Was it 1990? Man, those days are a blur and I honestly don’t remember. But there was this ugly 12″ single on the wall at the record shop in the haight I used to hang out at with this hippie sitar looking blurry dude on the cover. the tail end of the 80’s was another complete musical renaissance for me, personally, and I was feeling acid house, the happy mondays, soul II soul, and anything goes. So I grabbed it and listened to it. Laughed my ass off, and loved it to pieces.
Turns out the horror of Bobby Gillespie predated this single too. There was talk of his having been a member of the Jesus and Mary Chain who had somehow managed to turn up on MTV by then, and while that put me right off them, they really were a charming, dirty little pop band at first and so this gave a little credibility to the single. I bought it. I brought it home. Soon it multiplied into a set of singles, and a sound which my household (yes… the dubtribe house) loved, but didn’t hear anywhere. We even went to see Paul Oakenfold DJ in hopes of him playing anything resembling these heady, tripped out 98 bpm remixes of the Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, and now Primal Scream he’d been blowing our minds with. He played trance (what a surprise) but we waited until the last record in hopes of him flipping the script and laying some space on us. He didn’t.
As was true in those days, by the time Primal Scream made it over the puddle to perform in San Francisco (by rights the city they should have begun in) they’d released an entire album (Screamadelica) and the edited versions featured a formula which had already totally let us down. But that didn’t stop us from going to check it out.
No one was ready for Bobbie Gillespie. Holy crap what a piece of work. This amazingly thin little spaz of a dude with a bowl cut and a big huge band that made you kind of half close your eyes and chuckle to look at, but when he opened his mouth and started belting out “Don’t call me nigger” it erupted into pure chaotic euphoria. They were amazing.