Winner Of “Last Song I Would Have Guessed Would Be On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox” – “Gums Bleed” By You’ve Got Foetus On Your Breath

 jukebox700

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Biggest Influence on My Music – The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. … I never knew who was singing. I never followed things that way. I still don’t. I wasn’t a student of music; I was a student of the restaurant I was in — and the waitresses. The music was a part of it. I knew what number the song was.

– Leonard Cohen (Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994)

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox: Over the years, Leonard Cohen has mentioned a number of specific songs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Cohencentric feature that began collecting these tunes for the edification and entertainment of viewers on April 4, 2009. All posts in the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series can be found at The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.

Foetus & Jim Thirlwell

Jim_Thirlwell_of_Foetus_at_the_Rathskeller

Wikipedia is useful in clarifying who/what Foetus is:

Foetus is the primary musical outlet of industrial music pioneer J. G. Thirlwell. Until 1995 the band underwent various name changes, all including the word foetus. Monikers adopted at different times include Foetus Under Glass, You’ve Got Foetus On Your Breath and Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel. After 1995 the name permanently became Foetus, though the related project The Foetus Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1997 and continues. Thirlwell acts as the sole instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter and producer for all Foetus works and as such is the only member of the band. Other artists may occasionally collaborate with Thirlwell on Foetus works but are not considered members of Foetus. Thirlwell is solely responsible for the musical output of the band.

This laudatory assessment posted by Andy Hinds at AllMusic is, however, helpful in characterizing the band’s music and style:

ache

Although some may dismiss Jim Thirwell, aka Foetus, as a confrontational, rabble-rousing noisemaker (which he is), his eccentric and wide-ranging talent is usually overlooked; the trouble is, most listeners simply don’t have the patience to find Thirwell’s genius amongst the deranged sound sculptures that are his songs….

Seemingly a musical omnivore, Thirlwell devours everything — from swing to Krautrock — and spits it back out in a scrap heap of sonic chaos, twisted beyond recognition. His oblique yet subversive lyrical themes don’t make Ache [the album in which Gums Bleed resides] any more palatable for the faint of heart. This is the sound of unfiltered imagination, absolutely unencumbered by notions of commerce or accessibility. Brilliant.

Well, Leonard Cohen did not overlook Mr. Thirlwell’s “eccentric and wide-ranging talent” nor did he lack “the patience to find Thirwell’s genius.”1 From Tortoise-Shell by Biba Kopf (New Musical Express, March 2, 1985), we learn

For his [Leonard Cohen’s] part he claims a You’ve Got Foetus On Your Breath song, called “Gums Bleed,” to be a favourite.

Cohen also lauded the same song during his 1985 appearance on the Hot Properties Talk Show With Richard Belzer.

When Jim Thirlwell signed with Cohen’s label, Sony, an interviewer asked,2

Long ago, in an interview with Leonard Cohen, he named you as a songwriter he admired, now that you two are label-mates, will we see a collaboration?<grin>

Thirlwell responded,

Yeah, I’m doing a dance remix of Suzanne….

You’ve Got Foetus On Your Breath – Gums Bleed3

Credit Due Department: Jim Thirlwell photo By Davidphenry – I took this picture with my Nikon FM, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30546898

Note: Originally posted May 23, 2013 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

_____________________________________

  1. One possible connection between Cohen and Thirlwell is Thirlwell’s collaborator, Nick Cave, who is also a long-time, ardent fan of Cohen who has covered Cohen’s songs and performed in Cohen tributes. For more about the Cave-Thirlwell connection, see Nick Cave and Foetus []
  2. SPINonline Conference With Foetus — Jim Thirlwell: April 26, 1995 []
  3. Gums Bleed – Lyrics:
    Written by Jim Thirlwell

    God! but this silence hangs heavy, it gives me a pain in the thigh
    What a weight on my shoulders..the atmosphere’s colder
    No one gets out of life alive
    You just wear your umbilical cord like a noose and make believe it’s a tie

    I got a mouth full of ulcers
    I’m digging my grave with my teeth
    This pain is silence beyond belief
    My gums bleed for you

    If this is god’s gift, he can keep it
    I can’t let myself forget about
    When I exaggerated the role of my coffee, my cigarettes
    I wear the mark of the iconoclast across my bleeding back

    I’ll be reincarnated as a hermit. (from under, the future looks black)
    I got a mouth full of ulcers
    I’m digging my grave with my teeth
    Can’t stop thinking about my lip

    This pain is silence beyond belief
    Dying to an audience of one
    My gums are on fire for you
    I’m gonna grind myself into the ground and ground myself into the grind

    Keep turning the key to wind up and kill yourself to unwind…
    I got a mouth full of ulcers
    I’m digging my grave with my teeth
    Can’t stop thinking about my lip? this pain is silence beyond belief

    Dying to an audience of one…..my gums bleed for you
    The burgers are now mounting bethlehem and my gums are on fire for you
    Hitmeonetimehitmetwotimeshitmethreetimeshitmefourtimeshitmefivetimeshitmesixtimes hitmeagain! []

One Reply to “Winner Of “Last Song I Would Have Guessed Would Be On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox” – “Gums Bleed” By You’ve Got Foetus On Your Breath”