Lol Tolhurst (e-The Cure) and Budgie (ex-Siouxsie and the Banshees) teamed up with legendary indie-rock producer Jacknife Lee to release a special digital meditation, Los Angeles with title. Anyone who thinks that the project of the two drummers sounded like something coming from the sound system of a hearse is very wrong, because the album is closer to industrial rave than, say, to the tinkling, skull-headed jewelry box of goth-rock.
Or should we rather say that this could be the gothic electronica that teleports the post-punk with a dark effect from the rain-soaked London to the sunny Los Angeles?
This city is a distant planet
One thing is for sure: on the album, A-list guests build a special tourist brand from Los Angeles, such as James Murphy, the frontman of LCD Soundsystem, The Edge, the guitarist of U2, Bobby Gillespie, the singer of Primal Scream, and Isaac Brock, the singer of Modest Mouse.
Budgie and Lol Tolhurst first met in 1979 when the Cure were opening for Siouxsie And The Banshees. Four decades later, they decided to record the infernal rhythm of suntan lotion-scented Los Angeles. The best thing would have been if Bauhaus drummer Kevin Haskins had stayed in the project.
If the drummer would allow it
Yes, it would have been really unreal to have three dark-rock drummers get together and do something. But just then, Haskins started a nostalgia tour with Bauhaus, so he dropped out of the sessions.
To make the whole thing even more unreal, we will reveal: the work on the album began in the home studio of Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee.
Pamela Anderson’s ex-husband must have been familiar with the rain-soaked world of dark-rock icons with wide eyes. Ice must have popped out of his whiskey and the tattoo on his chest faded when he heard brutalist big beats and futuristic krautrock effects.
The work on the album started even before the Covid epidemic, but the instrumental sessions never took shape, so Tolhurst asked James Murphy, known from LCD Soundsystem, to do some vocals for the demos.
And there was no stopping from there, Lonnie Holley, Mary Lattimore and The Edge from U2 arrived to add an entry to the dystopian lexicon of Los Angeles. THE This Is What It Is (To Be Free) the opening composition entitled Bobby Gillespie’s guest vocals are enhanced. Even then, it becomes apparent that even though the record is full of imprint-like effects and acoustic instruments, everything is drowned out by the noisy tribal drums and the electronics that evoke the world of science fiction.
Escape to Los Angeles
Tolhurst and Budgie gave the contributors a free hand, the guests wrote the lyrics (Train With No Stationt, except for what Tolhurst wrote together with his son), yet the album, which is not a concept album, has a unified sound image and a coherent world.
This is the story of a city that everyone tells differently.
Tolhurst has lived in Los Angeles for more than 30 years, moving there at a low point in his life, and so did Budgie when he divorced Siouxsie. Both of them were accommodated by one of the largest agglomerations in the world, they felt that the instead of healing and redemption arrived, and they didn’t have a problem with Murphy singing in the title track that L.A. eats its children and that all L.A. needs are guns.
THE Los Angeles a free and creative excursion that started with the art-rock sessions of Budgie and Tolhurst. They gave these to their friends to interpret as they wanted, add what they wanted, and then the protagonists adjusted it all in the end.
Together with their invited friends, these upright Brits try to connect with Los Angeles, harness its turbulent spiritual energies, everything that is unique to this city. In the title track, Murphy also sings about not needing the atmosphere of Los Angeles. Maybe, but this atmosphere is what the strangest project of the year is about.
Lol Tolhurst, Budgie, and Jacknife Lee: Los Angeles
55 minutes, 13 songs