It is time that I quote ‘the usual suspect’ (www.allmusic.com, that is to say). “After 25 years together, this band, with an ever-shifting lineup (only Jon Langford and Tom Greenhalgh remain from the original lineup), has produced some of the best rock & roll on the planet; be it amateurish rock-noise, cool synth-driven pop, guitar rave-ups, or postmodern country & western, the Mekons have done it all and done it with style, grace, and a ribald sense of humor.”, in an exact re-production of John Dougan’s words.
‘Never Been in a Riot’, a satirical take on the well-known Clash-song ‘White Riot’ is the Mekons’ fist single. Langford (who started out as the drummer, but later switched to the guitar) founded his first side project to the Mekons circa 1982, with the Three Johns. Three Johns (Langford, John Hyatt, Philip ‘John’ Brennan, aided by a drum machine) specialized in abrasive, politically-fueled, danceable rock. The Three Johns will continue until the early ’90s. It is then when Langford relocates to Chicago. For the eyes of a beautiful Greek American lady…
In Chicago, our Jonboy pieced together the underground country-punk group the Waco Brothers. Langford having become friends with Bloodshot Records co-founder Rob Miller, the Wacos recorded their debut album for the label, in the year 1995. Bloodshot and the Wacos will remain faithful to each other until now. The excellent ‘Freedom and Weep’ (2006) is a record that deserves to be on the company’s acclaimed catalogue. Also are active the Waco Brothers’ brothers: The Pine Valley Cosmonauts, a moniker for excursions into performing and honoring music written by others, kinda collective of musicians. Over the years, Jonboy has enjoyed the cooperation of many musicians, guesting on numerous recordings, including sessions with Dutch punk pioneers The Ex, plus Austin, Texas local legend Alexandro Escovedo. This unstoppable man has also found enough time to record joint albums with Sally Timms and Richard Buckner.
It feels as a good time to interview Langford, because –apart from the Waco’s ‘Freedom and Weep’- he has a new solo album out (on the historical Roir Records). It’s called ‘Gold Brick’. As if those were not enough, ‘Nashville Radio: Art, Words, and Music’, a book + cd collection of his artwork and writings plus his performing 18 of the printed songs appears in 2006.
So, Langford is as extremely busy as he’s always been, producing records, designing record covers, taking care of his own paintings and sketches, organizing his regular anti-death penalty public actions, and being one of the hosts of a weekly radio show, called ‘The Eclectic Company’, that airs on WXRT 93.1 FM in Chicago. May his creativity never stops!
It’s such an honor that Jon Langford wrote us his answers to our blog’s questions (in the next post). Check them out for yourselves. They’re honest statements of an honest man.