature of many early AC/DC songs. This one really grooves. I never get tired of hearing it.

“Rock ’n’ Roll Damnation” was AC/DC’s first hit in the UK charts and a lot of the credit has to go to Michael Klenfner, best known as the fat guy with the moustache who stops Jake and Elwood backstage in the final reel of The Blues Brothers and offers them a recording contract. He was senior vice-president at Atlantic at the time, and insisted the band go back and record a radio-worthy single after they delivered the first cut of Powerage to New York.

Michael was a real champion of AC/DC behind the scenes at Atlantic, and never got the recognition he was due while he was still alive (he passed away in 2009). He ended up having a falling out with Atlantic president Jerry Greenberg over the choice of producer for Highway to Hell and got fired. But it was Klenfner who arguably did more for the band than anyone else while they were at Atlantic. His story deserves to be known by the fans.

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