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  1.  
    This may have been discussed before, but I have to mention that it pains me deeply to have to live with the knowledge that some Wire music is NOT AVAILABLE to all who might want it! To think that someone may be wishing to wrap their ears around, for example, Let's Panic Later and cannot, is too cruel a concept to bear.

    SO: is there going to be a release (a real CD-type thing, not a horrid mp3) of the tracks that were removed from the last editions of the EMI CDs (and not even in the box set!!). Surely WIRE: HARVEST HITS is just begging for a release? (Since 154 got in the top 40 or something, the free EP could justifiably take it's place thereon ... but please, at the end!).

    Maybe Mute could re-fashion The A-List into WIRE: MUTE MONSTERS too ... but I'm only buying it if (1) it includes Goodbye Ploy and the IBTABA version of German Shepherds, and (2) Ambitious doesn't fade out!

    I am available to plan further compilation releases, for Wire and other bands I like, upon request ...
  2.  
    It does come up now and then, here for example (keep reading past the vinyl discussion), but no answer "from the top" on this topic that I'm aware of.

    That said, while it is unfortunately true that Wire would see no profit from the purchase of deleted old CDs, there are lots of copies of the UK and US issues of the first three albums around - and for not very much money. So it's a bit of a stretch to proclaim that Wire are deliberately withholding lost gems from us. They're out there if you want them.

    The last wave of UK EMI releases sound better than the US Restless releases IMHO if one were to decide to chase them. The Japanese issues are a bit harder to find, but also tack on the contents of Behind The Curtain across the three albums.
  3.  
    As far as I'm aware, there are licensing issues surrounding the EMI bonus tracks, hence why they're in limbo. As for Mute, that's a different kettle of fish. I'm not even sure that label has retained its 'never let anything go out of print' philosophy post-EMI buy-out and then 'resurrected indie minus a couple of big name acts'. Either way, I can't imagine we'll ever get another A List. (Personally, I'd love to see 1980s Wire dealt with like the Cure reissues—two disc sets with the original album remastered on one and extras/outtakes on the second CD. Add some pics from the time and a Wilson Neate interview about each album's creation, and that'd be great. Hugely unlikely though.)
  4.  
    EMI/Mute has their hands full keeping every last Depeche Mode beep and bloop in print, not to mention endless clever live albums riffing off the the title of the album that preceded it.
  5.  
    Mute and Depeche Mode are no longer an item—when Mute detached from EMI, the major got to keep Depeche Mode, Goldfrapp, Richard Hawley, Kraftwerk and White Rabbit. There's also a licensing deal in place for a chunk of the back catalogue (Erasure, Bad Seeds, etc.)

    As for Depeche Mode, those guys seem to make their money by releasing every item in 50 different versions, the most hilarious of which was a £60 version of Sounds Of The Universe. £60! For an album! (And it was the only way fans could legally grab a CD of demo versions, which probably would have sold on their own. Nice.)

    If Wire were more like Depeche Mode, Red Barked Tree:

    - Wouldn't be available until 2016.
    - Would be based on half-hearted demos and mostly made by an engineer.
    - Available in 'screw you, cheapskate' CD version and 'hugely expensive with loads of crap you don't want' version.
    - Strays wouldn't be free—instead, you'd have to buy the £60 Mega Barked Oak Tree Remix SE version of the album.
  6.  
    I can report that every single copy of the big fat Sounds Of The Universe that I've seen around local record shops has never moved and the price keeps dropping every few weeks.

    Maybe Wire should adopt a similar strategy with Mute-era live albums? Would that interest the big labels? "The Ideal Tour"? "It's Beginning To And Live Again"? "Showscape"?

    As much as I miss Bruce Gilbert, mercifully he didn't turn out to be the Alan Wilder of the band, taking every last shred of concrete musicianship and interesting contribution with him.
  7.  
    The Ideal Copy Number 4506 Of A Limited 10000 Run.
    A Bell Is A Cup Until It's A Boxset
    The Second Letter
    The Third Letter (etc.)
    Read & Burn So You'll Buy Another

    As for Alan Wilder, I guess Wire's never had an equivalent. Thorne at EMI, but he wasn't a member of the band. Colin during the Send era, to some extent, but he wrote songs as well as shaping them. Bruce is undoubtedly missed, but I don't think RBT suffers for him not being there. It really is top stuff.
  8.  
    The Ideal Copy: Deluxe Edition

    Disc 1
    1- Point of Collapse
    2- Ahead
    3- Madman's Honey
    4- Feed Me
    5- Ambitious
    6- Cheeking Tongues
    7- Still Shows
    8- Over Theirs

    Disc 2
    1- A Serious of Snakes
    2- Drill
    3- Advantage In Height
    4- Up To The Sun
    5- Ambulance Chasers (studio)
    6- Ahead (II)
    7- Feed Me (II)
    8- Ambitious (Alt Mix)
    9- Madman's Honey (Alt Mix)
    10- A Vivid Riot of Red (Live)
    11- Ambulance Chasers (Live)
    12- Feed Me (Live)
    13- Harry Houdini (Live)
    14- Kidnap Yourself (Live)


    A Bell Is A Cup: Deluxe Edition

    Disc 1
    1- Silk Skin Paws
    2- The Finest Drops
    3- The Queen of Ur & The King of Um
    4- Free Falling Divisions
    5- It's A Boy
    6- Boiling Boy
    7- Kidney Bingos
    8- Come Back In Two Halves
    9- Follow The Locust
    10- A Public Place

    Disc 2
    1- Silk Skin Paws (Single Mix)
    2- Pieta
    3- German Shepards
    4- Come Back In Two Halves (Re-Recorded)
    5- It's A Boy (Instrumental)
    6- Over Theirs (Live)
    7- Drill (Live)
    8- Kidney Bingos (Alt Version)
    9- German Shepards (Peel Session)
    10- Boiling Boy (Peel Session
    11- Drill (Peel Session)

    It's Beginning To & Back Again: Deluxe Edition

    Disc 1
    1- Finest Drops
    2- Eardrum Buzz
    3- German Shepards
    4- Public Place
    5- It's A Boy
    6- Illuminated
    7- Boiling Boy
    8- Over Theirs
    9- The Offer
    10- In Vivo

    Disc 2
    1- Eardrum Buzz (12" Version)
    2- Finest Drops (Live)
    3- Eardrum Buzz (Live)
    4- Ahead (Live)
    5- Kidney Bingos (Live)
    6- In Vivo (12" Version)
    7- In Vivo (Instrumental Dance Remix)
    8- Illuminated (Remix)
  9.  
    Excellent! Sign me up! But you have to pack a gratuitous DVD in there somewhere... perhaps containing only the fascinating appearance with Suzanne Somers.

    Is anyone else hearing strains of "Paint A Vulgar Picture" as they read all this?
  10.  
    Well we could always do what Joy Division/New Order fans did and make these ourselves.....
  11.  
    Ha. Well those guys have a pro remixer/mastering chap on hand, who did a LOT of work. On the DVD, I always liked the idea of the Mute 2CDs being compiled into a gargantuan box-set, with Wire's ’80s videos as a bonus DVD.
  12.  
    "So it's a bit of a stretch to proclaim that Wire are deliberately withholding lost gems from us. They're out there if you want them."

    Well, it doesn't affect me personally as I have them all anyway, I just find it odd that, given the amount of archive material released by the band, this stuff should not be available to purchase from a legitimate source at present.

    It seems odd that licensing issues would affect just these few songs and not the albums. Truth be told, I haven't a clue why the original remastered CDs (with bonus tracks) were replaced by re- remastered discs with NO bonus tracks. The profit motive aside, of course ... but issuing REDUCED versions of existing 'enlarged' CDs makes no sense at all ...
  13.  
    "Truth be told, I haven't a clue why the original remastered CDs (with bonus tracks) were replaced by re- remastered discs with NO bonus tracks. The profit motive aside, of course"

    At the time of the remaster releases Wire explicitly stated that they wished for the EMI albums to be released without bonus tracks as the albums were originally intended. This is hinted at in the existing greedbag page for purchase of the box set. "Replaced" is a bit of a stretch, as EMI let them fall out of print and clearly had no further plans. "Resurrected" might be a better term for what PinkFlag accomplished - frankly I was stunned that Wire had pulled them from EMI's clutches.

    The "profit motive" argument is a fairly condescending way to discuss this. You seem to believe that Wire has a board room of figureheads rubbing their hands together and figuring out the best way to strip you of your cash. Colin has made it clear again and again that any profits to be made from re-releasing catalog items are few and far between.

    "I just find it odd that, given the amount of archive material released by the band, this stuff should not be available to purchase from a legitimate source at present."

    Odd indeed. Despite repeated and explicit assertions that EMI were never the best of labels to deal with in terms of how they felt about Wire. The live tapes are mostly not owned by anyone but Wire and therefore easier for PinkFlag to tackle. Coatings had to be licensed from Mute, and that of course was WMO not PinkFlag. With the exception of the 3 EMI albums PinkFlag has released very little in the "archive" department. If EMI is making it difficult, expensive, and/or impractical for PinkFlag to re-release old stuff, I can't really blame them for looking forward rather than backwards considering that they are still making new music. Perhaps if they were Pink Floyd and had nothing better to do than repackage the oldies for the 800th time I might agree.

    "It seems odd that licensing issues would affect just these few songs and not the albums."

    Read any authoritative history of any band that spent any amount of time on a major label. Albums are treated differently than a-sides, a-sides are treated differently than b-sides, singles are treated differently than EPs, EPs are treated differently than bonus discs... the labels more or less make up the rules as they go along. Most major acts are still trying to recover from the legal-speak of 10, 20, 30, 40 year-old contracts.
  14.  
    As the Wire CDs had always contained the bonus tracks (original 80s EMI CDs, the Restless releases, EMI 1994 remasters) it seems a bit late in the day to want to remove the bonus tracks that had become an integral part of the CD releases for almost 20 years (whether we like it or not, CDs have now become the 'standard' for the consumer). And I don't recall the 1994 remasters becoming especially hard to find ... I continually tried to introduce people to Wire and they always got the 1994 CDs okay from official outlets right up to the 2000s ... of course, they would have been allowed to 'disappear' once the 2006 reissues were confirmed, but that's standard ... and the 2006 remasters are still on EMI and easily available, pinkflag only licensed them for the box set. In fact they're usually about a fiver each from Amazon or play.com, although these things vary ...

    The profit motive seems to me to be the only reason for the 2006 box set (especially as it allowed the Pink Flag credits to be altered). It remains the most extortionately priced and unsatisfying box set I own. No 45s (which had been licensed throughout the 80s by various indie labels for the albums Play Pop, In The Pink and Here It Is Again, three great vinyl comps). Absolutely nothing new at all, except for the live stuff which was released separately very soon after. I only got the box for the live stuff, as the accompanying blurb suggested it would be some time before the separate live CDs, and so, as I feared that they might never happen, I bit my lip and splurged ... well, they did happen (and quickly) and I was miffed at splurging £50 ... I realise that for some people £50 is a mere drop in the ocean, however for others it is a bloody huge sum of money! I do of course appreciate the cost of independently releasing music but since 2000, Wire's pinkflag stuff has been pretty pricey: £10 for six tracks EPs, and don't even mention the merchandise!

    When I referred to archive material, I was referring to ALL releases that Wire has worked on and made available ... in other words, I was praising their habit of digging up all odds and ends. I adore such fantastic releases as TURNS AND STROKES and COATINGS (complete with 20m of Ambitious!) and, of course, the EMI release BEHIND THE CURTAIN. These are great archive albums of a kind that few bands have bothered with, and unless I'm mistaken, they are now unavailable which is a great loss. Then there are the legal bootlegs, although that's another matter entirely ...

    As for relationships with labels, well, nearly all bands complain about their label in some way! Unless you're selling on a big scale, it's always going to be a battle ... but look what it produced! Signed in the punk frenzy, Wire somehow managed to avoid being compelled to release Pink Flag 2 and instead released two of the most startling, uncompromising records of the late 70s ... how did EMI allow these 'punk rockers' to release A Touching Display?!? I'm glad they did, of course, but I always find it both amazing and inspiring that these records were released when they were ...

    I find your final paragraph interesting, and was completely unaware of such a situation, that is, 45s being treated differently to LPs, etc. I would genuinely appreciate any recommended reading on this area. I know that 50s/60s/70s contracts could be horrific affairs, but was unaware of this particular fact. I suppose Wire (and many other bands) should be grateful that they weren't in the position of Moby Grape: now THERE is a band with serious fallout from a contract!

    Well, that's that. I love Wire's music and always will, but unfortunately my feelings towards certain things tend to change as life events change. I now find myself living only just above the poverty line and this affects my willingness/ability to spend on music in the same way as I did when I was younger and unmarried and pre-fatherhood. Now I have to contend with buying Doctor Who figures ... now THAT's a rip-off industry if ever there was one!

    Happy listening

    hp
  15.  
    To pick up a few points:

    - Licensing is insanely complicated, as has already been mentioned. There were genuine issues regarding the non-album tracks, which couldn't be overcome at the time. I suspect the band would have liked an 'all the rest' CD or some kind of singles compilation, but it's unlikely to happen.

    - Wire's not a massive band, and Pinkflag is, in the scheme of things, a tiny label. £10 for six tracks might seem excessive, but bear in mind that when Swim used to do its samplers for a fiver (and this is back in 2001—a decade ago) they made no profit. You need to be selling a ton of CDs to make any decent money on music priced at five quid or less. Personally, I'd sooner see R&B at ten quid knowing it'll secure more Wire material than one EP and the guys thinking "bollocks to this", because they're not seeing any income (or going the Sisters of Mercy route and turning into a live-only band).

    - The unavailability of archive is again down to licensing, combined with sales. It would cost Wire to license Behind the Curtain for Pinkflag, and the sales would be few. It makes more sense to do the boots.
  16.  
    I guess I'll try to sum up my thoughts by saying: not every release could have Wire's official stamp, participation, or even approval due to one simple fact: record labels. It isn't possible. If they had any influence with EMI, would the CDs have ever been released with bonus tracks? Perhaps not. Perhaps it has made Wire uncomfortable for twenty years and they finally got the chance to fix it and ran with it. In fact, if EMI had any brains at all somebody would have noticed that they should have released the first three albums in their original sequence and then released a separate odds-n-sods compilation.

    As for the chain of rereleases of the first three albums, the separate (non-box set) individual 2006 CD releases were still EMI at heart, but licensed under the PinkFlag banner. It was also the year that it came to light that EMI had sustained massive losses. They probably figured they had nothing to lose by letting Wire take the albums and release them however they wanted, especially considering that - as you mention - the last round of reissues were still available (out-of-print does not mean that the warehouses don't still have new copies available).

    Remember when EMI got mad at Talk Talk for becoming less commercial and released that wretched remix album to squeeze more cash from the old hits? Talk Talk took them to court (and won, I might add) but not before the album had already been released. Labels just do whatever they want. It's what they're best at. Remember Prince's freakout? Or George Michael's? Anybody who ever recorded for Some Bizarre? Or TVT? Or SST? It is an ugly, ugly business, starting with: your creative output no longer belongs to you. The end. This includes Wire's adventures with labels prior to PinkFlag.

    Kevin could comment on this, but my understanding from the old WMO Newsletters was that those projects (Coatings, Turns and Strokes) were very much a labor-of-love enterprise with help from Wire but not necessarily funded/managed/overseen by them. Plus, things like Coatings still had to be licensed from Mute. Wire didn't just trot down to the studio with their master tapes and say "here, do what you want".

    Maybe in the back of Wire's collective mind there are annotated, expanded editions of their entire catalog just waiting for an outlet. I wouldn't much enjoy looking at GEMM or eBay or Amazon and realizing that some of my older stuff is now fetching a mint simply because it is out of print. Used copies of A-Z, for example, turn over as fast as they show up - for a startlingly wide range of prices. Why wouldn't Colin rectify that if he had the time, money, etc? If Wire received a grant, a full staff, the rights to ALL their old recordings, an amazing distribution deal, and all the time in the world - then, perhaps, might everyone's back catalog prayers be answered.

    In the meantime, yes, I bought the lovely, silky box set last time they were in town. For $80. I don't even like live albums much in general, and have both the Restless and EMI versions of Pink/Chairs/154. I bought it because it is a beautiful object.

    Call me an idealist, but if my purchases put more money in the Wire accounts - even if it is only enough for a pound of coffee for the studio kitchen - I'm in. I don't do that indiscriminately for many... uh, actually, any other bands, but Wire is an exception for me. They deserve it. I have (by necessity) purchased a number of group/solo albums in my collection used, and they saw nothing from those purchases. So it's the least I can do.

    Note to Wire: bring more stuff to shows in 2011. I'll keep buying.
  17.  
    Wire could always go into the studio and record these albums 'again' could they not??
  18.  
    In theory yes, and indeed a lot of bands do just that in order to get around licensing issues.

    Squeeze are currently promoting 'Spot the Difference', essentially a Greatest Hits collection but in fact everything has been re-recorded in painstaking detail (hence the name) and I believe this is due to some contractural issues around the various other best-ofs you can get of theirs. Many cheap compilations you'll often find are either ropey live versions or even ropier re-recordings.

    As to Wire doing it, I think they would rather spend their studio time on new material, although there were once rumours of a Manscape Redux.....
  19.  
    Some kind of Behind the Curtain two - Lock Up Your Hats or something - would be wonderful. Studio demos of Mute tracks. Though, after reading about the working process on some of those albums, dunno if there would actually be full demo tracks in existence.
  20.  
    <<Some kind of Behind the Curtain two - Lock Up Your Hats or something - would be wonderful. Studio demos of Mute tracks. Though, after reading about the working process on some of those albums, dunno if there would actually be full demo tracks in existence.>>

    This would be excellent. As the two 80s boots have shown, the Mute material was capable of generating stellar results that the final studio versions often lacked. Demos or other working versions with proper drums, for instance, would be great to hear.