Legendary underground cult artist Robyn Hitchcock reveals his creative process as never before. This Sundance Channel Original Production chronicles the origins of a forthcoming album (featuring 8 brand new songs), the formation of his band The Venus 3, and their U.S. tour. Famed for his twisted rock lyrics that are at once blithe, scathing and deep, Hitchcock is one of England s most influential songwriters and performers with a body of work spanning over 20 albums and three decades. Joined in music and conversation by friends and bandmates like, Peter Buck & Bill Rieflin of R.E.M., Scott McCaughey from Young Fresh Fellows, Chris Ballew from The Presidents Of The United States, John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin, and Nick Lowe, Robyn lets loose his creative genius in a free-flowing musical interview that gives us an unprecedented glimpse into his mind and craft.
Classic songs like I Often Dream of Trains and priceless footage of Robin performing Uncorrected Personality Traits & My Wife & My Dead Wife with former Soft Boy Morris Windsor will delight staunch fans and convert new ones.
The title refers to what many listeners classify as the sum total of his subject matter, but Robyn Hitchcock insists that his songs are about more than Sex, Food, Death... and Insects
. While the first three of those items are undeniably important--calling them "corridors to life," the English singer-songwriter notes that we need sex to bring us into the world, food to sustain us while we're there, and death to usher us out--Hitchcock explains that his tunes are really about what he calls "the shock of existence." Recorded primarily in 2006 and produced by the Sundance Channel, this hourlong program (plus another half hour of bonus material) finds Hitchcock and some stellar cohorts rehearsing and performing (on stage and in the studio) a variety of his songs, many of them new at the time. Principal among his collaborators is R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, whose band the Venus 3 (with drummer Bill Rieflin and bassist Scott McCaughey) collaborated with Hitchcock on the '06 album Ole Tarantula
and later joined him on tour; also featured are Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones (playing mandolin), Nick Lowe, and "American primitive" masters Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, among others. Calling himself "a frightened, angry person" (and adding, "thats probably why my stuff isnt totally insubstantial"), Hitchcock comes across as smart, reflective, and self-effacing. Amusing, too; anyone with song titles like "Note to Self: Kill More Flies" and "My Wife & My Dead Wife" obviously has a twisted and appealing sense of humor. What's more, as he puts it, "My music doesn't appeal to meatheads." Nonetheless, by any objective measure, Hitchcock isn't much of a singer, and while the lyrics are never less than intriguing, his melodies and chord structures lack originality. But that's just one opinion; perhaps the best thing about Sex, Food, Death... and Insects
is that it with over 20 Robyn Hitchcock tunes here for the listening, you'll have ample opportunity to form your own. --Sam Graham