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(Credit: Nmartinezr)

Music

The moment Primal Scream jammed with Liam Gallagher and Can

@josephtaysom

Krautrock and Britpop share very little in common but, thanks to Primal Scream’s madcap sessions for their album Exterminator, these two cultural behemoths briefly collided during a surreal jam session with Can and Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher.

The strange meeting of minds took place with Bobby Gillespie in 1997. Primal Scream had an open-door policy when it came to collaboration at that moment in time, and almost everyone was welcome to join in on their wild experimentalism. Significantly, this one came about organically, and some of the work produced would even appear on a later record by the band.

Can, the iconic German experimental rock band, have been heroes of Gillespie for as long as he can remember acting as one of the primary influences on his career. When he and then bassist Mani were in Cologne for a few days on press duty, they attended a dinner celebrating the recent tribute album to the German pioneers, Sacrilege.

Although they hadn’t contributed to the LP, the Primal Scream duo attended the ceremony and expressed their gratitude towards drummer Jaki Liebezeit, who agreed to work with the group. “Jaki played on three or four new tracks we just laid down a few weeks ago,” Gillespie remembered to MTV. “We did a cover of a song by the Fifth Bardo called ‘I’m Five Years Ahead of My Time.’ They were a garage-punk band, and we did it in a psychedelic-garage way, but with a modern sound. It was more psychotic and evil-sounding.”

The frontman was effusive about what they had created while in the company of Liebezeit and Gallagher. He refused to tell the publication the name of the “crazy” song they’d worked on because it was “too fucking good. I don’t want anybody to steal it from us”.

Gillespie was equally impressed with Gallagher, who played the piano on the track, and gloated that their creation had a “very Velvet Underground thing” going on. While additions from Liebezeit would make their way on to the ambitious, Exterminator, the collaboration with Gallagher remains nowhere ‘lost’.

The former Oasis singer later discussed this tale and frankly admitted that he was too over-medicated to remember anything that happened. He said, “I know there’s a story about us jamming with the guy from Can – I don’t remember him, but apparently we had a little jam. I obviously can’t play anything, so I must have sat in the corner talking absolute shit on drugs.”

In all likelihood, there’s a reason why we haven’t heard what this ramshackle collective created together, and that will almost certainly never change. While the session could have birthed something beautifully bizarre, Liam’s hazy memory from the event suggests otherwise, and its absence is unlikely to be a significant loss.