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Sunday, January 1, 2012

RIP Sean Bonniwell

Now and then a band is so far ahead of its time that the rest of the world literally NEVER cataches up, such was the case with Music Machine. The world wasn't ready.....enjoying only the briefest moment of fame with the legendary single "Talk Talk". "Talk Talk" is a two minute buzz of experimental, mind-bending garage punk, the alienation of the Kurt Cobains of 30 years later foreseen, "My social life's a dud, my name is really mud" just didn't fit in 1965..."Talk Talk", of course, is featured on "Nuggets" and many other garage/punk/psych comps of the era, the genius does not end here. Problem being, their record labels actually wished for the to SELL RECORDS, which at the time consisted roughly of a formula of a hit single or two and the rest of an album fleshed out with covers of reent top-40 singles. Bonniwell, years ahead, wrote and performed long buzzing songs that ran together like "suites", quite a novel concept at the time. To hear the people who were actually "there" tell it ("there" being Los Angeles of the mid-60's, at a time which I was between 3-4 years old), their live shows were like nothing else at the time....they'd play an hour long set of all original material, without the slightest break between songs, the attention spans of the era set on their heads. As with many other bands buried in history, we must do a bit of digging to fine out what else they were about, other than the fantastic "Talk Talk".
The first proper "album", "Turns You On" featured "Talk Talk" and its follow up single "The People In Me", but they are lost in the context amongst covers of "Hey Joe" and "See See Rider".
Released on Original Sound, the album flopped other than "Talk Talk" (I remember Arthur Lee once criticizing Boniwell for "Talk Talk", saying Bonniwell was basically trying to cop Lee's'd probably have to say there is some validity to that, but Love (Lee's band) were an original creation as well, and what better inspiration than Lee/Love?)
Far more experimental and daring is "The Bonniwell Music Machine" on Warner Brothers, and there is some wonderful stuff here....some of the very best garage psych of the era, two more great (but overlooked) singles ("The Eagle Never Hunts the Fly" and "Double Yellow Line"), as well as great stuff like "Talk Me Down", "Bottom of the Soul", and teh somewhat amazing "Discrepancy".....the album sank without a trace and more or less Bonniwell abandoned the music buisness. Bonniwell's story has been told and retold many times in various books on the music of the era. A post-career complilation of odd ball demos, rarities and more is "Ignition" which features more of the great
hautning trademarked Bonniwell persona.....I was not, obviously, a music fan at this point in history...there are others who are FAR more qualified than myself to write his story. He passed away December 20 2011 of lung cancer, and what more can we say? I offer my prayers for his family and survivors, and I thank him posthumously for the great singles and the great tracks that flesh out "Music Machine" and "Ignition"......If you care to listen to these, perhaps you will discover something with which you ahd been unfamiliar.....and you will see a LOT of Music Machine's influence on many of the new wave/punk bands of the 70's-80's, most notably the Stranglers who could almost qualify as a tribute band (and I enjoy the music of the Strangelers, I am not attempting to disrespect them)
Rest in Peace Mr. Bonniwell....your music touched SOME of us, at least, and "Talk Talk" is one of the absolute greatest singels of all-time. As with many others who have passed on, you made MY time on the planet a tiny bit more enjoyable, for which I owe you my thanks
Links In Comment Section, leave a comment or opinion if you so desire......Should have the links up in the morning!
TURN ON-01 Talk Talk/02 Trouble/03 Cherry Cherry/04 Taxman/05 Some Other Drum/06 Masculine Intuition/07 The People In Me/08 See See Rider/09 Wrong/10 96 Tears/11 Come on In/12 Hey Joe
THE BONNIWELL MUSIC MACHINE-01 Bottom of the Soul/02 Absolutely Positive/03 Soul Love/04 Somethin' Hurtin On ME/05 Affirmative No/06 The Trap/07 The Eagle Never Hunts the Fly/08 No Girl Gonna Cry/09Me Myself and I/10 To the Light/11 Tin Can Beach/12 TIme Out (For a Daydream)/13 Astrologically Incompatable/14 Discrepancy/15 Talk me Down/16 I've Loved You/17 You'll Love Me Again/18 In My Neighborhood/19 Double Yellow Line/20 The Day Today
IGNITION-01 Everything Is Everything/02 Two Much/03 Advise and Consent/04 THis Should Make You Happy/05 Black Snow/06 Chances/07 Mother nature, Father Earth/08 Talk Me Down/09 Dark White/10 Push DOn't Pull/11 Smoke and Water/12 King Mixer/13 Unca Tinka Ty/14 Citizen Fear/15 Worry (Instrumental Version)/16 Worry (Vocal Version)/17 Tell Me What Ya Got/18 Point of No Return/19 902


  1. Bonniwell Music Machine Link:

    Turn On Link:

    Ignition Link:

  2. You are most welcome....and thanks for leaving a comment. Start-up blogs such as this are a little frustrating when you don't know if you're doing anyone any good or not, but I guess maybe a couple of people follow this one now.....feel free to request anything anytime and I'll see what I can do

  3. Engaging and informed comments on this which I enjoyed reading. 'Talk Talk' was a big influence on my teenage appreciation of music. Love the B-side too on my single copy - 'Come On In' - much more subdued but mesmerising. Good luck with the blog.