CULT CLASSIC: BRIAN ENO-HERE COME THE WARM JETS.
Cult Classic: Brian Eno-Here Come The Warm Jets.
For Brian Eno, 1973 was the year the second chapter in his career began as he had just left Roxy Music after touring their sophomore album, For Your Pleasure. By the end of the tour, he had realised the life of a rock star wasn’t for him. He found the life of a rock star tedious. The constant touring, and spending half his life either on stage, or in an anonymous hotel room, wasn’t for Brian Eno. Then there were the disagreements with Roxy Music’s flamboyant frontman, Bryan Ferry. All this meant that Brian Eno’s time with Roxy Music was at an end. This however, was a huge decision.
Leaving Roxy Music was a brave and controversial decision for Brian Eno. Roxy Music were one of the most successful British bands of the early seventies. However, Brian Eno’s creativity was being stifled. He felt that he had much more to offer music. Having toured For Your Pleasure, a frustrated and restless Brian Eno left Roxy Music, and embarked on a solo career.
Having left Roxy Music, straight away, Brian Eno began work on his debut album Here Come The Warm Jets. It’s best described as a fusion of art rock, avant garde, experimental and glam rock. Here Come The Warm Jets was an innovative album from Brian Eno.
Freed from the shackles of Roxy Music, Brian Eno wrote six songs for what became Here Come The Warm Jets. He also cowrote four other tracks. He penned Needles in the Camel’s Eye and Cindy Tells Me with ex-Roxy music colleague, Phil Manzanera. Brian and King Crimson founder Robert Fripp cowrote Blank Frank. The other track on Here Come The Warm Jets, was Some Of Them Are Old. It was a collaboration between Brian, Paul Thompson, Busta Jones and Nick Judd. These ten tracks became Here Come The Warm Jets, which was recorded over twelve days in September 1973, at Majestic Studios, London.
When recording of Here Come The Warm Jets began at Majestic Studios, London, Brian Eno was accompanied by the great and good of British rock. Over twelve days in September 1973 at Majestic Studios, London, Brian, and sixteen guest musicians recorded the ten tracks that became Here Come The Warm Jets.
Joining Brian Eno for recording of Here Come The Warm Jets, were some of biggest names in music and some of the top session players. This included guitarists Robert Fripp of King Crimson, Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera, Chris Spedding and Paul Rudolph. Lloyd Watson, who had opened for Roxy Music and King Crimson played slide guitar. Bassists included John Wetton of King Crimson and Family, Chris Thomas, Busta Jones and Bill MacCormick. Keyboardists included Roxy Music’s Andy MacKay, Nick Judd and Nick Kool and the Koolaids. Percussion came courtesy of Simon King, Marty Simon and Paul Thompson, who was then the Roxy Music drummer. Sweetfeed added the all important backing vocals on On Some Faraway Beach and Blank Frank. Brian Eno produced Here Come The Warm Jets, added vocals and played guitar, synths and keyboards. Once Here Come The Warm Jets was completed later in September 1973, Brian Eno was ready to release his debut album.
On its release in January 1974, Here Come The Warm Jets was mostly well received, by critics. Reviews ranged from favourable to positive. There were some contrarian critics, namely Rolling Stone. However, since then, Here Come The Warm Jets has been reappraised by a new generation of critics. They realised that Here Come The Warm Jets was an ambitious, innovative album. As a result, Here Come The Warm Jets is now regarded as a classic album, one that shows what Brian Eno, freed from the restraints of Roxy Music was capable of. However, the record buying public didn’t seem to “get” Here Come The Warm Jets.
When Here Come The Warm Jets was released in January 1974, it only reached number twenty-six in the UK and number 151 in the US Billboard 200. This must have been a disappointment for Brian Eno who previously, had been part of one of the most successful British bands of the early seventies. Belatedly, however, Here Come The Warm Jets record buyers recognised the quality of music on Brian’s debut album. Here Come The Warm Jets, Brian Eno’s debut album was the album he had been longing to make.
Needle In The Camel’s Eye opens Here Come The Warm Jets. It’s a guitar driven, explosion of energy. From the get-go, a wall of joyous, melodic and hook laden music assails you. As guitars drive the arrangement along, drums pound urgently. The guitars are panned left and right. They surround and assail you. Meanwhile, Brian Eno delivers the vocal with energy and enthusiasm. Later, as his vocal drops out, a sixties influenced guitar solo takes centre-stage. It toys with the listener, before Brian and his all-star band kick loose during the rest of this anthemic track.
Listening to The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch, it’s obvious that this track influenced David Byrne’s Talking Heads. This is the case from the moment Brian Eno’s delivers a vampish, flamboyant vocal. He’s accompanied by chiming, funky and searing guitars, the rhythm section and harmonies. Later, a myriad of futuristic, sci-fi sounds and a piano adds to what’s an ambitious and innovative track that spawned a thousand imitators.
Urgent and dramatic describes the ominous, slightly sci-fi introduction to Baby’s On Fire. Again, Brian Eno’s vocal is vampish. It’s as if each track is a short story, and he’s playing a starring role. As a result, he adapts his vocal to suit each song’s lyrics. Keyboards, the rhythm section and sci-fi sounds join a searing, bristling, scorching guitar solo from Robert Fripp. He steals the show, wielding his guitar like a musical wizard. This adds a healthy dose of drama to what, thanks to Robert’s guitar, and earlier, Brian Eno’s vocal, is an epic track.
Cindy Tells Me has a vintage sound, one that brings back memories of a musical era. Think late fifties, early sixties. However, this being Brian Eno, he gives the music of the past a makeover. Stabs of piano and cooing harmonies join Brian Eno’s vocal. It veers between wistful to ironic. Sometimes, seems to mock, even pity those he’s singing about. Above his vocal, washes of guitar are akin to musical vapour trails. They’re joined by angelic, ethereal harmonies. They prove to be the finishing touch to what’s a fusion of music’s past, present and future.
Driving Me Backwards has an almost Bowie-esque sound. However, it’s taken further than before. Brian Eno’s impassioned, soul-baring vocal is accompanied by a piano which is bathed in effects. Meanwhile, guitars reverberate, a bass buzzes and drama abounds. The result is a track that’s moody, broody and given that it paints pictures in your mind’s eye, cinematic.
Just a lone piano and ethereal harmonies combine on On Some Faraway Beach. In the distance drums and keyboards and a searing guitar plays. As the arrangement grows, they almost overpower the piano. Almost but never quite. Instead, and like Brian Eno’s tender vocal they compliment what’s already beautiful, dramatic arrangement.
Blank Frank is very different from the previous track. They’re polar opposites. Raw power and nihilistic describes Blank Frank. Brian Eno delivers a snarled vocal tinged with irony and anger. Meanwhile his band play loosely and with aggression. They almost attack their instruments. Guitars growl, while keyboards and drums are pounded. Soon, the track becomes a captivating jam. However, the aggression and anger of Blank Frank might well have played a part in inspiring punk two years later.
As drums and a piano play, you wonder where what direction Brian Eno will take Dead Finks Don’t Talk. Against a backdrop of drums and piano, Brian sounds like a preacher delivering an ironic, spoken word vocal. It soon changes, becomes a tender, thoughtful vocal. He’s accompanied by howling backing vocals. Then when they drop out, a blistering guitar solo is unleashed. It’s replaced by handclaps and Brian’s chameleon like vocal. It veers between tender, thoughtful, comedic and ironic on what’s best described as a mixture of music, theatre and comedy.
Straight away, Some Of Them Are Old has wistful, melancholy sound. Just an organ and deliberate harmonies accompanies Brian Eno on what’s a beautiful, wistful and lysergic track.
Here Come The Warm Jets closes with the title-track. Guitars bathed in effects, accompany the driving rhythm section and keyboards. Later, they’re joined by harmonies. They’re responsible for a driving, everyman, anthem.
Just ten months after leaving Roxy Music, Brian Eno released Here Come The Warm Jets, his much anticipated debut album in January 1974. Here Come The Warm Jets was well received upon its release. Reviews ranged from favourable to critically acclaimed. Despite that, Here Come The Warm Jets only reached number twenty-six in the UK and number 151 in the US Billboard 200. This must have been a disappointment for Brian, who previously, had been part of one of the most successful British bands of the early seventies. Belatedly, however, Here Come The Warm Jets record buyers recognised the quality of music on Brian Eno’s debut album.
Here Come The Warm Jets is best described as a fusion of art rock, avant garde, experimental and glam rock is considered one of Brian Eno’s finest albums. Belatedly, this genre defying cult classic is starting to find a wider audience. No wonder as it’s an ambitious and innovative album. This was the album Brian Eno had been longing to make. However, as a member of Roxy Music this wasn’t possible.
Here Come The Warm Jets was a step too far from the music Roxy Music released. They couldn’t risk releasing an album like Here Come The Warm Jets, so early in their career. That would risk everything Roxy Music had worked towards. So, the only alternative for Brian Eno was to leave Roxy Music, the group he co-founded. Roxy Music had just made that all important commercial breakthrough, and were the critic’s darlings. That was a lot to sacrifice. Brian Eno however, was willing to make that sacrifice. It paid off.
Between 1974 and 1983, Brian Eno could do no wrong. He was one of the most innovative musicians of his generations. This run of critically acclaimed albums continued with his sophomore album Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy), which was released in November 1974. While Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) wasn’t a commercial success, critical acclaim accompanied its release. That was the case from 1975s Another Green World and Discreet Music, to 1977s Before and After Science and 1978s Music For Films, which is another classic album. After that, Brian embarked upon a string of innovative albums. This includes 1982s Ambient 4: On Land, 1983s Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks and then 1983s More Music For Films. This was one of the most fruitful periods of Brian Eno’s career.
Ten years after leaving Roxy Music, Brian Eno wasn’t just enjoying a solo career. He collaborated with a wide range of artists and had reinvented himself as a successful producer. His decision to leave Roxy Music had paid off.
While Brian Eno didn’t enjoy the same commercial success as a solo artist, as he would’ve with Roxy Music, Brian Eno’s self respect was intact and he was making music he believed in. Much of this music was groundbreaking, innovative and influential. This includes his groundbreaking debut album Here Come The Warm Jets, where freed from the shackles of Roxy Music, Brian Eno embarked upon the start of a long and illustrious solo career.
Cult Classic: Brian Eno-Here Come The Warm Jets.