Poetic Memory: Wheat (List)

For this edition of Poetic Memory, Wheat drummer Brendan Harney summed up his intentions better than we could’ve:

The visual aspect of music and images associated with sound, melody, etc. have always played a major role in what we do as a band. So, as I mined that a bit, I started to think about all the images related to music that have greatly affected me throughout the years. Through all of them, none have left such a deep and lasting impression as the images that I looked at as a young boy while I played the records that my mom brought home. I was fortunate to have someone in my life who collected a wide variety of music, and it’s these early images that burned themselves, along with the music of course, into my soul, and continue to influence the way I feel about what great art is really about. Some are the covers of records, and others are from the inner sleeve or gatefold—whichever struck me the most then.

Wheat released White Ink, Black Ink, their first album of new material since 2007, on July 21. Check out their single, Changes Is (MP3). You can also watch the video (above).

Here’s Brendan Harney’s Poetic Memory:

Cat Stevens

1. This is the back cover of the Cat Stevens record, Catch Bull at Four. Now this was a cool dude! I mean—c’mon—the hat, the shirt way open at the top (with the chain hanging just right), the bracelet, the cig! My goodness. He seemed to me to be totally at peace with himself and everything around him. Totally together. I wanted to be that guy for a few years straight. The hair, the beard, the perfect image of a man of his time.

Bob Dylan

2. This one is part of the inner gatefold of Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde. Now I know that this is a classic, but as much as the music blew my head off as a kid, this particular grouping of images added to the absolute otherworldliness of the record. Who’s the dude in the lower right hand corner? I assumed he was just another brilliant, cool guy in the Dylan camp. Then there’s the pliers and the framed image. What could this mean? How does he know about things that I can’t even begin to grasp? I wanted to hang out with these guys and have some deep fun.

miles davis

3. Okay. This guy still affects me greatly. A true American musical hero. A groundbreaker with enormous talent. Ahead of his time all the time. Miles Davis. Then this image from Bitches Brew! WTF! Look at those glasses. Look at this dude. You couldn’t touch that. I looked and looked and looked until I found sunglasses that looked like that. Miles you were/are the man!

paul simon

4. This cover from Paul Simon’s self-titled album still makes me smile when I see it. The songs were loose, and cool, and city—and, here’s the guy with big attitude; loose and cool himself. Scott and I did a series of band photos with snorkel coats in homage to a shared hero. Simon and Garfunkel were good, but Paul Simon on his own was way cool. No more parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme—we’re talkin’ the mother and child reunion!

Rolling Stones

5. Some Girls to me was and is the Rolling Stones’ raunchiest, raddist record of them all. I think this cover was done ’cause the original cover was somehow not gonna fly (don’t know the story). But this cover was baddass! Sexy, crazy, mean spirited! And it tied in nicely with the syrupy, junky music that spit outta the speakers as I sat cross-legged on the floor. I wondered at that age how they even let this kinda music be sold; it seemed that crazy and raw to me! Still my favorite Stones cover.


6. This cover from the Kiss record Dressed to Kill was cool and weird, and warm and off-putting at the same time. Cool, stylin’ dudes with rad rock attitude! Gene Simmons with his hand at his crotch—crazy. Could you do that? What was up with these guys? Monsters! Monsters of rock and roll! Cool—I loved monsters, loved gore! Loved Kiss!


7. This image was from the absolutely stunning booklet from the Who’s, Quadrophenia. I so bought into the story of this kid. I didn’t really even understand all of the emotional turmoil, but i somehow related. Loved the long coats and the bikes with multiple mirrors. So grand and epic! This particular picture was just mind-blowing. Don’t know why. Later in life, the first show Wheat did outside of the U.S. was at Brighton Beach. I walked that beach and pretended again that I was him.

Todd Rundgren

8. Something/Anything? – The most rad of all of Todd Rundgren’s work. And this image—it was like this mad genius playing insanely great music for himself. Totally happy and cool to be him. Whenever I get down about what music is about, I can think of this image and remember: it all starts within ourselves. Be you own judge. Make yourself happy.


9. Yes was one helluva band. They could play their collective asses off. Musicians like I had never heard, and this image from Fragile showed the dudes at their most spiritual and chill. All of those guitars—now that’s what rock was all about! Learn your shit—play your ass off! But, most of all, look like you mean it!

Black Sabbath

10. Black Sabbath. That should say all you need to know ’bout these cats. But, if the name wasn’t enough, take a look at them: rockin’ and evil! Beautiful and insane! I’m still afraid of Black Sabbath!

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