They were desperate before and afterwards they were far more desperate. At the end of the 1980s, Primal Scream - until then one of the most successful British bands - had gotten musically into a rancid blues rock variant, while the country's youth preferred to celebrate electronic dance music around them. Suddenly Primal Scream were bored with themselves and their nostalgic sound. "The music was better on the raves," her singer Bobby Gillespie later recalled, "the people were better, the girls were better, and the drugs too." The Primal Scream album also fell through with the critics in 1989 and sold moderately, so they wanted to try something different for their subsequent work that appeared more contemporary. So they asked one of the aspiring young rave DJs to remix one of their older songs, I'm Losing More Than I'll Ever Have .
Andrew Weatherall had never remixed anything before, but the job appealed to him. And he had " confidence in ignorance ", as he called it - after a sentence by Orson Welles. He sat down at the mixer and put together a version that he liked.
The band was horrified, they didn't recognize anything. There was nothing left of the melody of the song, and from the striking bass line you could only hear the last bars at the end, which Weatherall had woven into a loop. What remained was a low-speed, dub reggae-like track with a dull drum loop, a crackling gospel choir snippet from the old Stax band The Emotions and a line of dialogue from Roger Corman's rocker film The Wild Angels with Peter Fonda and Frank Maxwell: " We want to be free! We want to get loaded and have a good time! "
"We were speechless, we immediately hated it, it had nothing to do with us at all," said Bobby Gillespie. Nevertheless, the band released the version as a single under the title Loaded , which comes from the rocker dialogue. Until then, Primal Screams had been the greatest success: released in early 1990, over 100,000 of them immediately sold.
Andrew Weatherall was allowed to go on, and his next Primal Scream productions were even more radical in their departure from classic remix techniques - and even more consequent in the gradual combination of rock and rave, band and DJ music. With church organ, gospel choir and a sample from a sermon by Jesse Jackson, he made Come Together a sublime hymn of emancipation; in Higher Than The Sun (A Dub Symphony in Two Parts) he finally found a symbiosis of the psychedelic rock of the 1960s and the new, electronic dance floor psychedelic that was celebrated on the endless raves of that time.
The Screamadelica album by Primal Scream, on which all these songs and even more were found in the same spirit in 1991, became one of the major formative pop events of the 1990s: a work in which the traditional traditions of rock music were completely and conclusively incorporated for the first time of contemporary electronic music; a work that significantly influenced generations of musicians, from the British big beat of the following decade (with bands like the Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy) to the indie disco and punk funk of the nineties from LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip and The Rapture to the electro-clash that extends to our present day.
And that is thanks to Andrew Weatherall. Even if his name may not be one of those that immediately say something to the general public, its importance for pop in recent decades should not be overestimated. Born in Windsor in 1963, he first started his career on the dark side of music, he loved the misanthropic and ideologically confusing industrial of Throbbing Gristle, Coil and Chris & Cosey, he played in a postpunk band, "with Hitler Youth haircut, German army clothes and everything that goes with it, "as he later recalled; until he finally debuted as a DJ at Shoom, a club in an abandoned gym in London's Southwark, which became one of the birthplaces of the British Acid House - and one of the first places where the audience closed on the then completely new drug ecstasy danced.