5 lessons the Mekons taught us – what the punk pioneers gave the world
There are still tickets available for Mekonville. Check the site: https://www.mekonville.co.uk
Mekonville, the festival celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Mekons takes place on 28th – 29th – 30th of July in Suffolk. Not only will the present line up of the former art school band perform, the first line up will take stage too. And besides that many musical friends and artists will be present. For example Bonnie Prince Billy wil perform. And Eton Crop from Amsterdam. The band has been hugely influenced by the Mekons. Singer / guitarist Erwin Blom writes about the 5 lessons the Mekons taught Eton Crop.
5 lessons the Mekons taught us
- Be creative. Good music doesn’t have to be about technical skills. It’s about creativity, about ideas, about being different. The Mekons were an art school band that – influenced by punk – picked up their instruments without being proper musicians. But because of that, they weren’t hindered by rules and regulations. They didn’t know what they were supposed to do. That made them original. Looking back some of the most original music from those days came from like minded artists like The Raincoats and The Slits. And listen to Existentialism, the latest great album of the Mekons album. Of course, they can play now. They can play really well. But they’re still as original as ever. There’s only one Mekons.
- Be open. Their debut album is still one of our all time favorites but the second album Devils, Rats & Piggies is the one that influenced us most. That album showed us to dare to do different stuff. Pick up instruments you’ve never played before, use playful recording techniques, experiment! Be open to what’s around you. That goes for the music genres as well. When the Mekons started incorporating country influences, that wasn’t a terrain we were familiar with. But like in every genre, there’s great stuff to be found in country. And since those days, the violin has been a friend of us! With Eton Crop, later on, we started incorporating house and hip-hop influences, those are genres the Mekons never touched. But then again, listen to This Sporting Life ….
- Be personal. Punk was political. Punk was anti establishment. And that was good. That was important. Like it is important again to stand up against the forces of evil. But the Mekons showed us that not only the big issues are important. The personal stuff matters as well. Love, relationships, the important things close to home. Personal politics. The Mekons have been making tunes that touch us for 40 years now.
- Be involved. Even when their songs weren’t political, the Mekons have always been involved with the world around them. They played Rock Against Racism, Anti-Fascist Action and miners strike benefits for example. As an artist you’re a part of the world around you. Let your voice be heard, take a stand. The Mekons do.
- Be independent. The Mekons have created their own world. They haven’t reached the masses their music deserves. But they’ve kept on doing what they believe in and where they’re good at. As an independent collective of musicians, along the way they have influenced and moved so many people. And isn’t that the most beautiful thing you can do as an artist? So thanks a lot for being there, Mekons!
The Mekons. Watch and listen to their Peel Sessions, their clips, their live recordings: https://mekons.vimsy.co/