Lol Tolhurst x Budgie x Jacknife Lee is a demonym Los Angelean supergroup comprised of Laurence “Lol” Tolhurst (previous drummer for The Cure), Peter Edward (Budgie) Clarke (drummer for Siouxsie and the Banshees), and Jacknife Lee (producer for Taylor Swift, R.E.M., and U2). The x between their names suggestive of the multiplicative nature of their freshly intertwined relationships.
“Los Angeles“, their initial release, is a star-studded post-punk foray into our collective utopian/dystopian, Californian (and all-American) dream. It is to post-punk what “To Pimp a Butterfly” was to hip-hop, both being full-body experiential immersions, but where Kendrick Lamar painted a polarizing and poignant portrayal of black America, theirs is instead a multifaceted black celebration of life, delivered in post-punk street graffiti of the highest order.
The group would bolster their individual skillsets by featuring other noteworthy musicians including U2’s The Edge, Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie, Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock, and (in this case) blissfully psycho-sexy, and appropriately named, Arrow de Wilde of Starcrawler paired with decidedly edgy guitarist Mark Bowen of IDLES fame.
Tolhurst elaborated, “We asked Mark Bowen from IDLES to put some guitar on it and what we got was sonic destruction design courtesy of the dentist. Then Arrow de Wilde added her brand of mayhem and we ended up with something that proudly displays its punk roots.” Later he added, “(He) has such a distinctive way of making noise. He delivered something quite extraordinary that gave us a whole new perspective on the song. It was both violent and oddly dancey. It had a wildness to it that was pointing directly to the attitude and swagger of Arrow de Wilde. “Uh Oh’ is NOT like anything else – It has one of those beats!‘”
When MOWNO asked Budgie about the rhythmic choices made for the album, he responded, “So everything was easy. No rules, no distribution of roles. This prevents you from immediately switching your brain from creative to analytical mode. Taking long takes helps too. By constantly recording, chances are you’ll get stuck in that creative zone and not engage in the questioning part. And there is liberation. Don’t talk, keep making music, unless it’s going nowhere. And then, only after that, take a break with the musicians. It’s my trade secret, and everyone is going to do it now (laughs).“
And thusly the darkness ensues with not one, but two beat masters crushing their respective skins behind Arrow de Wilde’s eerily dancey depiction of “lascivious Hollywood cynicism“, chillingly angular, skeletal and tribal. Tolhurst and Budgie embody their x in a synergistically rhythmic duel with apparent designs to reawaken the dead for a gala redux ala danse macabre. The whole, a passionate black-letter ritual cleverly produced by Jacknife, the third x, culminating in a gothically tinged post-punk industrial tour de force. The devil must be hiding in the details.
Tolhurst and Budgie host the (inside-music) podcast, Curious Creatures
All unnamed quotes herein are the woefully, but surely unintentionally, pilfered property of Lol Tolhurst, esteemed author of “Goth: A History“
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