We are in the year of the fortieth anniversary of Play It Again Sam Records. It is also the year that Bruce Geduldig, Tuxedomoon’s visuals artist, would have turned 70. Fitting, then, to find a six-track EP of songs by The Weathermen on release from PIAS.
A collaboration between Geduldig and Jean-Marc Lederman from Fad Gadget’s first touring band, The Weathermen leaped onto the stage with “Deep Down South” in 1985. From their base in Brussels, they combined the electro-intensity of Front 242 and Kraftwerk with a sense of humour that mercilessly mocked rock tropes and the lovers of Svetlana Alliluyeva. Named after a group of middle-class American radicals, who used to recruit youth by attacking them in the street and were known for blowing themselves up, The Weathermen took nothing seriously except the mixing of their samples and heavy-duty beats.
For their third communique, John F. Kennedy had been roped in for lead vocals on “Let Them Come to Berlin.” Using the cut-up tape style of Cabaret Voltaire, The Weathermen managed to turn the dead president’s anti-communist speech into a dancefloor classic. It set a template for subversion, both on and off the dancefloor, and anticipated Berghain decades before the queues started to form.
The 40 EP collects these songs with four others from the band’s very respectable back catalogue. The stand-out track, and the one that had the greatest reach for the duo, is “Poison,” in which Geduldig plays the role of stalking groupie, Suzanna Stammer. Over Lederman’s classic electro track, which featured sampled metal and a menacing bass line, Stammer leaves a series of threatening voice messages. The scary part is that there are real Suzanna Stammers, from Plan K to Pustervik. Thanks to The Weathermen, you can dance to genius tracks like “Bang!” in the club while she scratches up your Bruce Springsteen records back at home. Best have a word with your drummer about who he lets in.
It’s 2023. Bruce is gone, but the beats remain.