Spacebomb House Band – “30 Century Man (feat. Andy Jenkins)”

Within the cryptic verses of Scott Walker‘s “30 Century Man,” Spacebomb producer Cameron Ralston surmised a certain irreverence from their messaging. “I’ve always heard it as a rock and roll song at its core,” he says, despite the stark minimalist approach of the original: strummed acoustic guitar in one stereo channel, Walker’s lonely, crooned reverberant voice in the other. “It’s one of the more iconic recorded pieces of the 20th century,” Ralston adds, “and it would be a thankless, if not completely futile endeavor to try to do a true copy of it. Let’s go for something less restrained and more rambunctious.”

So he brought in the Spacebomb House Band, the outfit of instrumental pros and studio wizards, to transform it into what could be a garage rock Jimi Hendrix Experience cover band version of the song. Matthew E. White, Trey Pollard, Pinson Chanselle, Cameron Ralston. The full band, live in the room, minimal mics, one take style, and recorded to 1” tape. To play Walker’s role, Ralston enlisted Spacebomb recording artist Andy Jenkins. “His voice reminds me of Scott Walker’s somewhat in its baritone quality,” Ralston says. “I thought he’d be the perfect fit to connect the dots to the original version.”

Jenkins says about his performance, “The music Cameron produced was such a wild departure from the original that I tried to stick closer to Walker’s delivery rather than try to riff, keep everything centered.” Walker’s surly tone, undercut by perfect lyrics, attracted him to the project. “There’s such a surrealist, deliberately wrongheaded message on one level: If you can’t get it together, freeze until the world is better. Terrible advice. The song covers a great deal of ground in a very short time. A lesson for us all.”

Upon his death in 2019, the BBC called Walker “one of the most enigmatic and influential figures in rock history,” and “30 Century Man” is one of his gems of a song that reflect that, a seed that will continue to sprout for hundreds of years to come.

Spacebomb House Band – “30 Century Man (feat. Andy Jenkins)” (SB042)
DIG | 04.10.2020

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