Leicester grebo mavericks GAYE BYKERS ON ACID finally made good on their long delayed 100 Club show last November. Vive Le Rock‘s Pete Woods was there…
GAYE BYKERS ON ACID LONDON 100 CLUB
Two years after tickets were originally purchased, everything may not be completely groovy (baby) yet but Grebos are back on patrol. A ‘stewed to the gills’ 100 club on the penultimate night of this tour sees the throngs assembled and ready to be transported back to the late 80s when GBOA were playing legendary events like Reading Festival, Acid Daze and Treworgey Tree Fayre. Brain synapses are fired straight there as they strike up the Clockwork Orange intro tape and blast-off into the first song they ever wrote ‘TV Cabbage’. Although Tony Byker living in Tokyo was unable to make this tour, stand in grizzled road-hog Tom Stanley looks and sounds the part, trading riffs with Robber and the band seem refreshed and in their element. Mary proves perfect host as they drive us deeper into ‘Delirium’ and we ‘Git Down’, citing Iain Banks’ The Crow Road as early inspiration and suggesting we visit the bar as we get to grips with newer number ‘Sodium Sun’. The punkish swagger of ‘Rad Dude’ sounding like The Stupids going all-out with The Beastie Boys is a definite highlight and by closer ‘Nosedive Karma’ we are all truly giddy from shaking our thangs. Pete Woods
Grebo! The Loud & Lousy Story Of Gaye Bykers On Acid And Crazyhead by Vive Le Rock‘s Rich Deakin is available now here!
Birmingham post-punk icons THE NIGHTINGALES have announce a string of UK dates for the Spring.
Formed out of the ashes of original Class of ’77 Brum punks The Prefects, who came to the world’s attention on The Clash’s White Riot Tour, The Nightingales released three albums before splitting in 1986. Reconvening in 2004 with Robert Lloyd fronting a new line-up, the band recently achieved a degree of mainstream success when they were the subject of the widely acclaimed documentary King Rocker by Stewart Lee and Michael Cummings.
The King Rocker soundtrack album is available here.
The band have also lined-up a 12″ remix EP The New Nonsense, while expanded reissues of their 80s albums Hysterics and In The Good Old Country Way are due out shortly, with a brand new album on the cards for the Autumn.
The Nightingales and The Prefects can also be found on the forthcoming compilation album Un-Scene: Post-Punk Birmingham 1978 – 1982 due out in March through Easy Action.
Catch The Nightingales live at…
Tue 19 Apr – Glasgow, Cathouse Wed 20 Apr – Liverpool, Cavern Club Fri 22 Apr – Darlington, Forum Sat 23 Apr – Manchester, Deaf Institute Sun 24 Apr – Leeds, Key Club Tue 26 Apr – Norwich, Epic Studios Wed 27 Apr – Oxford, O2 Academy 2 Thu 28 Apr – Winchester, Railway Fri 29 Apr – Brighton, Patterns Sat 30 Apr – Birmingham, O2 Academy 2 Mon 2 May – Bristol, Thekla Tue 3 May – London, Garage Thu 5 May – Leek, Foxlowe Arts Centre Fri 6 May – Hebden Bridge, Trades Club Sat 7 May – Nottingham, Bodega
Read a new interview with Robert Lloyd in the latest edition of Vive Le Rock!
Punk-blues troubadour THE BLUES AGAINST YOUTH has a new video which he’s premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
The appropriately automotive ‘Particle Filter Blues’ is the first single from his latest album As The Tide Gets High And Low, which is due out next week.
“Along the never ending process of getting and shaking the blues you may bump into a type of blues you can’t shake , no matter how hard you try,” he says. “You just gotta deal with it. The Diesel Particulate Filter can be one of those unshakable ones when it starts to show signs of subsidence. A real itch when you’re on tour and driving to the next destination. So you will find out that you and your vehicle have to put your heads together to keep consumption low, watch out for the oil levels and driving smoothly fast. Preferably on a highway.”
Written and recorded under Covid restrictions, As The Tide Gets High And Low is TBAY aka Gianni’s six full-length, following on from 2019’s Evil Flatmates. Hailing initially from Rome, he’s been resident in Turin since 2014, from where he’s established himself as one of Italy’s leading punk-blues protagonists, touring throughout Europe, the UK and the USA, sharing stages along the way with the likes of Bob Log III, DM Bob, CW Stoneking and Popa Chubby.
‘Particle Filter Blues’ is available from Spotify, Bandcamp and other digital platforms.
Post-punk vets THE MONOCHROME SET have released a new single ahead of their forthcoming new album.
‘Hello, Save Me’ is taken from Allhallowtide, the London band’s sixteenth studio album and fifth for German label Tapete, following on from 2019’s Fabula Mendax.
Formed in 1978 out of the ashes of The B-Sides, who had featured a young Adam Ant, The Monochrome Set include two founding members of The Ants, guitarist Lester Square and bassist Andy Warren, who remains in the band today alongside guitarist/singer Bid. The current line-up also features drummer Mike Urban and keyboard-player Athena Ayren.
Like recent albums, Allhallowtide was recorded at Brixton’s One Cat Studio with engineer/producer Jon Clayton. It’s set for release on 22 March.
RHODA DAKAR pays tribute to DAVID BOWIE in honour of his 75th birthday with a reggae cover of the Duke’s ‘The Man Who Sold The World’.
The release comes with the announcement of the BODYSNATCHERS’ singer’s signing to the Sunday Best label.
Recorded at South London’s Perry Vale Studios with Pama International producer Lenny Bignell, the track features contributions from The Aggrolites keyboard-player Roger Rivas (rated by Lynval Golding as the best reggae keyboardist around) and Jimmy Regal & The Royals’ Joff Watkins on harmonica, plus rhythm section Andi McLean and Marley Drummond.
“I was bewitched by seeing Bowie perform Starman on TOTP,” Rhoda recalls. “I was 12 going on 13 and thereafter he held sway over all my teenage years. Friendships, music, clothes, attitudes – all were influenced forever. It’s hard to choose, but ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ is one of my favourite Bowie albums. There had been the traditional reggae version of the title track back in the day, but the vocals lacked commitment, so we thought we’d do a proper, modern version.”
‘The Man Who Sold The World’ is the second in a series of five 7” singles (following her cover of Morrissey’s ‘Every Day Is Like Sunday’) all mastered by dubstep pioneer Jason Goz at Transition Mastering – each b/w dub versions – which will be released from now up until Rhoda’s new album next autumn. Each release comes packaged in an exclusive sleeve designed by renowned Sheffield artist Pete McKee.
Coinciding with the release of the single, Rhoda will join revered multi-instrumentalist Terry Edwards (Near Jazz Experience, Higsons, The Blockheads, Madness) and a group of exceptional musicians at his ‘Bowie + Beyond’ (covering the period 1977-1980) nights at Pizza Express, Holborn, London on 5th and 6th January. Tickets on sale here.
Then in March, Rhoda will be playing an eight-date tour, culminating in a London headline show at the legendary 100 Club. Dates are…
Wed 2 March: The Cavern, Liverpool Thu 3 March: The Cluny, Newcastle Fri 4 March: Cathouse, Glasgow Sat 5 March: Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh Fri 11 March: Sally Brown’s, Bradford Sat 12 March: Night Owl, Birmingham Thurs 17 March: Buttermarket, Shrewsbury Fri 18 March: The 100 Club, London
As with last year, the lack of opportunities to play gigs has forced bands to use their initiative and consequently we’ve showered with some excellent videos, many of them being premiered here on the Vive Le Rock website. Competition has unsurprisingly been very tough, but here are just some of the ones that we loved…
20. CHELSEA – CA$H
You’d think original ’76 punks Chelsea should be taking it easy but no, latest album Meanwhile Gardens represents a new lease of life that many of the current crop of young pretenders would have a job following.
19. HOODOO GURUS – WORLD OF PAIN
With a wave of touring inked in just as Covid struck, the Aussie legend have showered us with a raft of excellent new singles and videos, of which this – celebrating their nation’s barroom culture – is the best. Look out for a new album in 2022.
18. THE BLUE CARPET BAND – B-MOVIE BOOGIE
These north Londoners go from strength to strength, their boisterous psychobilly revival now given fetching new go-faster stripes by a couple of members of the legendary Demented Are Go.
17. DEALING WITH DAMAGE – SLOW SHADOW
A supergroup of 90s punks, for this mindbending video from their debut album Ask More Questions, Dealing With Damage journeyed to the wilds of Surrey where they spent their idyllic childhoods. Recreating their first acid trips or something…
16. JAMES DOMESTIC – FAZE OUT
Frontman of East Anglian DIY punk pioneers, James Domestic channels a brown acid B52s on this track from his forthcoming debut album, due out this Spring.
15. THE MEFFS – SCUM
Staying in East Anglia, one of a number of angry young bands emerging from Britain’s oldest town (that’s Colchester), The Meffs offer this searing demolition of the UK’s most reviled tabloid.
14. PROFESSIONALS – SPIKE ME BABY
Filmed in West London’s iconic Olympia building, The Professionals offer this evidence that their reunion was no nostalgia act, delivering their second excellent album since their retooling in SNAFU.
13. OFF – HOLIER THAN THOU
SoCal punk supergroup deliver a decimating cover from Metallica’s Blacklist album, accompanied by this brilliant long-form video featuring a fully Oscar-deserving lead role Jesus Lizard frontman David Yow.
12. THE SCIENTISTS – SCIENCE OF SUAVE
At the time of their recent reformation, Aussie post-punk legends The Scientists swore they’d never make another album. Well guess what! Always unpredictable, they delivered this brilliant clip as a taste, proof that you shouldn’t believe want you read on the ‘net and should always listen to the scientists.
11. DAN SARTAIN – I DON’T CARE (OOH LA LA LA)
In a year full of sad departures, the loss of Dan Sartain bit particularly deep, not least because he’d just recorded (and made videos for) one of the best albums of his career. The guy clearly had a lot to give.
10. CULT FIGURES – CHICKEN BONES
In a year when the phrase ‘Birmingham post-punk’ was on everybody’s lips – well some of them – Solihull’s Cult Figures made good on their recent comeback with Deritend, a career high, from which ‘Chicken Bones’ is taken.
9. MILLIE MANDERS & THE SHUT-UP – PANIC
We had to go right back to the start of the year for this one. Taken from one of our albums of 2020, this eco-anthem was a wake-up call the world. A year on, how many woke up?
8. AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS – HERTZ
We said they were going to be huge, and these Aussie reprobates look like proving us right – aren’t we always? Just one of a number of great tracks from this year’s Comfort To Me, an album that shows real growth.
7. MAD DADDY – RIDE WITH ME
The Isle of Man isn’t over burdened with ball-tearing punk rock’n’roll, as far as we can tell, so the arrival on the Vive Le Rock turntable of Mad Daddy’s debut album was both a surprise and a headbanging delight. We can’t wait to catch ’em live.
6. DESPERATE MEASURES – SCARS & MEMORIES
It took 40 years to get here but Desperate Measure have finally arrived. So out of control they had to make this video twice, their mini-album Rinsed and support dates with The Professionals showed a band teetering on the brink of greasy rock’n’roll revolution, brothers and sisters.
5. CHUBBY AND THE GANG – COMING UP TOUGH
If you’d told us twenty years ago that in 2021 the kids would be getting off on a fusion of Oi and Highway To Hell-period AC/DC reared in a West London squat, we’d have laughed in your face, but been secretly delighted. Chubby And The Gang deserve the praise.
4. BOB VYLAN – GDP
We’ve never needed someone like Bob Vylan so bad, continuing to challenge and tell it like it is. Bob for PM? He gets our vote.
3. FEROCIOUS DOG – WILL YOU
Delivering possibly the album of their career with The Hope, the Notts folk-punks took the Hazel O’Connor hit (with help from Hazel herself), delivering a truly touching video that goes to the heart of the sense of isolation and loneliness, and indeed the glimmer of hope, that many of us have felt over the past year.
2. THE STRANGLERS – AND IF YOU SHOULD SEE DAVE
The tragic loss of Dave Greenfield last year hit many of us hard, not least his bandmate in The Stranglers. Yet somehow the recovered enough to deliver this poignant, and incredibly frank, tribute. How could they follow that?
1. THE STRANGLERS – THIS SONG
By getting Stuart Pearce to star – who knew he was so good at parkour?! You can read interviews with Stuart and The Stranglers in the latest edition of Vive Le Rock!
Greek newcomers THE LIPTARDS have just unveiled their debut single.
Fusing hardcore punk energy and rock’n’roll ramalama, ‘Paycheck’ is taken from the Thessaloniki quintet’s forthcoming debut album Bowery Smile.
Recorded at Dare Studios in Katerini, the band say, “The idea behind the recordings was that all songs had to be recorded live as much as possible in order to capture the feeling and energy of a Liptards concert. Later on, it was sent to Magnus Lindberg (Cult Of Luna, Imperial State Electric, The Dahmers) in Stockholm to be mastered. Again, trying to maintain that feeling of live music.”
‘Paycheck’ is available now through Spotify and all the usual digital platforms.
THE DAMNED have been forced to reschedule their original line-up shows once again.
First announced in September 2020, the six dates – featuring original members Captain Sensible, Brian James, Dave Vanian and Rat Scabies – had been booked for July this year. However, the continued presence of Covid saw them rescheduled to February 2020.
Now with the current concerns over the Omicron variant, the band have taken the decision to reschedule the dates next autumn.
The new dates are…
Fri 28 Oct 2022- London Eventim Apollo Sat 29 Oct 2022 – London Eventim Apollo
Thu 3rd Nov 2022 – Manchester O2 Apollo Fri 4 Nov 2022 – Glasgow O2 Academy Sat 5 Nov 2022- Birmingham O2 Academy
Support bands for the shows are the same as previously announced: The Skids (London 28), The Wildhearts (London 29), TV Smith & The Bored Teenagers (London 28, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham), Penetration (London 29, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham); with Smalltown Tigers opening on all dates.
Original tickets remain valid for all shows. New tickets are available here.
French post-punk supergroup VANILLA BLUE have announced the release of their debut album for the New Year.
Taking their name from a track by Chicago punk legends Naked Raygun and hailing from the eastern city of Saint-Étienne, the quartet feature members of three of that city’s best bands: Zero Gain, Protex Blue and Sixpack, but with a collective CV that alights on more than 50 more.
Taking their lead from the ferocious melodic punk tones of Hüsker Dü that have been such an influence on Zero Gain, the band have tempered the sound still more with the power-pop licks of the Replacements and Big Star.
Calling on French punk legend Pit Samprass, formerly of Burning Heads to produce alongside engineer Alex Borel, the quartet laid down the 11 tracks that make up Dark Cities in seven days, including the mixing!
In the topsy-turvy world of today, it’s nice to know that there are some things you can rely on and today SLADE unveil a new video for their Xmas evergreen ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’.
Unbelievably, the animated clip is the first ever official video for the song!
Quickly selling over a million copies on its first release in 1973, it was the Black Country rockers sixth No.1 hit, and has since spent a bauble-busting 105 weeks on the charts, re-entering the countdown for the 26th time this week.
“The video is very unusual and comical,” says Noddy Holder. “It does sum up the band’s characters HO HO HO!”
This year the single has extra meaning coming as it does amid a major vinyl reissue programme for the band, doubtless many of which will be bulging a few stockings on the wall this year.
The next reissue, due in January (so you’ll have to postpone the Christmas comedown), is their classic Slade Alive!, originally released in March ’72 and rising to No.2 in the album chart, and featuring the breakthrough hit ‘Get Down And Get With It’ and their mammoth take on Steppenwolf’s ‘Born To Be Wild’.
Released on 28 January on red/black splatter vinyl in gatefold sleeve through BMG, Slade Alive! is available to pre-order here.
THE DAMNED are to have the story of their first incarnation told by the band members themselves in a lavish new book.
In the run-up the the punk legends’ reunion dates in February 2022, Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible, Brian James and Rat Scabies have all contributed to the volume via brand new interviews.
Charting the band’s career from their formation The Damned: 1976 – 1978 tells the story of their whirlwind early years, including the first ever UK punk single (‘New Rose’), first ever UK punk album (Damned Damned Damned) and first ever US tour by a UK punk band, leading up to their misunderstood second album Music For Pleasure and subsequent demise in early ’78.
The limited edition deluxe hardback volume is lavishly illustrated with photographs by renowned photographer Erica Echenberg. Each copy features a book plate, signed by all four original members.
Due for publication in January through Away With Media, The Damned: 1976 – 1978 is available to pre-order here.
As previously announced, the original line-up of The Damned play the following dates…
FRI 11 FEB – GLASGOW O2 ACADEMY with Penetration, TV Smith & The Bored Teenagers, Smalltown Tigers
SAT 12 FEB – MANCHESTER O2 APOLLO with Penetration, TV Smith & The Bored Teenagers, Smalltown Tigers
WED 16 FEB – BIRMINGHAM O2 ACADEMY with Penetration, TV Smith & The Bored Teenagers, Smalltown Tigers
FRI 18 FEB – LONDON EVENTIM APOLLO with The Skids, TV Smith & The Bored Teenagers, Smalltown Tigers
SAT 19 FEB – LONDON EVENTIM APOLLO with The Wildhearts, Penetration, Smalltown Tigers
Congratulations to our old friend JAZ COLEMAN on receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Gloucestershire.
Honouring Coleman, Stephen Marston, Vice-Chancellor of University of Gloucestershire, said, “As a university, we were proud to honour Jaz’s achievements by awarding him an Honorary Doctorate of Music at our recent Graduation Ceremonies in recognition of his significant contribution to the arts and, in particular, his contributions to both contemporary and classical music. His career and achievements resonate with many of our students, particularly those aiming for careers in music, creative arts, and performance.”
To mark the occasion, local artist, Andy Dice Davies was commissioned to paint Jaz’s portrait on an existing site in Cheltenham. The 20-foot-high portrait can be viewed at the High Street Car park, Swindon Road entrance.
“It’s been such an honour to have painted Jaz,” says Davies. “Seeing Killing Joke on the Tube in 1985 changed my musical taste and I’ve been a fan ever since. I first saw them later that year at The Elephant Fayre in Cornwall and his performance blew me away!”
Returning to the town of his birth, fresh from recording new Killing Joke material in Prague, Dr Coleman said, “Cheltenham gave me everything. I learned all my music at St Mary’s Church, Charlton Kings, The North Gloucestershire Youth Orchestra and Cheltenham Young People’s Orchestra. It has been a long journey, and I am deeply touched by the recognition by my home town. And as for the mural, I’m blown away. I’m absolutely blown the fuck away.”
As previously announced, Killing Joke head out on the Honour The Fire UK tour this Spring. They’re joined at all shows by The Imbeciles, with Brix Smith as special guest in London. Full dates are…
March 2022 28th Mon Cardiff Tramshed 29th Tue Nottingham Rock City 31st Thu Bristol O2 Academy April 2022 1st Fri Liverpool O2 Academy 2nd Sat Birmingham O2 Institute 4th Mon Manchester Albert Hall 5th Tue Newcastle Boiler Shop 6th Wed Glasgow Barrowland 8th Fri Leeds O2 Academy 9th Sat London Eventim Apollo Hammersmith
SENSELESS THINGS have today announced a new website.
A statement on the site promises to provide “newly restored music, unseen footage and unreleased recordings by the group – a loving celebration of the happy days & good times with Mark, Ben, Cass & Morgan.”
Currently, the online store offers a range of merch plus a rare download of a December 1989 show where the foursome played support to Buzzcocks.
Formed in 1986, the Twickenham band released several chart-troubling singles and four albums before splitting in 1995. They reformed for a handful of shows – including a sell-out performance at Shepherds Bush Empire – in 2017. It was always hoped they’d make the reunion more permanent, but frontman Mark Keds sadly passed away earlier this year.
BLACK SABBATH legend TONY IOMMI has combined the launch of a new men’s fragrance with his first new electric music in eight years.
‘Scent Of Dark’ is an appropriately doomy instrumental piece which finds the rock god collaborating with Sergio Momo, the brains (and nose) behind luxury perfume brand Xerjoff and an accomplished rock guitarist to boot.
At the same time, the pair have come up with the fragrance, which will be available in two separate bottles – Monkey Special – taking its name from the logo on one of Iommi’s Gibson SG collectors’ models – and the limited edition Signed Crystal.
Perhaps surprisingly, Iommi has been a fragrance fan for some years…
“It’s something I’ve always been interested in, ever since the early days of products like Brut and Old Spice, which I’d always get given for Christmas,” remembers Tony. “Once I started touring the world with Sabbath though, I started discovering different sorts of fragrances from other countries and began collecting them on tour.
“I met Sergio through another friend of mine Jimmy Crutchley (who plays bass on ‘Scent Of Dark’) and Sergio kindly sent me a box of his fragrances and asked if I’d be interested in creating my own, which I certainly wasn’t expecting,” laughs Iommi. “I had no idea how that would work, but Sergio suggested I come up with a list of things I like the smell of, which I did. He developed some different samples made up from my suggestions and I picked the one I liked; the project moved forward from there.”
Tony Iommi Monkey Special and Signed Crystal by Xerjoff Blends will be available from 29th November in selected shops and at Xerjoffuniverse.com
Rising star VANITY ROSE has a new single and video out today.
We’ll let vanity describe herself in her own words…
“Hi, my name’s Vanity Rose, I am a new wave/post-punk artist from Bedford,” she says. “I love nothing more than writing songs with a bit of bollox in them. My influences are Iggy Pop, X-Ray Spex, Blondie, Wendy O Williams, Marc Bolan, Romeo Void and bloody loads more!!!”
‘Control Of Animal’ is not taken from her new album Hooligans Shampoo, which is available digitally from Spotify, Amazon and all the usual digital platforms. It’s also available on CD via her Facebook page.
Long-lost West Country post-punks LIFE STUDIES have just issued a career-spanning anthology.
The Gloucester trio only managed to release one EP – 1983’s Homeward – during their lifetime, but achieved a modicum of fame thanks to the record being picked up for airplay by John Peel.
The band made several recordings during their brief career before splitting, but continued to make music, which can be found on Joy Riding. Vive Le Rock caught up with band-member Phil Thomas to hear the band’s story…
How did the band get together? How old were you at the time?
The kernel of the group was always me and Graham Nicholson. In true rock’n’roll fashion, we first met at a David Bowie gig in 1978 so I’d have been 17, Gray 18. We found that we shared similar musical tastes, punk, Bowie, Roxy, Talking Heads, and I played a bit of guitar and Gray had started playing the drums, so we formed a band. Gray’s colleague from work, Tony, came in on bass, then his next-door neighbour, Nick, who really knew how to play, on guitar. He’s responsible for the riffs on the early ‘punkier’ stuff. Nick moved on after a couple of gigs and we started playing as a three-piece. This incarnation is what you can hear on the tracks ‘Territory’ and ‘New Friends’ for example.
Was there much of a ‘scene’ in Gloucester at the time? If so, what other bands were you playing/hanging out with?
There was a pretty good ‘scene’ in and around Gloucester. The first local band I remember was Demob, a fairly hardcore punk band who did pretty well given the thousands of bands that grew out of the punk scene nationally. There’s a good Facebook group that gives a far more comprehensive overview than I ever could. And the fact that it has nearly 500 members suggests there’s a lot of love for the bands who were around at the time.
I understand Animals That Swim’s Del Crabtree was in the band at one point….? Any other famous names pass through the ranks?
I knew Del from school and the village we all lived in, Brockworth, was quite small so everyone ended up hanging out with one another at some time or other. As we evolved into the next incarnation, as Tony left and Martyn [Bennett] joined us, we shifted to a more acoustic sound, inspired by the bands like the Pale Fountains, Felt and a lot of the Cherry Red stuff that was coming out on that label. Martyn was another mate from school and began to learn the guitar, pretty soon outclassing all of us, and the trio of Gray, Mart and I became the Life Studies that most people remember. Del came along to augment the sound with his trumpet. I don’t think anyone else who got involved with us went on to become famous.
What sort of gigs were you playing? Did you get to support any touring bands?
We did quite a few local gigs as Life Studies. Gray tended to organise them, venues were still limited but a few local entrepreneurs would set up gig nights at various places around town. The legendary venues in Glos were The Barge, Semington (an actual Barge in the docks), that was the centre of the local arts scene. The British Flag, a pub now renamed The Tall Ships, that held regular gigs for a whole variety of bands. We also played our local pubs in Brockworth too. One story I never tire of telling is that one of Banarama’s first gigs was supporting us in Cheltenham. We had a slot supporting post-punk poster boys Department S, whose single ‘Is Vic There?’ was in the charts and their singer Vaughn Toulouse had brought along ‘three girls’ who are going to mime to their new record ‘Aie A Mwana’. I can’t recall how they went down but as the saying goes ‘people were still booing them when we came on!’
How did the single get picked up by John Peel? Did you ever meet him?
We decided to make a single which we recorded at a place called Spadger Studios just outside Gloucester which was a converted barn, on a farm, with egg boxes (naturally) on the walls and ceiling for soundproofing. We had rehearsed there a lot and got on well with the owner, John [Eeles], so we decided to record a single. It was our first time in a ‘proper’ studio and like kids in a sweet shop we threw everything at the tunes. John had an early keyboard that had settings for organ, vibes, piano all the usual stuff so we just piled on the instruments! 40 years later a nice stripped back version of ‘Girl On Fire’ would be lovely! We sent the record in to JP but none of us heard him play it. A friend of the band, Mark, heard it on the show and apparently JP said something along the lines of ‘It’s the year of the acoustic guitar’. We did get to meet him several years later but only to shake hands at a Fall gig that was held in his honour at the Royal Festival Hall.
The Joy Riding anthology incorporates material from 1980 to 2016. Presumably Life Studies as a band haven’t existed for all that time…? How do the recording dates span out across the years…? What did you do next?
The anthology is the result of one or two cassettes being unearthed by Gray and a friend, Colin Anderson (later to be a bandmate). Life Studies per se dissipated around 1984 as Mart went off to work for the VSO in the Caribbean. Gray and I carried on with a variety of line ups, the most successful of which were The Trout Faced Few, an obvious Beefheart reference and heavily influenced by The Fall and their ilk. The Trouts had more gig success than Life Studies we supported the band Apple Mosaic (from Glos) at Dingwall’s and played larger venues like the Bridge in Bristol. That morphed into a band called The Citizens, with Gray and I, another old friend Pete and the singer from the Trouts, Ju. Gray also played with another band, The Erratic Strides. The reason I included ‘Suzy Don’t’ on Joy Riding was that it is just Gray and I, with Gray on vocals this time and felt like a Life Studies thing. Gray still jams along with some friends and played quite a few gigs with a covers band called The Lawn Dogs in and around Gloucester. We have lived quite a distance from each other for 25 years so don’t get to play together often.
The music changes from quite lo-fi (post-)punk to more jangly indie-pop? Was this a conscious decision at a more approachable sound? What were some of your influences over the years….. you sound very Go-Betweensy in parts.
Thank you for the Go Betweens nod, still a band we all love today. We defiantly wanted to try new and different things all the time. We would rope friends, and local buskers even, into playing with us to try and add something new to the sound. We weren’t very ‘studio smart’ so tended to just record everything live with the odd overdub but we would test ourselves. We once did a gig with just acoustic instruments, with our singer Helen taking over lead vocals where we just sang Cole Porter covers.
How did you approach songwriting?
Fitfully. No method, if anyone came up with a good riff in rehearsal, we would build on it. I would often come up with the words and basic tune or riff as I enjoyed it but at the end of the day it was always a collective approach (unless, that is, any of the songs suddenly takes off and gets recorded by Adele in which case I wrote it all by myself!!).
Are you still in touch with the other band members? Are you still making music?
Gray and I still see a lot of each other. Sadly, Mart died a few years back, but we had all remained close until then. I chat to a few ex-members on the Facebook page . I still spend hours creating tunes at home mainly for my own amusement, although I have had bit of success with some sync tunes for TV etc. Gray and I also send each other stuff we’ve done but rarely find the time to sit down and knock out a completed tune.
In summation, Life Studies were a band with potential, that we think could have done more but didn’t really grasp the opportunities at the time. Still there is a small legacy and a lot of great memories, so no regrets.
JAMES DOMESTIC today reveals another taster for his forthcoming debut solo album with a new single and video.
‘Push On Through’ follows swiftly on the heels of last month’s ‘Faze Out’, the first release from Carrion Repeating, which is due in April next year.
“It’s really different from the first single, so it might throw people even more than that did!” laughs Domestic. And it’s true; where ‘Faze Out’ was a two-minute electro-punker, ‘Push On Through’ takes an urgent bassline and an eloquent lyric about night driving past the five-minute mark.
“I’ve been touring for years, so it was inevitable that some of those images ended up in a song. It’s not a typical ‘road song though; I’m not Bon fucking Jovi!”
A regular on punk bills for a decade with East Anglian hardcore pioneers THE DOMESTICS, PI$$ER, TOKYO LUNGS and others, sharing stages with the likes of Poison Idea, Discharge, Wonk Unit and the UK Subs, Domestic has turned off the hardcore road for his solo career, taking pointers from the likes of Ian Dury, Mark E Smith, Roots Manuva and King Tubby.
Released on Kibou Records through TNS (UK) and Amok (Germany), ‘Push On Through’ is available now via Spotify, Bandcamp and the usual platforms.
French garage legends LES SOUCOUPES VIOLENTES are back with a career-spanning anthology. With a difference.
Formed in Paris in 1983 by singer/guitarist Stéphane Guichard, the band – whose name translates as The Violent Saucers – recorded several singles and albums for such labels as Forbidden Planet, Tutti Frutti and New Rose. Now 16 Potions D’Amour compiles a selection of cover versions recorded or played live by them over their near 40-year career.
Early on the band displayed a deep love of Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground, their first release sporting a cover of ‘You’re Driving Me Insane’ by Reed’s pre-Velvets band The Roughnecks, included here. Elsewhere they’ve taken a Nuggets-ish tack with garage covers of such 60s staples as The Coasters, The Marvelettes, The Troggs and The Clovers’ ‘Love Potion No.9’, hence the album’s title.
Rock’n’roll legends Gene Vincent and Chuck Berry also get a look-in, while they dust off their 70s glam, punk and proto-punk chops with choices from the catalogues of Slade, Roky Erickson, Jonathan Richman, The Nerves and The Jam.
Check out their deeply sinister version of Slade’s ‘Coz I Luv You’….
Released through Nineteen Something Records, 16 Potions D’Amour is available here.