Bucks Burnett, Musician Again, Creating "Something Great, Catchy, Timeless, Fun"
Hubertus Winnubst, left, and Bucks Burnett
Good ol' Bucks Burnett, ex of 14 Records and The Volares and currently of Eight-Track Museuming, stopped by this week bearing gifts -- specifically, the double-disc debut Colorbl nd (and, yes, that is the correct spelling) by his latest rock-and-roll combo, Rachel Bazooka, which consists of Burnett and the most wonderfully monikerd Hubertus Winnubst. Also guesting on the sprawling record, which Bucks himself says would have made a great single-platter release, are the likes of Salim Nourallah and Paul Averitt, among other notables. He's only been working on it for four years -- hence, this made-in-2007 video for "Chrissie Hynde."
Bucks has given Pete and I the okee-doke to stream a few cuts both here and on DC9 at Night; I'll go first, since I've known Big Bucks since Pete was in diapers. (I'm so old.) And, besides, Bucks sent Unfair Park a most wonderful little essay -- which I've not edited, meaning "capitalized or punctuated" -- to accompany the release, which he also likes to say is "Dallas's version of The White Album." His off-the-cuff liner notes are after the jump, but do watch out for the psychedelics. Here, then, from Disc One, is "Carry Me Down." It's the debut of "The Dallas Sound," so Bucks says.
when i make a record, here's what i keep in mind:
the shelf it will go on, namely mine. on that shelf are all my heroes. is my record fit to stand beside them? tho i love all the talented folk in dallas, they are not my competition; i always hope that my records might be worthy to stand among the records that inspired me in
the first place.
the reviews. the 2nd volares album never got a single review, the first one got several nice ones. and that is not the point. i always picture two scenarios:
- my record is going to receive the front review slot in rolling stone and mojo. all you can do to get a good review, or prevent a bad one, is to try to make a totally kickass record. even if you create some kind of masterpiece, you still might get trashed. all you can do is make the best record you are humanly capable of.
- i imagine that a critic who hates my ass is assigned a review of my record. can i make a record good enough to surpass that person's scrutiny? again, all you can do is try.
we made it a double, knowing it would make a better single. but me and hubert and salim all worship the white album. so we realized that if we were ever gonna make a double, this would have to be it.
you might research it, but i'm pretty sure this is the first double album of any kind out of dallas. and the 3rd double debut studio album debut ever, following
zappa - freak out
chicago - cta
george harrison - all things must pass
*don't know if that one counts, as he had already done wonderwall and electronic sounds, but all things was his first 'real' album of his new career as a solo artist. can you think of any others?
I think the real turning point for me was in 1985 when i worked at Warner Bros. Records in Burbank. My boss agreed to listen to my demo tape, and ended up giving me a rather stern lecture on the difference between good and great. He advised me to never settle for good, that there was too much good music in the world, and not enough great. He said 'don't be afraid to compete with your idols. If you think you're not as good as Springsteen, Dylan, or Neil Young, work and wait until you are, or don't make a record.' Yikes! Scary stuff but thank god he said it, cause I didn't know it yet.
Too many people settle for a cool sound or style, even float to the top in the process. Not everything I do is great of course, but if I didn't think some of it was, I wouldn't put the record out.
Musicians can bitch all they want about the biz, or critics, or downloading, or having day jobs, or whatever...at the end of the day, our job is too try to create something great, catchy, timeless, fun. Regardless of any reward. Some of us get a big break, some of us get a lunch break. Those who aim high can hold their heads high. Those who tag along for the ride will get where they're going.
This is the first time I've travelled in the side car - this is mainly Hubert's record, and we all just tried to help him make his debut. I ended up cowriting for the first time ever, and love it. We recorded the whole thing in 4 hour shifts on alternate Mondays at Salim's, for 4 years. We improvised a lot of it - "Chrissie Hynde" was a one take vocal I did off the top of my head, and we kept it. We have no label, no manager, no live act, no future - but most importantly, no
Oddly enough, after 3 CDs recorded mostly with Brits in England, I have finally graduated to making a record with 100% Dallas musicians, among the finest anywhere. We call it The Dallas Sound, cause somebody needs too...I have finally realized i need to stop blaming Dallas and do what i can to make it better. Dallas rocks. This city has about 10 independent music stores, half of which are past the 20 year mark, at a time when everybody thinks that music retail is over. God's just weeding the garden, stick around.
It can be heartbreaking to make a record - and watch it sell 100 copies worldwide - I've done it. But you either want to make records or you love or have to make records. We have to. I wish we had money to do it more often - maybe we will someday. But if not, we'll be at Salim's every other Monday, as we have already started the next one.
Do they still offer careers in show business? I cashier on Saturdays at Hubert's Cafe. Tell destiny I'm lookin' for work.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Observer's biggest stories.