Peter Milton Walsh: We sped them up! I was terrified of doing my own stuff, because it was so slow, and because it was intimate. And essentially, the thing that I liked about that time was everything felt like it was all amphetamine-driven and it was a great rock experience . . . [Whereas] a song like Nobody Like You, I could play it on the piano now and it’s a big, slow ballad. It wasn’t lounge music in the sense of the commodity that lounge is now, but very much like playing in your living room.
It dawned on me that even with all the references to Walsh throughout the Go-Betweens history, I had never actually listened to any of his music, so I jumped in.
Spotify provided me two references to ‘Nobody Like You’. I listened to the first version, the original track from 1979 EP, The Return Of The Hypnotist, while the second version was from the 2015 album, No Song No Spell No Madrigal. Interestingly, the 2015 version was much closer to the ‘slow ballad’ that Walsh touched upon in the quote from Pig City. I really liked the newer version, so I jumped into the full album.
I had read pieces about Walsh and his thoughts on things in the Go-Between’s documentary Right Here, however I did not really know much about Walsh himself. I really enjoyed No Song No Spell No Madrigal. It certainly showed a maturity from the early sound. It also demonstrated a rawness that really hit home. As Andrew Stafford captured in his review of the album:
For years, silence had seemed like the only way to suitably honour his son’s passing, but the more songs that came, the more they weighed. “I [couldn’t] go on if I didn’t do them,” he says. “It was like a necessity because here he lives, in these songs – do I just throw them away, so that’s another thing that’s forgotten?”
Walsh’s reflection on the lose of his son, Riley, reminded me of Nick Cave’s discussion of lose in Faith, Hope and Carnage. Foc Cave, the devastation of grief happens to everyone eventually:
this will happen to everybody at some point – a deconstruction of the known self. It may not necessarily be a death, but there will be some kind of devastation. Page 102