Love Letter to a Record: D.C Cross on Beck’s ‘Pay No Mind (Snoozer)’

D.C Cross
D.C Cross | Supplied
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Music Feeds’ Love Letter to a Record series asks artists to reflect on their relationship with the music they love and share stories about how it has influenced their lives. Here, Darren “D.C” Cross salutes Beck’s ‘Pay No Mind (Snoozer)’ from 1994’s anti-folk landmark, Mellow Gold.

D.C Cross is the latest project for Darren Cross of Gerling, Jep and Dep and The E.L.F. fame. Cross will release his new album, Wizrad, on Friday, 3rd November. The album is teased as “adventures in ecstatic guitar and madcap ambient”, drawing influence from folk guitar maestros such as John Fahey, Roy Harper and Bert Jansch. Listen D.C Cross’ latest single ‘The Regicide Of Daniel Ek Made No Sound’ at the bottom of this page.

Beck – ‘Pay No Mind (Snoozer)’

D.C Cross: I remember first hearing Beck’s ‘Loser’ blasting from a radio boombox in the art room in high school, most probably tuned into triple j. It really hit me in the escape zone of my existence… mixing grunge with sad sack, anti-folk scum poetry, Ween/Butthole Surfers sarcastic comedy and Beastie Boys sampling. Yep: I was hooked instantly.

I got the Mellow Gold CD from a discount CD centre for $10 and quickly fell in love with the whole Beck experience. The lyrics of ‘Pay No Mind (Snoozer)’ resonated with my post-teenage self. It was song two on the album, wedged between ‘Loser’ and ‘Fuckin With My Head (Mountain Dew Rock)’.

“Tonight the city is full of morgues

And all the toilets are overflowing

There’s shopping malls coming out of the walls

As we walk out among the manure”

– ‘Pay No Mind (Snoozer)’, Beck

I was like, “What the hell?” Yes, everything is shit, but little did I know the 90s were not as shit as I thought. It’s like a folk song taking the piss. It’s the real anti-folk sentiment that I found inspiring. It was clever, dark, funny, honest, all delivered by this elfish, smurfy guy with the devil’s haircut and a third-hand thrift shop wardrobe, with the slacker folk guitar – like Neil Young, if he was snoozin’.

The clip really sealed the deal for me and influenced my lens of lo-fi popular culture forever. The video was made by a guy called Steve Hanft, who also did the ‘Loser’ and ‘Beercan’ clips – Steve Hanft was my Andy Warhol and Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. The ‘Pay No Mind’ clip stars legend skateboarder Mark “Gonz” Gonzales who was a hero of mine as well growing up. So, all in all, it was an overloading of cool to my little world. Although, most of the shots are of Gonz in slow-mo kooking tricks.

“90s Beck ripped up the rule book, and I still find his inspiration in my creative DNA to this day”

My instrumental guitar music as D.C Cross can be pinpointed to an inspiration I found on the last track of Mellow Gold – after the song ‘Blackhole’, there’s a hidden track called ‘Analog Odyssey’ with open, detuned acoustic guitar. This song first made me detune my acoustics, which at time were hunks of junk. I now realise that the tuning Beck used in this song was open C, which is one of the most influential open tunings in the book for the style of solo guitar I play now. Beck nicked if off John Fahey or Muddy Waters and gave it to me.

My new record also has a few skits, weirdo ambient soundscapes logged in amongst the instrumental guitar fingerpicking. 90s Beck ripped up the rule book and I still find his inspiration in my creative DNA even to this day. I love you, 90s Beck.

D.C Cross – ‘The Regicide of Daniel Ek Made No Sound’

D.C Cross Wizrad Tour 2023

  • Thursday, 9th November – LazyBones Lounge Restaurant & Bar, Sydney NSW

  • Saturday, 11th November – The Press Book House, Newcastle NSW

  • Sunday, 19th November – Side B Vinyl Bar, Blackheath NSW

  • Friday, 24th November – The Archies Creek Hotel, Archies Creek VIC

  • Saturday, 25th November – Rocksteady Records (in-store), Melbourne VIC

  • Sunday, 25th November – The Merri Creek Tavern, Melbourne VIC

  • Tuesday, 28th November – The Curious Rabbit, Wagga Wagga NSw

  • Wednesday, 29th November – The Street Theatre, Canberra ACT (supporting Xylouris White)

  • Thursday, 30th November – El Horses, Nowra NSW

  • Friday, 1st December – Wollongong Town Hall, Wollongong NSW (supporting Xylouris White)

Tickets here

Further Reading

Beck Review – Good Humour and Catalogue Deep Cuts at Melbourne Acoustic Show

Love Letter to a Record: Spiderbait on Jeff Wayne’s ‘The War of the Worlds’

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