I Am Damo Suzuki

Lyrics

(1)

Generous of lyric, Jehovah's Witness (2)
Stands in Cologne Marktplatz (3)
Drums come in
When the drums come in fast
Drums to shock, into brass evil  (4)

What have you got in that paper bag? (5)
Is it a dose of Vitamin C? (6)
Ain't got no time for Western lesson (7)
I am Damo Suzuki

The park alight with acid rain
Give it to me, danke, every day (8)
Who is Mr. Herr Stockhausen? (9)
Introduce me
I'm Damo Suzuki

Soundtracks, Soundtracks (10)
Melched together, the lights
The lights above you

Listener was in cahoots with Fritz Lieber (11)
And read him every day
Recipe for fear gas, amount of salt ash (12)
I put by cup of meine fire, okay
I have no time for Western lesson
I am Damo Suzuki

May we go back to days pre-Virgin (13)
Cannot get on clear vinyl
The handle that was brass, is now brass evil
The rock that was an egg, is in wrong cradle
The hand that cradles the rock, makes egg gooey 
I am Damo Suzuki (14)

Is this West latent pattern? (15)
Run it, says Damo's spirit
Is this lesser European?
Speak it, says Damo's spirit
I am Damo Suzuki

 

 

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Notes

1. A tribute to the second lead singer of Can, one of MES's favorite bands. The artists that MES has expressed unqualified appreciation for over the years are relatively few, and generally, perhaps always, are acts that preceded the Fall. From memory, this category includes, aside from Can, Gene Vincent, Link Wray, Captain Beefheart, Bo Diddley, The Monks, The Velvet Underground, and The Stooges. Damo apparently liked the song (from The Wire):

A piece of latterday Can fandom resulted in Suzuki being 'immortalised' by Mark E. Smith in The Fall's "I Am Damo Suzuki", from the 1985 album This Nation's Saving Grace. What does he think of this tribute?

"When I first heard that song I thought there must be someone else called Damo Suzuki," he replies. "I never thought someone would make a song for me. I met Mark E. Smith twice after that time, when I was playing as Damo Suzuki Band. And that piece was really great. He also made a cover version of "Oh Yeah" [from Tago Mago] but in their own style."

Despite the "also," Suzuki later qualified this statement in the Fall fanzine The Pseud Mag:

The Fall did the song 'I Am Damo Suzuki', which sounds like 'Oh Yeah', but did they also record The Can song 'Oh Yeah' as a straight cover version? [I ask this because some Fall fans understood you to mean this in a previous interview, and have been looking for this straight cover version of 'Oh Yeah'.]
No, I was not that meaning they did real cover version.
They developed "Oh yeah" in thier style.
It's not only "Oh Yeah" if you hear "I'm Damo Suzuki"..much more compliation of feeling that Mark felt about me.

"Sic" for pretty much all of that.

"Oh Yeah" is indeed the song "I Am Damo Suzuki" is most obviously based on, featuring a similar drum part and vocal line. The descending changes that form the main theme of the song, however, do not come from "Oh Yeah," although they are, fittingly, a recurring pattern in Can's work, spanning several years: they first first appear on "Don't Turn the Light On" from Soundtracks, and the same descending chord figure appears in "Gomorrah," and later in "Bel Air" and "Midnight Men," and a similar pattern appears in "Hunters and Collectors." So it is a recurring theme in Can songs...

The chord progression that appears in the aforementioned Can songs is also found more or less identically in "Mark of the Mole" by the Residents from the album Assorted Secrets. See also "Old Loggerhead" by Sand (thanks to Tempertantrum from the Fall Online Forum).

MES's vocal imitates Suzuki a bit, exaggerating the Japanese accent a bit in the process, but the song is clearly intended as a tribute rather than a mockery. Reformation has helpfully reproduced the following information:

Quotes from the booklet accompanying the Omnibus edition of This Nation's Saving Grace (details above):
 
John Leckie (producer): "One of those where we did two takes and Mark liked the band on one tape but he liked his vocal better on the other. Now, on a computer you'd be able to edit that and stretch it to make it all work, so I said, 'well, all we can can do is to take the vocal off here and put it on to a piece of tape. The two takes had different arrangements, like the verse and chorus came in at different times, so the whole thing gives the impression of being completely random, but the reason being that the first take was eight bars of verse, four bars of chorus, eight bars of verse and the second take is twelve bars of verse, six bars of chorus, a different arrangement. Also Mark's standing next to Karl, so the drums are coming through the vocal mix and every time the drums stop on the first take you can hear these ambient drums going on from the vocal mix on the second take and I thought it was fantastic and so did everyone else, but a totally unconventional way of doing it."
 
Steve Hanley. "Years later I met him [Damo Suzuki] in a club in Germany. He came up to me and said 'I am Damo Suzuki'. He was aware of the track. He seemed pleased enough."
 
Dan submits:
From I am Damo Suzuki, by Suzuki and Paul Woods, Omnibus Press, 2019.p155-156:
 
The ultimate namecheck to Damo came on The Fall's 1985 LP, This Nation's Saving Grace . Its skeletal yet oddly familiar riff was overladen with wordsmith Smith's trademark northern English surrealism.

"The moment I saw this I thought, 'There must be another Damo Suzuki," recalls Damo in amusement. "That same year I had a conversation with Mark E. and his wife Brix in their hotel room until early morning. I told them I thought their song was really good fun. He wrote quite a good lyric, which is based in part on my past life and quotes a Can song called 'Oh Yeah' "

On the original Tago Mago track, the band's gently urgent riff perfectly matches Damo as he builds from his serene delivery to a whelping scream. His allusive, almost-but-not-quite English lyric sits on the edge of sexual intimacy. MES took the 'Oh Yeah' riff and overrode it with a speed-freak surrealist tribute to Can and Damo himself while throwing in an oblique reference to Fritz Leiber, one of a number of supernatural horror authors who also obsessed him.

"It's quite amazing what he made out of it," praises the man himself, "if I listen to 'I am Damo Suzuki"', I think that Mark E. Smith is the real Damo Suzuki. " Given how personal an obsession Can were to him, for a while Smith may have felt that way himself. Damo, after all, had been just a rumour, a faint outline of legend, for a long time.
Robert remembers an interview in the book Tape Delay in which MES states that Suzuki's mangled hybrid use of language was a big influence. This adds up; although there are numerous instances one could point to, for one, look at "Quit iPhone," where at some point MES seems to leave the English language, or indeed language, behind entirely...although one can never be entirely certain of such things, as Smithian diction is challenging at the best of times, particularly for us Yanks...
 
In an interview with studybees.com, MES relates an amusing anecdote about meeting Suzuki:
 
He was well into the internet before it all took off, wasn't he? Great man, such a laugh. We were on tour in Germany once and he came back to the hotel. It was just me and him. He said "Let me hear the tape of the show tonight" and I said "Oh alright then". I put this tape on and it was the wrong side of the bloody tape! And he says, "Your material certainly reminds me of CAN." He was fucking cracked, it was like the 13th Floor Elevators or something. I got on very well with him.
 
 
2. Suzuki became a Jehovah's Witness around 1974, when he got married to a woman who may have professed that faith; in any case, her mother did (submitted by Dan):
 
rom I Am Damo Suzuki by Damo Suzuki and Paul Wood (Omnibus, 2019):
 

Christianity came into Damo Suzuki's life by way of a psychedelic epiphany. The more he tripped on acid, the more he perceived a spiritual light...(p118)


and
 

"Nowadays I'm reading The Bible every day, but that began in 1971 when I met Gitta, my future wife, whose mother is a Jehovah's Witness. Their world seemed to be believing in The Bible." (p119)


and
 

"I found the truth somewhere else," Damo says of his present-day spirituality. "I am not really interested in any church and any organisation. I like to find the real truth, which is starting from The Bible - not influenced by American-established organisations." (p119)


and, on the spiritual window that was opened in the early 1970s:
 

It was a window opened for him by his mother-in-law - not, he insists, by his less spiritually devoted wife of the time. (p119)
The book notes that Gitta still gets upset when people repeat the idea that she was responsible for turning Damo away from music - that was his decision. Of course, we often hear such things said about women breaking up bands, don't we? The book says that "his wife was left entirely in the dark about his reasons for quitting." (p123).
 
 
 
Suzuki retired from music for about ten years beginning in around 1975, and this was seemingly related to his conversion. More recently, according to Suzuki

I’m a Jehovah’s Witness no more, but I believe in their God and I do believe in the Bible, which gives me a way of truth. Also, it’ll never die whilst the morals of today are changing and changing. 

^

3. Can was formed in Cologne, Germany. 
 
 
4. Dan makes an interesting and perhaps relevant connection:
 
Henry VIII, Act IV, Scene 2 (Griffith speaking): "Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtues We write in water."
 
 
5. Perhaps this an echo of "Blue Bag," which states: "Blue, blue bag, nothing you get today."
 
 
6. "Vitamin C" from 1972's Ege Bamyasi warns: "Hey you,
You’re losing, you’re losing, you’re losing, you’re losing your vitamin C!"
 
 
7. For a long time we thought this was "Western medicine," which we thought may have something to do with the Jehovah's Witnesses' beliefs about blood transfusions; they interpret the Bible as forbidding the ingestion of blood, and consequently forbid congregants to receive blood transfusions, even in emergencies. Suzuki underwent some sort of operation for cancer in 1983, and did not accept a transfusion even though he was warned that he would likely die if he did not do so.
 
But a live version, and the insistence of some readers, has convinced me that it is "Western lesson"...
 
 
8. Dan remarks:  "I don't know about the park, but Cologne's cathedral is often cited as an example of the damage that acid rain can cause to buildings."
 
Danke is a best guess, and it means "thank you" in German. For a while we had "daki," of all things. In attempting to reconcile ourselves to it, Dan pointed out that it could be a contraction of "DAmo suzuKI," but this seems unlikely, if not impossible...see comments 36-46 below for speculation, and a few comments on "acid rain." It would be nice if he said "Jaki," as in Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit, as more than one person has pointed out that that would make sense. 

^

9. I'll tell you who--Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007) was an avant-garde composer who was known for electronic and aleatoric music. "Aleatoric," incidentally, is not an English word, but is the result of a translator's error ("aleatory" means "by chance" in English). Two of the founding members of Can, Holger Czukay and Irmin Schmidt, were Stockhausen's students (Stockhausen's contemporary and fellow experimental composer, Luciano Berio [1925-2003], taught at Mills College in Oakland where two of his students were Phil Lesh and Tom Constanten of the Grateful Dead; the influence of avant-garde classical music on psychedelic music of the time would be an interesting subject to explore). 

^

10. Soundtracks is the second album by Can, and the first one Suzuki appeared on (Malcolm Mooney also sings several songs on the album). It is an album of music Can made for various movies, and the liner notes state "Can Soundtracks is the second album by the Can, but not album no. two..." Thus, the band considered Tago Mago (with Suzuki on vocals) to be the authentic follow-up to Monster Movie.  

^

11. Fritz Leiber (1910-1992) was a fantasy author. Initially a Lovecraft acolyte, Leiber became a widely influential author in his own right, coining the term "sword-and-sorcery" for the kind of stories he told. The name, without the hyphens, has become accepted terminology for the subgenre of which Robert E. Howard and Leiber are considered major founding figures. Leiber is perhaps best known for his Lanhkmar stories. MES is a reader of Leiber, but I cannot find anything to suggest Suzuki is; an obvious presumption is that the "listener" here is MES himself. 

^

12. In some incarnations of the Batman franchise, there is a villain named Scarecrow (or, on the TV series, named Shame) who uses "fear gas."

^

13. Can signed with Virgin records in 1975, a year after Suzuki left the group. Robert points out that this may be a fan's lament that the Virgin material is inferior. Also, there may be a little joke about becoming a virgin again, although "pre-Virgin" in this case would have to be prior to birth or something, so maybe not...

^

14. I am not sure about the brass evil.



The lyrics pun on "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle is the Hand That Rules the World," an 1865 poem by WIlliam Ross Wallace that extols motherhood:

BLESSINGS on the hand of women! 
        Angels guard its strength and grace. 
      In the palace, cottage, hovel, 
          Oh, no matter where the place; 
      Would that never storms assailed it, 
          Rainbows ever gently curled, 
      For the hand that rocks the cradle 
          Is the hand that rules the world.

It goes on like that.

And from "Diamond Mine" by Higher Elevation, "The hand that cradles the rock/Can certainly roll the world" (thanks to maleslate from the Fall online forum).

And Darrg makes a suggestion; I have never seen or heard of this, but it may be relevant:

"'The rock that was an egg' bit might be a reference to Monkey, the late 70s/early 80s Japanese TV show (based on a 16th century novel by Wu Ch'eng-En) about the mischevious Monkey-god who was 'born from a [stone] egg on a mountaintop' (as the theme tune tells us; Darrg added "stone" in brackets, as the book and TV series specify that this was the type of egg from which Monkey was hatched). The series had quite a following in the UK, where the characters' voices were dubbed by Brit actors using broad mock-oriental accents. Perhaps MES was reminded of this school of dubbing by his own attempts to emulate Damo Suzuki."

^

15. Does MES's Damo Suzuki come off a bit like a paranoid crank? I am not sure how much of this relfects the latter's character, and how much that of the former...I don't mean to suggest that MES is himself a paranoid crank, but he does seem to consistently get a kick out of paranoid crankitude.

Dan says:

Having read I Am Damo Suzuki, his biography, I think "paranoid crank" would be a not entirely kind but not entirely inaccurate description of Damo.

His views will have changed a bit since the 1980s, but probably not radically. 

MES, of course, did not know Damo when he wrote the song.

^

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More Information

Comments (74)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 18/04/2015
"Recipe for fear gas"

Could be a Batman reference?

http://batman.wikia.com/wiki/Fear_Gas

Dan
dannyno
  • 2. dannyno | 05/06/2015
"The park alight with acid rain"

I don't know about the park, but Cologne's cathedral is often cited as an example of the damage that acid rain can cause to buildings.
Antoine
  • 3. Antoine | 27/12/2015
Recipe for fear gas, amount of salt ash, I put by cup of meine fire, okay - today it struck me as if he's got those two items sitting by his cup of firewater/whisky. Paints a nice pitcure with the previous lines if we agree Smith is the listener, listening to Can while he reads Fritz Lieber with a whisky alongside a fear gas recipe and "salt ash" on his coffee table.

Incidentally, salt ash turns up nothing on Google but a town in cornwall, which I'm sure many folks have googled, but it's interesting that the town's name is derived from "ash tree by the salt mill," which sounds very Smith-y and also vaguely ties in to Blake via the mill...
bzfgt
  • 4. bzfgt | 27/12/2015
Yeah good, I think meine fire is booze for sure, what else? But I'm struggling to make it all come into focus, not that your comment isn't cogent, just a little impressionistic but I feel like there may be more there for us adumbrated in your words. Someday. It is very late which is why I sound almost nonsensical here....sorry.
Robert
  • 5. Robert | 27/11/2016
"Ain't got no time for Western medicine"

Live versions make it clear this is "Western lesson".

Years ago I skimmed through the book "Tape Delay," which contains an interview with MES. The one thing I've always remembered was him saying that one of his greatest inspirations was Suzuki's mangling of language, from not knowing English/German so well at the time.
bzfgt
  • 6. bzfgt | 21/12/2016
Crap, I always liked it as "Western Medicine" because this is funny to me, that's a phrase a lot of alterno-types contemptuously use, and it makes more sense in the context of talking about "Vitamin C". I will have to listen to some versions and see what there is to be seen, the studio version could certainly be either one.
dannyno
  • 7. dannyno | 23/12/2016
I've always heard "medicine". What, though, is a "western lesson"? Is it a short course in cowboy movies?
bzfgt
  • 8. bzfgt | 27/12/2016
Right, the former makes sense, the latter does not. The former is funny, the latter is not. The former fits the context, the latter does not. So, it will take a really good bit of evidence, aural or otherwise, to make me change it, but it is now in the crosshairs.
harleyr
  • 9. harleyr | 28/12/2016
For what it's worth, I took 'western lesson' to be a shorthand for 'western philosophy' or 'western way of life'. So I do think that makes sense. Whether or not it is what he is singing, I won't comment.
bzfgt
  • 10. bzfgt | 04/01/2017
Yeah, my comment was a bit strong; one could fairly easily make sense of it, but it's not something that makes sense without a little interpretive elbow grease.
bzfgt
  • 11. bzfgt | 04/01/2017
Also if anyone has a specific live version that makes "lesson" clear, I will check it out (although that still wouldn't necessarily mean the studio version is "lesson").
Robert
  • 12. Robert | 23/01/2017
Studio version sounds clearly like "western lesson" to me throughout.

Context for this (in my mind) is related to the MES interview I mentioned above: Damo ain't got time to learn any English... but he's gonna go ahead and sing in that language anyway.
Robert
  • 13. Robert | 23/01/2017
In the live version from 13.2.1987 (on YouTube) MES very clearly enunciates "lesson".
dannyno
  • 14. dannyno | 29/01/2017
Hm. Just thinking about "Westerns", of course Can did the soundtrack for Deadlock...
bzfgt
  • 15. bzfgt | 04/02/2017
"Western lesson"is an odd way thing to call an English lesson...I am going to listen to the live version now, though, and stranger things have been sung.

Now my adblock is completely turned off and this stupid anti-spam thing still says its on and i have to keep refreshing it. Anyone know how to deal with this?
bzfgt
  • 16. bzfgt | 04/02/2017
OK, first time through on 1987 sounds more like "Western Medicine" to me, but I don't trust myself. Will someone else please check this?
bzfgt
  • 17. bzfgt | 04/02/2017
Ho! He clearly says "Western Lesson" at 5:18! Clearly! Damn it, I don't like that nearly as much.

EXCEPT, he might be saying "lesser," as with "Lesser European" in the next line...fuck, what now...
bbzztgf
  • 18. bbzztgf | 04/02/2017
Crap, that's a waste of a damn good note about blood transfusions...I left a tiny bit in. I should have copied the rest and saved it on a Word document in case it ever changes back...
Robert
  • 19. Robert | 05/02/2017
"Western lesson" is an odd way thing to call an English lesson

Granted, but 1) This is from the point of view of a Japanese character... and 2) This is far from the only time MES has used an odd phrase to describe something.
dannyno
  • 20. dannyno | 05/02/2017
Well, I guess we have to buy "Western lesson". I'm less convinced by the interpretation that it's about English lessons.

Robert, above, recalls the "Tape Delay" MES interview. But what MES says there isn't that Damo had no time to learn English (in fact it's fairly clear MES doesn't know Damo at the time) :


He wasn't even singing lyrics in fact, he didn't even know what he was singing, the Japanese guy, he was just like, he was learning English, and he was just saying words, you know?
Robert
  • 21. Robert | 06/02/2017
what MES says there isn't that Damo had no time to learn English

It's right there in the quote you posted! He doesn't know the language but that's not going to stop him being the (influencial) singer.

I don't read the lyric entirely as "English lessons" ... more that Damo isn't going to do things (including singing) the normal way.

Calling him "the Japanese guy" there belies the fact that MES has been a Can fan since the 70s (he has mentioned going to see them back then). He would have known of Damo well enough at the time of that interview (mid-80s iirc).
dannyno
  • 22. dannyno | 08/02/2017
Er, the quote says he was "learning English", not that he wasn't!!! My point isn't that he was a fluent speaker.

"I've got no time" can mean two things. It can mean you literally don't have time (and of course you can learn English without going to formal classes), or it can mean you are impatient or dismissive or scornful of the very idea. i.e. the difference between saying "I haven't got time to learn English" and "I've no time for people who think I should learn English", kind of thing.

Anyway, I agree that it's "Western" something and that it signifies a desire to do something differently.
dannyno
  • 23. dannyno | 08/02/2017
Oh, and my point wasn't that MES didn't know who Damo was - obviously he was a longtime Can fan . My point was about whether when the interview was conducted MES knew or had met Damo personally.
Robert
  • 24. Robert | 08/02/2017
"I've no time for people who think I should learn English", kind of thing

Yes! This is the meaning I was trying to get across.
bzfgt
  • 25. bzfgt | 11/02/2017
"2) This is far from the only time MES has used an odd phrase to describe something."

This claim is irrefutable. I suppose if he didn't we'd all be out of a job...
bzfgt
  • 26. bzfgt | 11/02/2017
Right, I agree "got no time" seems to imply Danny's second meaning. And it seems certain that "lesson" is what he's singing now, disappointing as it may be to we fans of naturopathy or whatever. Also the JW abhorrence of transfusions was a nice connection. But here at Annotated Fall we take an objective view of such things.

However, I understand Dan's hesitance, I am not 100% convinced he never said "medicine." But if he did, the studio version isn't going to help, another live version would be needed to restore a "medicine" or two.
Robert
  • 27. Robert | 11/02/2017
An additional minor note:

May we go back to days pre-Virgin

Smith here perhaps refering not just to Damo having left Can, but also to the widely-held opinion that their Virgin (and later) records were inferior.
dannyno
  • 28. dannyno | 14/04/2017
"brass evil"

Shakespeare. Henry VIII, Act IV, Scene 2 (Griffith speaking):


Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtues
We write in water.


Tenuous, but interesting.
bzfgt
  • 29. bzfgt (link) | 13/05/2017
Solid enough to print, I think it's a good connection. Even if it isn't conscious it's a good connection.
bzfgt
  • 30. bzfgt (link) | 13/05/2017
I was just thinking--we share a lot of sensibilities and views on what's relevant, what songwriting is and is not, the role of annotation and interpretation, etc. If we didn't, it would be pretty rough, with the amount we work on this together!
dannyno
  • 31. dannyno | 13/05/2017
Yeah, I think so. We don't always agree, but we don't fight about it if we don't.
dannyno
  • 32. dannyno | 13/05/2017
"brass evil"

I was following up my Shakespeare citation, and found an annotation on that line drawing attention to a Latin motto: Scribit in marmore laesus. "The injured man writes in marble". Also found in the form "In vento scribit laedens, in marmore laesus": Legends are written in the wind, betrayals in marble. "Laesus" can mean "hurt", "injury" and "betrayal" etc. "laedens" seems to literally mean "striking" - so something significant.

There's also a quote from Sir John Har(r)ington's translation of Ludovico Ariosto's "Orlando Furioso" (1st ed 1591):

Men say it, and we see it come to pass,
Good turns in sand, shrewd turns are writ in brass


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orlando_Furioso

https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/ariostos-orlando-furioso-in-english-1591

https://zsr.wfu.edu/2016/orlando-furioso-in-english-heroical-verse-by-sir-john-harington-1607/

See also Beaumont and Fletcher's "Philaster". "Philaster" probably predates Henry VIII, which Shakespeare wrote in collaboration with Fletcher.


If you aim
At the dear life of this sweet innocent,
You are a tyrant and a savage monster,
That feeds upon the blood you gave a life to; 88
Your memory shall be as foul behind you,
As you are living; all your better deeds
Shall be in water writ, but this in marble...


http://www.bartleby.com/47/3/53.html
bzfgt
  • 33. bzfgt (link) | 18/05/2017
"We don't always agree, but we don't fight about it if we don't."

Well yeah, that's of course the most important thing. Although maybe we should fight a little, maybe it'll give us an edge...but I don't really mean we're collegial, it's just that in a few kind of abstract ways we kind of share a view of things.
bzfgt
  • 34. bzfgt (link) | 18/05/2017
"Also found in the form "In vento scribit laedens, in marmore laesus": Legends are written in the wind, betrayals in marble."

That sounds really familiar, not just that I've seen it before, but that I've seen it recently....no idea where though.

....actually maybe a fantasy novel, which makes sense...
bzfgt
  • 35. bzfgt (link) | 18/05/2017
Ha! Actually I think it was your comment 28, that clears it right up!
marc balance
  • 36. marc balance | 23/06/2017
the park alight with acid rain
give it to me ???? everyday

'the park alight with acid rain’ might be the park around castle nörvenich, which was home of CAN’s first recording studio and where Monster Movie, Can Soundtracks, and Tago Mago have been recorded.

'give it to me daki (?) every day' ... daki is japanese 'indolence'. listened to various live- versions (the one from the hamburg markthalle is quiet interesting) and at least quiet sure it's not 'jaki'...
dannyno
  • 37. dannyno | 23/06/2017
Schloss Nörvenich seems to built out of sandstone. Any indication it or its surroundings were particularly affected by acid rain?

There is the Can song "She Brings the Rain", which probably isn't significant.

re: "daki". Yeah, I'm hearing "daki" now as well. "Daki" could be a contraction of "Damo Suzuki", of course.
dannyno
  • 38. dannyno | 23/06/2017
I think "daki" was what the lyrics parade had originally, wasn't it?
dannyno
  • 39. dannyno | 24/06/2017
"Daki" does seem according to some sources to mean "indolence". But in the word "dakimakura" (抱き literally "hug pillow" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dakimakura) "daki" translates as "embrace", "cling" or "hug".

抱 will translate therefore as "huggable" or "holding" in Google Translate and babelfish.com

See also: http://jisho.org/search/%23kanji%20%E6%8A%B1

And in the Japanese phrase "ikki/ita dakimasu" is the equivalent of something like "bon appetit" - an embrace or a giving of thanks for receiving food. Which in the context of "give it to me... every day" seems to sort of fit, doesn't it? I mean, either in the "hugging" sense, or in the "bon appetit" sense. Maybe there's also a sexual sense.
dannyno
  • 40. dannyno | 24/06/2017
Sorry, "Dakimakura" is 抱き枕. "Daki" is 抱き.

According to https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E3%81%8D, "ki" might mean "can" or "container", which is interesting. Google Translate translates き as "can". But I guess Japanese characters can represent a number of things in different contexts.

See also: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E6%8A%B1
dannyno
  • 41. dannyno | 24/06/2017
This is helpful: http://jisho.org/search/daki
dannyno
  • 43. dannyno | 24/06/2017
http://www.kanjijapanese.com translates "daki" as "listlessness" and "indolence" and "daku" as "embrace" and "hug", but clearly context is all, and as noted above other translation sources say different. I think the "embrace"/"hug" sense seems to fit better in context, and possibly "daki" is a shorted form of itadakimasu or other relevant phrase that he heard or misheard.

We need a Japanese speaker to help us with the idiomatic senses, maybe?
dannyno
  • 44. dannyno | 24/06/2017
Just to nail the point home, I find it interesting that "itadakimasu" could be understood as a polite way of saying "give it to me" - "I'll take it" / "I humbly receive your offering". No?
marc balance
  • 45. marc balance | 24/06/2017
cool! no native speaker at hand, unfortunately. try this version please https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxsQkWwFK3g (at app. 2:02) .. here it sounds something like 'daki-ua' so really close to 'dakimakura' .... excellent research in japanese language sir..

this acid rain thingy... I remeber acid rain was one of the big topics in the first half of the 80's, at least in western europe...
on the other hand: 'alight with acid rain' - (as a possible result of dropping acid) just a word-play on a psychedelic experience?
dannyno
  • 46. dannyno | 25/06/2017
Marc balance, comment #45

Acid rain: see my comment #2, and note #8. Acid rain was definitely a thing, and we don't need to take the notion that it was setting fire to the park literally.

I listened to the youtube thing, and I'm not hearing "daki-ua", or not as a word. I think what you're hearing is just his accent.
bzfgt
  • 47. bzfgt (link) | 09/07/2017
It almost sounds like "give it to me, Pappy" there!
duncandisorderly
  • 48. duncandisorderly (link) | 01/09/2017
"daki"??

it's clearly "jaki". can's drummer, sadly no longer with us.

I've done a couple of gigs with damo & had him round for tea. he loves a spliff, so he does.
dannyno
  • 49. dannyno | 01/09/2017
duncandisorderly: it's not clearly "jaki" at all. It sounds like "daki". You're right that it might be supposed to be "jaki", and maybe MES just got the name wrong, but what he sings doesn't sound like "jaki" to me and we probably shouldn't make assumptions.
bzfgt
  • 50. bzfgt (link) | 07/10/2017
Yes "Jaki" is what makes sense, I wish that's what it sounded like...
bzfgt
  • 51. bzfgt (link) | 07/10/2017
Quite right though that "Jaki" should be mentioned in the notes, as that may be what this is a permutation of and in any case it would make sense; added to note 8.
Robert
  • 52. Robert | 22/10/2017
Just discovered something interesting. On YouTube there is a live version from 16 October 1985 at the Pink Toothbrush in Rayleigh... and there he seems to sing "Give it to me thank you every day".

So it struck me... is it possible that in the recorded and other live versions he is saying "danke" there?
bzfgt
  • 53. bzfgt (link) | 18/11/2017
This may be controversial but I think that's what he is saying.
bzfgt
  • 54. bzfgt (link) | 18/11/2017
I think that's what he says and I'm running with it. On second look it may not be controversial as no one seems to have had a strong conviction, except as to whether it was or was not "Jaki."
dannyno
  • 55. dannyno | 03/06/2018
From John Doran in the Quietus:

http://thequietus.com/articles/05559-this-nations-saving-grace-the-fall

Listen to 'I Am Damo Suzuki'... a song that marries the drum beat of one Can song ('Oh Yeah'') to the bass line from another Can song ('Don't Turn The Light On, Leave Me Alone') with lyrics replete with references to other Can songs ('Vitamin C' etc) and Can albums (Soundtracks etc)


And Rob Young's All Gates Open: The Story of Can (with Irmin Schmidt), includes this assessment of I Am Damo Suzuki:

The track was a shambolic riff on Can’s familiar descending four-chord trademark, although in execution all the instruments never quite managed to get in sync.
Darrg
  • 56. Darrg | 12/12/2018
'The rock that was an egg' bit might be a reference to 'Monkey', the late 70s/early 80s Japanese TV show (based on a 16th century novel by Wu Ch'eng-En) about the mischevious Monkey-god who was 'born from a [stone] egg on a mountaintop' (as the theme tune tells us). The series had quite a following the the UK, where the characters' voices were dubbed by Brit actors using broad mock-oriental accents. Perhaps MES was reminded of this school of dubbing by his own attempts to emulate Damo Suzuki.
bzfgt
  • 57. bzfgt (link) | 19/01/2019
Hmm, that's intriguing Darrg...I will put a little reference in I think although I don't know what I'm sayijg having never seen it so I guess I'll just quote you.

Dan: nothing there we don't have already really, but good to be complete and put that stuff down here
bzfgt
  • 58. bzfgt (link) | 19/01/2019
Is the theme song in English? If so, did you insert "stone"? If not, where did you get the translation?
dannyno
  • 59. dannyno | 19/01/2019
Comment #58. I used to watch Monkey too.

Here's the opening theme and narration - was indeed translated:



It's a plausible reference.
bzfgt
  • 60. bzfgt (link) | 26/01/2019
OK, cool. Very cool theme song! If anyone wants more on this, write it more in the form of a finished note, as I don't know anything about it and thus cannot speculate and water and grow the seeds you here so..
bzfgt
  • 61. bzfgt (link) | 26/01/2019
sow
Darrg
  • 62. Darrg | 12/02/2019
I inserted 'stone' because it is not in the translated lyric, but the narrative of the series (and the original book) tells of how the Monkey was hatched from a stone egg. If I remember rightly, the narrator says it in the opening sequence before the theme music kicks off.
dannyno
  • 63. dannyno | 31/03/2019
From I am Damo Suzuki, by Suzuki and Paul Woods, Omnibus Press, 2019.p155-156:

The ultimate namecheck to Damo came on The Fall's 1985 LP, This Nation's Saving Grace . Its skeletal yet oddly familiar riff was overladen with wordsmith Smith's trademark northern English surrealism.

"The moment I saw this I thought, 'There must be another Damo Suzuki," recalls Damo in amusement. "That same year I had a conversation with Mark E. and his wife Brix in their hotel room until early morning. I told them I thought their song was really good fun. He wrote quite a good lyric, which is based in part on my past life and quotes a Can song called 'Oh Yeah' "

On the original Tago Mago track, the band's gently urgent riff perfectly matches Damo as he builds from his serene delivery to a whelping scream. His allusive, almost-but-not-quite English lyric sits on the edge of sexual intimacy. MES took the 'Oh Yeah' riff and overrode it with a speed-freak surrealist tribute to Can and Damo himself while throwing in an oblique reference to Fritz Leiber, one of a number of supernatural horror authors who also obsessed him.

"It's quite amazing what he made out of it," praises the man himself, "if I listen to 'I am Damo Suzuki"', I think that Mark E. Smith is the real Damo Suzuki. " Given how personal an obsession Can were to him, for a while Smith may have felt that way himself. Damo, after all, had been just a rumour, a faint outline of legend, for a long time.
dannyno
  • 64. dannyno | 01/04/2019
Note that Damo's memory is incorrect. He did not meet MES for the first time in 1985, the year of the release of This Nation's Saving Grace, but in Bonn in April 1988. See research here: https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/thefall/the-fall-in-non-fall-books-t21796-s812.html
dannyno
  • 66. dannyno | 01/04/2019
Although, "the moment I saw this" need not mean 1985, need it? Maybe Damo didn't come across the record or mention of the record until it was rereleased on CD in 1988.
dannyno
  • 67. dannyno | 04/04/2019
From I Am Damo Suzuki by Damo Suzuki and Paul Wood (Omnibus, 2019, p.92):


'Vitamin C' epitomises Damo's rise from vocal tranquility to mania - losing your vitamin C being an urgent situation, when that substance was seen as a corrective to a bad trip.
dannyno
  • 68. dannyno | 04/04/2019
Stockhausen's intervention apparently helped secure the release of Damo Suzuki from prison and prevented his deportation.
dannyno
  • 69. dannyno | 05/04/2019
From I Am Damo Suzuki by Damo Suzuki and Paul Wood (Omnibus, 2019):


Christianity came into Damo Suzuki's life by way of a psychedelic epiphany. The more he tripped on acid, the more he perceived a spiritual light...(p118)


and


"Nowadays I'm reading The Bible every day, but that began in 1971 when I met Gitta, my future wife, whose mother is a Jehovah's Witness. Their world seemed to be believing in The Bible." (p119)


and


"I found the truth somewhere else," Damo says of his present-day spirituality. "I am not really interested in any church and any organisation. I like to find the real truth, which is starting from The Bible - not influenced by American-established organisations." (p119)


and, on the spiritual window that was opened in the early 1970s:


It was a window opened for him by his mother-in-law - not, he insists, by his less spiritually devoted wife of the time. (p119)


The book notes that Gitta still gets upset when people repeat the idea that she was responsible for turning Damo away from music - that was his decision. Of course, we often hear such things said about women breaking up bands, don't we? The book says that "his wife was left entirely in the dark about his reasons for quitting." (p123).

The book confirms that in 1983, Damo was diagnosed with cancer. And he did refuse a transfusion.
dannyno
  • 70. dannyno | 09/04/2019
Note 15 :having read "I am Damo Suzuki", his biography, I think "paranoid crank" would be a not entirely kind but not entirely inaccurate description of Damo.

His views will have changed a bit since the 1980s, but probably not radically.

MES, of course, did not know Damo when he wrote the song.
bzfgt
  • 71. bzfgt (link) | 27/04/2019
"Stockhausen's intervention apparently helped secure the release of Damo Suzuki from prison and prevented his deportation."

Yeah that story is in all Gates Open too. Anyway here are more reasons I was happy with "Western Medicine." But if he doesn't say it, he doesn't say it.
bzfgt
  • 72. bzfgt (link) | 27/04/2019
I keep forgetting to delete those dead links to The Story of the Fall....this is going to take longer than "Danny" (although I suppose I can find them all much more quickly)...
bzfgt
  • 73. bzfgt (link) | 27/04/2019
Damn it, Pseud Mag links now read "Invision has Now Closed"
bzfgt
  • 74. bzfgt (link) | 27/04/2019
Could have requested it be restored for 6 months after last August...missed it by that much, as Max Smart says

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