Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Some People Call Me Maurice

Steve Nieve has long been Elvis Costello's keyboardist, from This Year's Model, where the Attractions were first introduced, right up to an opera called "Welcome to the Voice" that Nieve wrote, in which Elvis and Sting starred when it was staged in Paris last month. But there was one album by Elvis Costello and the Attractions that Nieve wasn't credited on: Goodbye Cruel World, which Costello describes as "the worst album of my career." On that one, the keyboards were played by one Maurice Worm.

I always thought this was strange, since Nieve was probably the key member of the band, although since the record wasn't much good, I thought it also pointed up his value to Elvis' work. On the video for the first single, "The Only Flame in Town" (featuring our old friend Daryl Hall in full "Adult Education" mode), rather than the customary tousle-haired downcast keyboardist, you saw an idiot with a baldy sour.

But that was Steve. He was no stranger to changing his name, having been born Steven Nason and variously billed as Steve Naive and Steve Neive in addition to his customary nom de guerre. But Maurice Worm? (I'm sure he pronunced it "Morris," as the British are wont to do.) What was that all about?

I did find an interview in which the questioner noted, "In 1984, Maurice Worm said that 'Music is a boomerang.'" Nieve responds: "In 1984, Maurice Worm said a lot of things that I am not absolutely aware of." I don't find that exchange very satisfactory, but it's the only one I've found in which Nieve addresses the issue at all. (One other thing I learned from that interview was that bassist Bruce Thomas, who hasn't been in the Attractions for some time now and is apparently hated by Elvis, has written a biography of Bruce Lee.)

Here's the video for "The Only Flame in Town," in which the director goes along with the gag and calls him "Maurice." I seem to be posting a lot of lame videos lately; I'll try to find something good for you to watch.

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