poison to the mind


Dave the dope fiend, shooting dope

When Tricky came to Australia in the wake of Maxinquaye, it might have been his first proper tour, and was almost definitely his first big chunk of dates outside of the UK. Martina was solidly entrenched in the co-vocalist position at the time, but surprisingly, rather than sing over tapes or do a sound-system-type thing with a DJ, he'd hired a bunch of professional (white) session blokeys to be a backing band. They were capable, too - about a third of the set was Maxinquaye material, another third was (often skeletal) versions of songs that would end up on Pre-Millennium Tension, but the final third seemed to be pretty much improvised. Tricky's only animated moments would come when he approached a bassist or keyboard player, dancing in front of them, geeing them up, giving them cues until he felt inspired to freestyle (at one point Mike Watt - in the country with Porno for Pyros - even came out and jammed. "Is there a My Quott in the house?!" I heard as Tricky's exhortations before Watt emerged).

The rest of the time he either clung to the mike with his eyes screwed tight, repeatedly asking for the lights to be lowered (by the end of the show, the only illumination onstage came from the exit door light in the wings), or headed back to the drum riser and shadow-boxed while Martina sang or the band played. Except for one time, where he took the mic back with him and sat on the edge of the riser, head in hand, and began declaiming the lyrics to Slick Rick's "Children's Story." As I recall, he took digressions and freestyled on the story as he went on and the band picked up, but his paranoid rasp was fantastically suited for (English native) Rick's tale of travails in ver 'hood.

When he came to record it later that year, though, he left the vocals all to Martina and hid the cover away on the B-side to a Nearly God single. Not that that's any kind of poor substitute - her detached tone also matches the song splendidly - but if anyone has bootlegs of Tricky shows from around that time, I'd love to hear from you...

Nearly God - Children's Story

And while we're at it, let's hear another two-person collabo take on it. Here's the man eternally in search of the perfect gimmick, Everlast, teaming up with human beatbox/sampler Rahzel - oddly enough, this one's a B-side too, from the former's "Black Jesus" single.

Everlast (feat. Rahzel) - Children's Story

Shit, even the Nearly God album is out of print now! You can apparently buy it on Napster though. There's a super-dodgy Best of Everlast & House of Pain that you can find in Dirt Cheap and Rock Bottom. I don't think it has any Rhyme Syndicate-era Everlast, and I'm sure it doesn't have the Butch Vig remixes of HOP. If I ever get the 7" out of storage though...

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  1. ok kit I figure if anyone will know this you will: did tricky and terry hall do a cover of “ghost town” at some point around the release of nearly god?

  2. I think they did it live on telly or a radio session, or something, maybe? Also Tricky probably did a remix of something for a Hall b-side, all the Nearly God collabs were done quid pro like that. But that probably wasn’t Ghost Town obv.

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