LUKE HAINES & PETER BUCK – ” All The Kids Are Super Bummed Out “

Posted: January 26, 2023 in MUSIC

Peter Buck’s musical collaboration with Luke Haines began as so many of them do: with a random connection. The former R.E.M. guitarist bought a painting of Lou Reed by Haines, and it sparked the thought that perhaps the two of them should work together.

Quarantine scuttled plans for the pair to play shows in support of their debut, 2020’s “Beat Poetry for Survivalists”. But, as Buck details below, the songs kept flowing. “All the Kids Are Super Bummed Out” is the sprawling double-album “monster-piece” manifesto that emerged from their efforts.

It’s a conceptual project that will leave you hoping for a sequel – although perhaps one with a less dismal subject matter. Buck shared some of the highlights from the time they spent working on the new album with UCR. The Auteurs frontman and R.E.M.’s guitarist reteam for a fever dream double LP that betters their debut

This stuff that you’ve been doing with Luke Haines feels like it completes the cycle of what you started with the initial albums that you did solo. My solo records, I just wanted to prove a point to myself. This is something I’ve never done; I’m just gonna do it. I can’t sing, fuck it. You know what? I’m not worried about it. [Laughs] I’m going to make these records – and you know, they were written and recorded, I don’t think I spent more than five days on any of those records. Yet, they have something. You don’t go through those records looking for good singing, but the songs are good and the playing is pretty amazing. With Luke, I don’t know, I [just] started sending him stuff.

The first couple of things I sent him were just things I’d written that day. “Here’s three guitars and a drum machine and a synth and a bass.” At a certain point, I kind of realized there weren’t any boundaries there. Anything I send him, he’s going to finish. Particularly with this record, my feeling was, “It’s the summer of 2021, and do I really need to write a pretty song in E Minor with a nice guitar riff?” It wasn’t what I was feeling. It wasn’t what I was experiencing. I mean, out here in Portland, we had the fires, the heatwaves, the protests when they sent the feds in and the feds turned them into riots. It was just hellacious out here, in some ways. I was just like, “Yeah, writing a song with a structure? Fuck that!” Something like “Exit Space,” it was like, “Here’s just a template of what I’m feeling like right now, and it doesn’t make sense. Here you go, Luke!”

This is a great headphone album. We were talking about “Exit Space” earlier and it’s got what sounds like a psychotic, laughing monkey. It seems like it would have been fun to conjure things like that and make them a reality. At one point, that song was like nine minutes long. Luke cut it down. He said, “I don’t know, there’s only so much of that monkey stuff that I think people can take.” And I’m like, “I don’t know, I’m always down for more monkeys on the record!” But that one, I was talking to my next-door neighbour, who is a doctor and I was like, “So, how are you doing with this COVID thing?” She said, “Oh, I’m fine. I’ve been around infectious diseases my entire life.” But she goes, “All the kids are super bummed out.” I said, “Hey Luke, I think this one might be called “All the Kids Are Super Bummed Out.” So that’s the record title and that was just purely an adult thing, how tough it is for not just her kids, but all of the kids that aren’t able to get together, aren’t going to school.

The album should really be also attributed to Scott McCaughey, Buck’s frequent collaborator (going back to ’90s R.E.M.) who was also part of Beat Poetry for Survivalists and co-wrote every song here and co-produced as well. Linda Pitmon, who is Buck and McCaughey’s bandmate in Filthy Friends, is back to play drums, too. Both of these albums are great, and you can tell everyone involved is having a good time, so can they just become a real band already?

Cherry Red Records

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