Alan Turing would turn 100 this year. He was repaid for playing no small part in the Allied Powers winning World War II with ostracization and scorn, drummed out of the British secret service for being a homosexual, killing himself in shame. Jerry Fuchs would have been 38 this year. He died in a manner ill-fitting his talents and the grace he brought to the world. He was in a band called Turing Machine. On June 23rd, 2012, Alan Turing’s 100th birthday, the band will be playing their third show without Jerry. It’s a world where, taken as a whole, words can fail and there’s not too much comfort, even in sweet coincidence. Music is a salve, and even if that’s all it is, I’ll take it.
Turing Machine - Slave To The Algorithm
Turing Machine has a new, essentially perfect, record out, using the drum tracks that Jerry Fuchs had laid down before his death. It is called What Is the Meaning of What. The fact that they were willing to finish the record can be only taken as a gift. Sorry to get heavy, readers of Noisey, but there are worse things to be than grateful. Justin Chearno, Turing Machine’s guitarist was good enough to brave the West Village at dusk and meet up with me the other day, at 124 Rabbit Club, to drink fancy beer and spit in the eye of mortality—mainly by talking shit on foodies, fashion crusties, and pretty much everyone under the age of 35. Viva life!
I don’t want to get too much into the foodie bashing, as Gawker, despite being—you know—Gawker, pretty much took care of that recently, but as Justin has both a career in professional wine purchasing and impeccable been-in-bands-forever credentials, he of course had some opinions on the “eatin’ stuff is the new listenin’ to stuff!” kerfuffle. He was sympathetic to a point, pointing out that there’s some real common ground in fetishizing rare Judge seven-inches and biting off your own tongue to taste a baby suckling pig raised on the milk of better, rarer pigs. The personality types are the same, and good for them as far as that goes, but neither are these the traits that we hold to be best in the respective sub-cultures. He said, yeah, there are dudes who will raise the bottle of Cantillon we were drinking and say, "This is Ornette Coleman!" But those dudes are massively incorrect. These comparisons are insulting to everyone, both the bands that couldn’t be fucked with being as precious as an unpasteurized cheese AND the craftsmen who made said cheese and would maybe not be too keen on having their years of labor reduced to “sort of like pre-Bowie Iggy, maaaaan.” I think Justin is a very wise cat, and I’m not just saying that because he wears glasses.
I think the most pertinent point Justin raises in relation to both foodie and punk culture is this: Don’t talk to me about organic vegetarian local whatever and then ask me if I have cocaine. Same goes for peace punks and PC mavens of all jacket types. Buying drugs, as it stands now, is like sending a check to the Monsanto that builds SUVs that run on mothers' tears. Not saying don’t do it—c’mon, this is Noisey; go nuts—just saying the high horse isn’t ecologically sustainable ‘cuz it just shot someone’s kid.
Occasionally discussing music, I asked if there were any reservations about finishing the new record, in the absence of Fuchs. Justin explained that he and the other member, Scott Desimon, were approaching an age where this may be the last music they’d make in a band, and that they wanted to do it with Jerry’s contribution. He also pointed out that while their label, Temporary Residence, put absolutely fuck all pressure on them to finish the LP, they, as friends of the label, felt a certain responsibility to deliver a record that would satisfy the label’s financial and artistic needs while still being a work they, the band, could be proud of. I, being more and more curmudgeonly in my dotage, love the responsibility part. I make no bones about one of the truly fun things about being an adult is living up to the responsibilities you decide that you have to those around you and the work that you, as a—fuck it—"artist" create. Viva responsibility! Maybe my idea of fun isn’t yours, but it doesn’t have to be.
What Is the Meaning of What is out now. It’s crazy good. If you subscribe to even one of Mark E. Smith’s three R’s, it will be your summer soundtrack. If you dig dance music for adults, experimentation that kids can get with, good food and hard drug use without the self-delusion, and life that acknowledges the horror and embraces what’s left with both arms, then it’s the only record you’ll need, for long enough.
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