Rock Section

Another Rock Section cover version!
Opal – Rock Section – Blacksburg 1987


The Julian Cope / Andrew Weatherall remix of Rock Section












Julian Cope releases re-mix of Skin Patrol/One Million Fuzztone Guitars classic ‘ROCK SECTION’!

Limited edition 12″ available only from Rough Trade

Download the track at Bandcamp


The Legend of Rock Section

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

The Legend of “Rock Section”

Over the years many groups have laid claim to writing this “Death Rock Classic”, so now’s the time for the whole sordid mess to be cleared up!

(See ‘Conversation from beyond the grave with: ONE MILLION FUZZTONE GUITARS by Frank Worrall in MELODY MAKER, June 12, 1982 Page 13 on our Press Page; “I’ve just discovered that one of my favourite songs by The Colours Out Of Time, isn’t actually by The Colours Out Of Time after all.”)

According to the author and writer of the song, the original “Rock Section” Séance’s took place in “The Bat Cave”, Mansfield Road, Nottingham during November 1978.

The whole project took 5-6 sessions, with differing participants for each session, mainly members of “Skin Patrol”, but including others who have now “disappeared” (we think).

The typed transcript of these séances (by Robert Courtney) runs to some 10 pages.

Much of the dialogue is very garbled, but the intelligible parts are extremely “Morrison-esque”, ie. “Another Weekend Slaughter, Rock and Roll is What We’re Killing”, “La La La La Rock Section”. Not to mention, “Give Up Your Kicks, Stop Waking The Dead, Or I Will Kill You, Like The Skin On Milk”.

Now, whether or not you believe this, “Morrison” also provided a name and address in the USA in the concluding session, demanding that we send a letter containing the transcript (which I still have) in order to acquire the music (to accompany the lyrics), in what was now evolving into “Rock Section”.

The occupier of the address didn’t write back, however, and the letter was “Returned to Sender”. This I took to be an elaborate joke about death.

The contents of the transcribed sessions were re-structured into a semblance of a song by Robert Courtney, along with other lyrical elements, and in the absence of musical guidance from the above (or beyond) he provided the first rehearsal (also held in the “Bat Cave”) with a two-note riff derived from the first LP he had ever bought (and of which a tape exists including Robert Courtney singing the riff of the song to the guitarist Oliver Hoon) at the time, before the first ever rendition.

Original Lyrics:

Another Weekend Slaughter
Rock’n’Roll is what we’re killing
I don’t want to dance
I want to die
To the music
Of the new Rock Section
Rock Section

Give up your kicks
Stop waking the dead
I don’t want to dance
I want to die
To the music
Of the new Rock Section
Rock Section

I will kill you
Time now for us for fun
If you are joking
You are not my friend
I killed him
Like the skin on milk
Rock Section
Rock Section

“Skin Patrol” first performed “Rock Section” in its entirety in late November 1978 at the Imperial Hotel, Nottingham. The recording is great and will be re-mastered later this year (It has now been).

Early versions were 25 minutes long. Most audiences weaned on the early “wham, bam” of early “Skin Patrol”, were now stunned, not only by the extreme length, but also by the “laid back” delivery of the music, a two note riff repeated ad-infinitum.

Early in 1979 saw “Skin Patrol” playing “Rock Section”, somewhat “beefed-up”, in Manchester before the “Tall Buildings”, who were later to evolve into the “Colours Out Of Time”, and who too were struck by this weird number and eventually released what was basically a “tidied-up” cover version of that performance as their first single (without my knowledge or consent).

The rhythm section for “Skin Patrol” at this gig was provided by Keith (of “Plummet Airlines” ) on drums and Darryl Hunt (of “Plummet Airlines” and later “The Pogues”) on bass.

It was at this gig that the famous “stop/start” that characterises later versions appeared, completely unrehearsed at Keith’s hands, certainly one of the best drummers that we have ever played with.

Also concerned by the heavy negative vibe of the song Robert Courtney had started to sing “I don’t want to die”, rather than “I want to die”, mixed in with some influences of Yoruba poetry with this part later metamorphosing into a separate song called “Voice in the Wilderness” following an encounter ‘at the crossroads’ with Cliff Richards.

Alternative/Additional Lyrics

I didn’t want to die
I didn’t want to die
Death comes like a knife under water
Some days just don’t turn out like they ought’a
Rock Section

I’m a voice in the wilderness
A voice you do not hear
Contempt illuminates
Eternal bullshit baby
Sing to me
Cliff Richards

Because son you’re gonna be
A bachelor boy
‘Til the day
That you

When “Skin Patrol” eventually became “One Million Fuzztone Guitars”, “Rock Section/Voice In The Wilderness” formed the centrepiece of the early live sets.

Rock Section is still part of the One Million Fuzztone Guitars set today!


‘Rock Section’ still exerts a strange hold over people and has been covered by other bands such as Mazzy Star.

Mazzy Star – Rock Section 1993


Mazzy Star – Rock Section – Live 1997 The Mint, L.A.


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