Legendary hip hop act Public Enemy are in the UK next month to perform their classic album, ‘It takes a nation of millions to hold us back’ in full as part of All Tomorrow’s Parties Don’t Look Back series.
The band will perform their masterpiece at Brixton Academy (may 23rd), Manchester Academy (May 26th) and Glasgow’s ABC1 (May 27th) with support from Dr Octogon, Anti Pop Consortium and the Bomb Squad.
Originally released in 1988, ‘It takes a nation..’ is seen as one of Hip Hop’s first major works boasting such classic tracks as ‘Bring The Noise, ‘Rebel Without A Pause’ and ‘Don’t Believe The Hype’. Combining The Bomb Squad’s innovative noise heavy production and Chuck D’s fierce lyrical attack.
It’s been a hectic two years for the Delays – splitting with Rough Trade and self funding a tour, before signing a new deal and gearing up for the release of third album, ‘Everything’s The Rush’.
“We were put in this period of being, basically, an unsigned band.” reminisces Greg. “We weren’t writing with any deadlines in mind, or with any definition of the band at that point, so we wrote about a hundred songs and funded our own tours. We got such a great reaction from the festivals and it just totally inspired us.”
We were put in this period of being, basically, an unsigned band.
The new deal with Fiction (home to Snow Patrol and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) was just one of the influences on the record, explains Greg. “There’s a lot of lyrical transition, not just in terms of label stuff, but personally – there was a lot of change going on and relationships ending. One of the tracks is about dealing with OCD. But, I think that there definitely was an element of joy and an element of being freed up. We were writing from an encumbered, unblocked viewpoint and the melody has always been the thing that we were happiest with.”
Recorded in Spain with producer Youth, the 10-track mixes epic keyboards and strings with guitar hooks and pop melodies. “The backdrop went from trying to create an atmosphere to having a readymade one.” adds Aaron. “The record just sounds fucking huge and I think that’s because of the mountains. We want to be as big as them, but I don’t think we ever could be, because we’re humans… but it just sounds ridiculously big – there’s goosebumps all over it!”
“I think you’re always affected by your environment no matter what you’re doing”, continues Greg. “If the first album is recorded in a studio in Wales with no windows, but the next is recorded up in the mountains with a panoramic view of Grenada, everything becomes epic, and we’re a band made for the big stages and the open air.”
The recording process has changed since earlier releases ‘Faded Seaside Glamour’ and ‘You See Colours’. “In twenty days, we had eighteen tracks done, whereas before, I would sit at home and work out my guitar parts. This time I had to come up with them on the spot, so there was a certain amount of, erm, flying by the seat of your…” He laughs and Aaron takes over, “We never really plan on a direction anyway, it’s literally just done on a basic primal level, the same as when we first started playing guitars or instruments. We never plan a direction, we just look at each other and smile, that’s it, and that’s what it’s based on.”
Greg considers the motivation behind self-funding their tours while unsigned. “I think the thing is, as proud as we are of all the albums, we still feel that playing live, we’re our own best advert. I just feel that we can hold our own in any situation, anywhere and it’s just getting better and better and better, so it would have been a travesty if we just sat around waiting to find this record deal. We just had to get out and play to people and that was one of the things that completely spurred us on, like I say, the reaction we would get. We went out to Mexico and did a great gig out there and that spurred it on even further.” Aaron continues, “7000 people came to see us, so we were just chucking beer on each other and moshing for an hour and it was unbelievable. We were only there for two days though.”
We just had to get out and play to people and that was one of the things that completely spurred us on
“If you write a good song and a melody, it resonate with people”, declares Aaron, considering why the band have had such success outside of their home country. “So often, the reason why bands are successful over here is not always to do with the actual songs. It’s quite Anglo-centric and boring and it doesn’t translate anywhere else. Theres no bullshit with what we’re doing, it’s just the songs.” agrees Greg. Looking ahead to the upcoming tour, he states, “I think this will be the best one so far because we’re at that point now where we have so much material to choose from. On the first album, you’re just playing your first album and it expresses such a certain point in your life but now we can, sort of, dip in to different places. I’m really excited to do what is essentially the best of the band because that’s what it comes down to, as boring and dull as it may seem. Your opinions can date over time and controvesy can date over time and your fashion and sound, but the thing that stands up forever is the songs – even if it sounds a bit boring on paper.”
“We’ve just accepted that we’re never going to be bored and there’s always going to be parties going on in our heads” confesses Aaron, on whether the band are in a more settled place now that the album is complete. Greg continues, “I think there’s also a nomadic coil that comes hand in hand with being in a band, it goes right the way back forever and ever and ever, people with interest need to travel around and I’m not going to complain about it. It could be worse, people might not be interested. Things are getting more and more hectic, but I never want to feel settled in that regard, certainly creatively I never want to feel settled, I’d hate to feel like I’ve said everything I”ve got to say.” Looking to the future, Greg states “it’s just about this album really, it’s about building it and getting everyone to hear it, it’ll make people’s lives better.” Aaron concludes, “We believe that we’re a fucking unbelievable band that everyone should hear”.
Delays new album ‘Everything’s The Rush’ is out Monday 5th May on Fiction Records.
You can’t really fault Alphabeat.
It’s like having six cabbage patch dolls on stage dressed like the B-52’s and singing along to a Duran Duran’s greatest hits DVD, only that Alphabeat have a mentalist lead male vocalist in Anders SG, who glazes their sweet harmonised pop with a twist of shaking jerri-curl and enough sneaker stage stomping to quash their goody two shoe stride. With his guitar stringed high, lead guitarist and songwriter Anders B swayed and smiled his way through Boyfriend, Touch Me Touching You and hit single Fascination a trifecta of songs that sling Alphabeat along a one way trajectory to the uninhabited land of pop.
Second billed was Salford duo The Ting Ting’s, a group hotly noted for screeching out catchy attitude-fuelled songs designed to matter your hair up and rekindle a teenage twat mentality. And fair enough, there were enough of us pouting out the lyrics to That’s Not My Name, Shut up and let Me Go and Great DJ to recognise this acts as being a rather popular one, but can popularity alone excuse the fact that The Ting Ting’s don’t really play much live?
As I watched this energetic duo bounce around, smile and antagonise the crowd, I couldn’t ignore the chafing fact that much of their ‘ting’ is produced through programming that came vomiting out of every amp as Katie White fumbled around with minor guitar parts and Jules De Martino bashed the rubbish out of a drum kit. True, majority of two-pieces rely on mechanic members to fatten their sound, but it’s The Ting Ting’s simple abilities and perhaps the fact that White looked like she raided her younger sisters H&M Wardrobe from 1993 only moments before the show, that demoted this act.
And so, it’s been sometime since we’ve heard from Glasgow gents The Fratelli’s, after one cracker of a debut album that shafted this trio into the spotlight along with a bunch of busty pinup girls and a whole lotta vintage rock, tonight proved to be a rather successful showcasing of the material destined to make LP number two Here We Stand another notch on these rock kids belt. With waxed curls sticking to his forehead, Jon Fratelli led his boys through a set that highlighted the bands new tricks, featuring 70’s guitar solos and piano parts but always that blissful Fratelli-esque ‘oh la la’ and ‘bah da das’ that seems to break smiles on the faces of anyone in hearing range. First single Mistress Mable went down like a dream, however it was old favourite including Henrietta, Chelsea Dagger and Flathead that reinstalled the bought our fist to the air, and reminded us of our old favourites The Fratelli’s.
Oldham three piece Twisted Wheel are on the road and about to release their debut single through Columbia Records.
The limited 7″ double A side ‘She’s A Weapon/Big Issue’ will be available at the gigs and through all good independant record shops.
They are on the final leg of what has been a massive tour, ending with a celebratory gig at Manchester Academy on the 9th May.
Clash spoke to Twisted Wheel for our Ones To Watch feature back in March, read it here.
The full remaining tour dates are –
30 Apr 2008 Wrexham Central Station
1 May 2008 Sheffield Plug
2 May 2008 Nottingham Bodega
4 May 2008 Leicester Charlotte
6 May 2008 Northampton Soundhaus
8 May 2008 Cardiff Club, Ifor Bach
9 May 2008 Manchester Academy (club/2)
Belgian veterans lead out their latest album Vantage Point with this double-A side single.
The Architect is a catchy slice of perky funk rock with shades of Alabama 3 or Jon Spencer. It’s got a big, shouty pub rock chorus whose over-confident strut is tempered by a swirling organ, a solid immersion in Belgian New Beat and the fact that it’s about Eden Project dome designer Buckminster Fuller. By contrast Slow sounds like a B-side and not the billed double-A. It’s a decent buzzing slow-burner elevated by the appearance of The Knife’s Karin Dreijer Andersson on backing vocals.
Carl Finlow was one of the founders, alongside Ralph Lawson, of Leeds’ 2020Vision label and club night.
Aside from his production work on most of the label’s defining tunes, he’s managed to put together a few of his own under his pseudonym, Random Factor. Beaten is a taster from his latest forthcoming album and what a track. Kicking off to a smooth, seemingly mellow house beat, it quickly develops some jerky electro legs that set it off on a focused and funky deep house floor-filler. Dance music at its most intelligent, electronica at its most danceable.
At the heart of one of history’s most important groups was the quietest, entirely self-effacing sonic wizard Garth Hudson.
His contributions to The Band, the humble originators of Americana and country-folk-rock protagonists, are immeasurable, so limitless are his talents. Yet Garth has remained unfairly but quite happily anonymous – the ultimate musician’s musician – happy to dwell in the shadows and play. Now, Clash lifts the veil on the life and career of rock’s secret hero to celebrate his 70th birthday.
When was your birthday, Garth?
Garth: My birthday is in August – August the 2nd.
So just recently?
Well, happy birthday!
Why did you decide to come to London to continue your birthday celebrations?
Garth: Well, this was arranged thanks to Joe and Robin Bennett who have the Truck Festival, and it’s been going on for ten years now. We came over thanks to Robin and Joe And Maud, who contacted them through this device here [points to laptop]. We had heard about it and it’s a special event. I think it’s unique.
There may be another that happens for a weekend in honour of The Grateful Dead in the summer in Colorado or over there, and there may be dozens of them, I don’t know, but this one gets a special mention by those who travel from festival to festival; all those people who have the time and tickets to go from there to there.
They also asked you to stick around an extra couple of days to play here in the city.
No one really appreciates my left hand – maybe keyboard players…
Garth: Yeah. They came up with this venue – I was just wondering if I had been here before. I don’t think so. I played in London with The Band and also Burrito Deluxe, with Sneaky Pete Kleinow on steel guitar. Sneaky Pete was the first to use a steel in rock and roll. He is probably the star of… If you look back and try to determine when Americana was born, it was around that time and Sneaky Pete was part of that movement.
He passed on recently.
Garth: Yes he did. He was a funny, sharp, intelligent, creative guy. He created Gumby. He was a stop-frame animator. And in Ringo’s movie, the caveman movie…
Maud: It’s called Caveman.
Garth: …He did the dinosaurs, I believe.
Maud: But he also wrote the song for Gumby. I was gonna say, these two shows are meant to be promotional shows to test the waters here for some folks to come out and check out the combination we’ve got going here and if something comes of it maybe come back next year for a tour or a big event. There are always big events in the back of everyone’s mind.
Garth: Maud has designed a show, which would include The Dixie Hummingbirds, who we have recorded with, and Leon Redbone would be a likely candidate…
Maud: But that’s something else.
Garth: That’s something else?
Maud: Yeah, cos actually the boys are talking about maybe something to celebrate the release, they want it to be more The Band songs. This is unusual for us.
Garth: Yeah, the music that I do back over there, I have an 11-piece group. The drummer and the percussionist Steve are directly connected with the Latin music world, the Latino music scene.
Maud: The name of the band is The Best! with an exclamation point! There are some great players in it.
You’re the only member of The Band playing the music of The Band…
Garth: Oh no…
Sorry, I meant actively touring with the music.
Maud: Levon is doing his Midnight Rambles every other weekend. He even has kids’ rambles. And he is doing more of The Band songs as time goes on now that he’s got his voice back, because you know that he lost it completely with cancer, completely, even his talking voice. And here he is not only talking, he is singing better and better. He sounds like he never had any trouble.
Garth: He sounds great.
Maud: It’s just a real strong voice again. It’s thrilling.
Garth: We should mention his ‘Dirt Farmer’.
Maud: Oh, his new album.
Garth: Along with his Midnight Rambles and the afternoon kids’ rambles.
Will you be playing at any of Levon’s Rambles?
Garth: More than likely. I visited with them a while ago, a year ago, and his group has changed considerably. His horn, brass section, is very confident. It’s a good arrangement. Larry Campbell, who used to play with Bob Dylan.
Maud: We do a song that Larry Campbell wrote for The Dixie Hummingbirds. Do you know who The Dixie Hummingbirds are?
Maud: Well, they are a gospel group and the leader of the group now – it’s a male vocal group – is Ira Turner. He joined the group in 1936 when he was a kid, and he is still strong, man! What kind of music do you call that? He is one of the originators of the type of performance where you do acrobatics like jumping off the stage and jumping up and doing all kinds of athletics in the performance. He doesn’t do that NOW, because he’s older. What do you call that, doo-wop?
Garth: No, I wouldn’t call it that. Well, The Dixie Hummingbirds are rated along with The Five Blind Boys Of Alabama and The Swan Silvertones. The Swan Silvertones had this amazing singer Claude Jeter with an amazing high voice. But there are others.
This is not city gospel; this is…um…guitar-based quintets and sextets. They would go and sing in church but the accompany would not be piano, it would be a guitar, and it differs quite a bit from the city or urban gospel songs, which is piano, Hammond organ, bass, drums, guitar often…
Maud: But just to tie up about The Dixie Hummingbirds, Garth and Levon were recording on their ‘Diamond Jubilee’ album and Larry Campbell produced it. He wrote this one song called ‘When I Go Away’ and we were listening to it and we thought it was this great old gospel song. Then we found out that Larry Campbell wrote it for The Dixie Hummingbirds to sing! We added it to our shows so we will be doing that one.
The two of you have been together and singing for a long time. What do you think is the secret to an enduring partnership?
Maud: Well, the more he sings, the more enduring…endearing? (Laughs) I try to get him to sing more and more!
Garth: The more identifiable I become! No one really appreciates my left hand – maybe keyboard players…
Maud: I do. It’s lovely.
Garth: It’s my singing that allows me to stand apart. Quote unquote.
Maud: Well, it could be that we have a great time. And with Garth he is perpetually progressive and with his sense of humour there are no dull moments there. I don’t think it’s possible for him to even get bored with himself! (Laughs)
Garth: Yeah, I’ve been studying elocution and clog dancing.
That must keep you busy?
Garth: No, infrequently.
Maud: (Laughs) Do you really want clogs in your article, Garth?
Garth: It’s got to have some zing!
Maud: I have seen you throw your foot up on the piano a few times, but I don’t know about clog dancing!
Garth: Oh yeah, okay, we were up there at the Juno Awards in Canada – this is where I really came out as a clog dancer. Ronnie Hawkins was presenting and introducing everybody. Ronnie Hawkins is an Arkansas legend who now lives near Peterborough, Ontario, in Canada. The Juno is the Canadian music awards and The Band was awarded a Juno. This was a long time ago. 1986? ’87? So Ronnie came up there and he was testing the mic.
I walked up and he did one of his dances – he does his camel walk – and the camera was on him. But then he goes like this [points], you know, like ‘You now’, so I did a number, you know, and whatever it was it was rhythmic and it started well and went along and ended well. Sure enough the camera was facing the other direction. I would not be ashamed of that footage. They were on Ronnie or somewhere else.
So that was discouraging. I figured, well, maybe a similar situation would come up, but I think we would have to plan it. Ronnie and I would have to get together beforehand. So I’m getting ready for that, because he was a majestic, wild animal, and funny – he has a thousand funny lines…
Maud: For every waitress! (Laughs)
Garth: And he lined them up in Toronto. That group was Ronnie Hawkins, Rebel Payne, Willard ‘Pop’ Jones, Robbie [Robertson] and Levon [Helm]. There is a picture, you can probably find it. They were a good-looking bunch. I was working with my group in Detroit… Do you mind me going on about Ronnie Hawkins?
Not at all!
Garth: A couple of times he came on up and met us years later at dinner one night in London, Ontario, he happened to be there and I said, “Ronnie, I’m glad you gave me that job. I don’t know what I’d be doing right now!” (Laughs) Who knows? It was Ronnie Hawkins – and of course Levon – who voted that I join the group.
Willard ‘Pop’ Jones had left – he’d got married I believe and moved back to Arkansas – and Stan Szelest, Richard Manuel had replaced Stan Szelest. Then Rick Danko replaced Rebel Payne. So I was the last to come and that was in 1962. I played organ and Richard Manuel – the greatest energy, the most tasteful energy piano player that I’ve heard; he is a study in rhythmic accuracy and push beats. They call them push beats. That means the rhythmic figure that would end a four-bar with something else – or going into the rhythmic phrase. But Richard Manuel was also a great drummer. A natural drummer; he had all these odd moves figured out. Levon said undoubtedly Richard Manuel is his favourite drummer. He is just a natural. And a great voice.
We recorded ‘Georgia On My Mind’ for President…who came after Nixon? Carter. For his inauguration or something we had this 45 recording and Richard was great. You want to see Richard in fine form? There’s a movie we should mention, Festival Express. Richard’s singing was just fine. In fact everybody was right on the money.
Maud: Rick [Danko] too. You know, some people said, ‘Oh Ricky, you look so loaded’ and stuff like that, but you know what? It shows his essence, not his loadedness. It shows his skill, his talent and his sensitivity and instinct with other people. He got all those people to do that, you know? He made sure everyone was involved and the mic was right there. He made sure everything was right for everybody and everyone had a good time.
Garth: He was flying. When I saw the footage a few years ago for the first time…
We began playing songs that had a verse and a chorus rather than the 12-bar blues songs.
Maud: At the Toronto International Film Festival.
Garth: When I saw him I thought, well, Rick is more of himself than I had ever seen him and maybe anybody had ever seen him. He had control over everything that was going on. The words… They were doing ‘Ain’t No More Cane (On The Brazos)’ with Janis [Joplin] and Jerry [Garcia]. He was funny, he was great. He was more of himself than anyone has ever seen.
When Ronnie Hawkins brought you into his group, you joined on the provision that you’d be the musical teacher. To what extent did you actually fill that role, or was that just a scam to tell your parents?
Garth: Oh no, definitely. I came in and… They had their repertoire. They had what they do together, so the changes were subtle. I think the first change that I made was in ‘Georgia…’ I changed the chord progression, which is the one that Richard recorded in honour of Jimmy Carter. But I did buy theory books, little theory books, one for each guy. It was one that I studied, a little blue book. Well, they put them away. There wasn’t much you could get them to do. You would have had to hand out music paper and pencils and erasers and chain them to a desk somewhere to get that part of it done.
Ronnie had said that he thought that they should read more. Ronnie also wanted the group to study acting and had brought that up from time to time from the beginning with the earlier group as well. So we rehearsed a lot. When we were set in Toronto we’d play at the Concord Tavern on Bloor Street West. We’d stay after and rehearse for a couple or three hours, three nights a week, for quite a period of time. Of course, time was different when you’re young – that’s what they tell me anyway!
You know, when you’re in high school you do all kinds of things and when you think back you think, ‘Boy that must have been three or four years’ and it’s like one year! In one year all kinds of things happened when you’re 16, 17 or 18. In the interview last night for the CBC radio thing…
Maud: CBC? You mean BBC? It was Radio 2.
With Mark Radcliffe?
Maud: Yeah, that was it.
Garth: They asked what song or recordings had changed my life, I think that was the general drift. It’s a good question, a great question. I came up with four or five. The first one was a song… When I was a kid we had a wind-up 78 player and so we had this 78 record ‘Wise Old Horsey’ and the other side was ‘Gee It’s Great To Be Living Again’ and the singer was Cecil Broderick. It was released by MRA, which is Moral Re-Armament. What that is we don’t have to get into.
It was originally referred to as Buckman. If you look in an encyclopaedia for MRA, Moral Re-Armament, you’ll see a guy who put this concept together; definitely a right-wing movement that could be brought into parish halls and churches with their film ‘Out of the frying pan, into the fight’. One of their purposes in life was ‘no peaceful co-existence with Communism’. This was the early-Forties.
It was a right-wing organisation, so we’re not sure where the private funding came from, but they did have a centre studio and residence in training centre on Machinac Island – that’s a beautiful island where the Great Lakes come together in Ontario. There’s Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, which is at the bottom of Hudson Bay where it all comes together and the Great Lakes mingle.
So that was the centre for North America and the other was in Caux in Switzerland. When I was in Switzerland a couple of years ago I went to the guy at the desk in the hotel and said, “You got a map?” He said, “Yeah”. I said, “Do you know where Caux is?” He said, “No”. Apparently it has another name – it has two names – and on the map I did locate it but it has a couple of names. A little place, probably in the mountains, picturesque, inaccessible, difficult to find.
There’s more to it than that, but I had these records. When their team, I think they called it, came through Ontario, they’d have their two or three nights in the parish hall with their film and their speakers and so on, encouraging fellowship get togethers and absolute honesty, absolute purity, absolute brotherly love. When they came through, this fella – I remember his name, Billy Wake – this was 1943 or 1942 – Billy Wake got us these…cascades? I’m not sure. They were shiny, they looked like new LPs and there were about 12 to 15 songs by Cecil Broderick, who sang the American songs like “Take The Spirit Of The West Where E’er You Go’ and ‘The Old Hometown’ and ‘Barber Bill’ and ‘Junior The Steer’ – it seemed to be that some of these songs were for children.
Then for the UK, the singer’s name was Henry McNicol. Half of them were by Cecil Broderick, half of them were by Henry McNicol. One of them was called ‘Jock McGinty’ – it was funny stuff. It was well written, like British music hall style stuff. So they had these troops or teams going out all over the world with ‘Songs Of The MRA’ – another one was ‘The Mither In Law’, and ‘Herbie McGuff’.
They sound Scottish.
Garth: Yeah, it was definitely Scottish. So I heard that accent sung when I was a little kid. So that was the first recording, ‘Wise Old Horsey’. The second one is ‘Don’t Want No Anchovies On My Pizza Tonight’ by a Dixieland or New Orleans group. I don’t know who they are – at some point I’ll have an archivist research that one. Then the next one was Duke Ellington’s ‘Cotton Tail’. That was the theme song for Jazz Unlimited from CJBC in Toronto every Saturday afternoon.
Then the last one that they chose to play and they wanted me to talk about was ‘Blues For The Red Boy’ by Todd Rhodes – when you hear it you’ll hear the excellent blues jazz player, excellent. That has to do with what we do now: rock and roll. That was at the beginning. Alan Freed was there and gathered together or promoted the phrase ‘rock and roll’.
You’ve apparently been compiling a box set of Levon And The Hawks material for a while now and is yet to be released. What’s happening with that?
Garth: More material keeps showing up, from tape recorders in ladies’ purses…
Maud: And in attics and barns and stuff.
Garth: Under the couches and under the porches…
Have these been found by other people?
Garth: Yeah, a lot of them are like that. Some are studio recordings, some are live recordings… there’s quite a lot.
Maud: There’s a great archivist that Garth is working with on that, and a couple of associates in Toronto that are restoring them as close to the source as possible – most things right from the source – and his name is Jan Haust, and Peter Moore…
Garth: He’s a restoration specialist.
Maud: Well, he also masters albums, like by Neko Case and a zillion people.
Garth: He just did Oscar Peterson finished in 5.1 Surround Sound. He cleans up things. He has the greatest German equipment, $100,000 software.
Maud: So that’s the team really; Garth, Jan and Peter.
So is there a date we can expect this?
Maud: It’s still being constructed, but most of it is done. But it WILL come out.
Garth: What Jan has been finding is stories too. So he is writing. He also writes for television…
Maud: There will be a book with it…and a DVD.
Garth: As far as the Toronto rock and roll scene, he has a lot of recordings from various places of the early groups. He’s been working on The Hawks thing now for 15 years maybe and new things keep showing up.
Maud: It’s not gonna be too longer now.
When you all decamped to Woodstock and starting messing around with Bob for what would become ‘The Basement Tapes’, you were apparently having a great time, finding your own style and way as a band. How important were those sessions to your development as The Band?
Maud: You mean the transition from The Hawks to The Band?
Yes. Do you think that’s where you found your feet?
Garth: Mm-hmm. We began playing songs that had a verse and a chorus rather than the 12-bar blues songs. We did a few of those before but we didn’t anymore. We did songs with the standard form, the form of standards; ‘Georgia…’ was one. But not many of those. It was more the country format: verse, chorus, verse, chorus… And that’s the way that a lot of the writing that was going on around us at the time, that was the common format.
We were watching Bob Dylan sit down at a typewriter and type out a song. That’s what happened at Big Pink upstairs in the living room. I don’t remember him writing on the yellow legal pads so much – maybe some notes were made that way – it was mainly a typewriter.
He’d sit down at his old Olivetti and type it out. Then we’d go downstairs and record it. It was done that quickly; he may have thought about it and the concept beforehand but he did things very quickly and it reminds me about a saying in Nashville: if you can’t write your song in half an hour then it’s probably not gonna make it – you’re gonna get hung up. It comes from the Acuff/Rose people – Roy Acuff and Billy Rose people who are publishers. If you can’t write your song in half an hour, you’re in trouble – which is always true.
The music that you were making there was so far removed from what everyone else was doing, even though at that point in the Sixties there were so many interesting and unique things happening in music. Did you listen at all to your contemporaries to see what they were doing?
Garth: Oh yeah. We heard everything coming from San Francisco. Not everything, but there was a period where you’re driving along in the car from Saugerties to Woodstock and you’d hear Grace Slick. There was something about her voice.
It was the mantra, long note thing possibly. We were also listening to East Indian music a little bit, and the Bengali Bals, which is more basic than the sitar music from the north. They’re from an area near Bengal in India. Albert [Grossman] had them over – he was Bob Dylan’s manager.
They were on the cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘John Wesley Harding’.
Garth: That’s right, exactly.
Maud: Who was in that picture?
Garth: Perna daus, Luxman –this was the early group – and Hari Krishna Das… Was there five of them or three? Luxman is back in his home town. He is a real ball. He is exceptional. His town people revere him. Perna is the laureate, the bell cantor, and he goes all over the world. He is successful, he comes to America often. He plays a kramk. There are three or four spellings to be found. It’s unique and is from that area. It’s the only place you’ll find it in India. It’s a great instrument.
My percussionist Steve said, “What is that sound?” He heard it on the record. I said it was a kramk. He’d never heard of it. He said, “I gotta get one!” They’re Latin players – I got two in the section, Ernie Colon and Steve Elson. It’s a wild sounding thing. I won’t describe it to you. Look it up. You’ll hear it on ‘The Seas Of The North’. We’ll just leave it at that.
Were you listening to the British bands of the time?
Garth: Oh yeah. We had the Cream recording; we played it in the living room there. Also The Beatles, sure we had their recordings. I was saying, we heard long tones being used in the music. It was like music was stretched.
One song that was by Bob Dylan, ‘Chimes Of Freedom’ by The Byrds, I think. I noticed that the guy was a great singer. It was very specially put. Whatever happened in the studio, they may have done several takes, but that was a magic take or overdub, however he did it. His name was…lead singer of The Byrds?
Garth: Yes. He’s still around. That cut through everything. I remember hearing that sound, the approach, you know? I’d like to hear that again. I haven’t heard that for a few years. ‘Chimes Of Freedom’.
Every member of The Band said that they’d come to you with advice on music, while Robbie says that he’d ask about chord progressions or structures while writing a song, so you must have had major contributions in many of The Band’s songs, but are not credited for any. Does that frustrate you at all?
Garth: Everybody influenced songs. Everybody, to one degree or another, so it becomes songwriter versus those who surround them, those who enfold them, and that’s all I have to say about that.
What do you think the legacy of The Band is? How do you think you are remembered?
Garth: Well, we have the recordings and it’s not like chalk on the sidewalk, it’s written in stone. So it joins the hundreds of thousands of recordings since the beginnings of the century in the archives. American music has a fascinating history and over here at the Institute we encourage the young player/performer/arranger/composer to explore certain eras, I guess.
So I have initial compilations which would suggest further study, and putting together compilations is one of the important courses, it’s one of the important requirements. They’re initially given for homework a CD of say McKinney’s Cotton Pickers. OK, to get back to the beginnings of rock and roll, Todd Rhodes played with McKinney’s Cotton Pickers in 1929/30/31 and then in ’51/’52, Alan Freed used his theme ‘Blues For The Red Boy’ to introduce the Moondog Matinee from 5:05pm to 5:55pm for Muntz TV[?] and Manachevas Kosher Wine[?].
So I found my secret space in the basement; I ended up in the basement. My parents didn’t know what to make of this music. I didn’t know they were all black. I didn’t know this was a powerful statement by the black Americans until I bought a Rhythm And Blues magazine – I’ve still got it, number one, and there they are! In one issue they included George Shearing in one of the last three or four pages, but everybody else was black. I listened to music and I was in to jazz by that time, and all I knew was that someone over there in Cleveland, Ohio, was having a whole lot more fun than I was. I guess that’s why the Alan Freed introductory theme is important.
A lot of keyboard players heard that for two or three years – I don’t know, he wasn’t there long – and then he went on the road and went to New York City. Todd Rhodes was off and on that roadshow as a separate band with baritone, tenor, alto trumpet, so we had called that ‘urban small horn band jump swing blues’. So here’s Todd Rhodes with McKinney’s Cotton Pickers and later on he’s in on the beginnings of rock and roll with Alan Freed.
The Red Stripe Music Awards grand finale is almost upon us after a marathon search for new talent across the UK, with the finalists playing The Forum, Kentish Town on May 12th.
After fifty two gigs around the UK giving over two hundred bands the chance to play in front of their local crowds, the four finalists were selected by a panel of industry movers and shakers and will play live at The Forum before the grand winner is announced.
The four bands selected to play reinforce the reach of the competition hailing from as far apart as Brighton and Edinburgh. Brighton’s eloquently named Klaus Say By The Record, Edinburgh’s charming Kiddo, The Down and Outs from Glasgow and Leeds’ O Fracas.
The winners will be granted slots at the Red Stripe Great Escape Festival in Brighton, Blissfields Festival and London’s Lovebox and will be given that most essential piece of kit for a new band, their very own tour van.
Also appearing on the night are Dirty Pretty Things, The Wallbirds and last year’s Red Stripe Music Award winners The Runners.
To get your hands on tickets for the grand final visit www.redstripe.net
Clash has been following the progress of this most ambitious of talent searches, read our bulletins on the Red Stripe Music Awards –
After an exhausting fifty-two gigs around these fair isles, April 10th saw the second Red Stripe Music Awards blaze to a close with a homecoming gig at Bedford Esquires featuring performances from local acts The Measure, Shapes, 91 Pieces and Brigante. Four names among the two hundred plus acts selected to perform in this year’s live shows in venues the length and breadth of the UK.
Crowning over thirty years’ involvement with grass roots music in the UK, the Red Stripe Music Awards 2008, which began way back in January, saw gigs take place from Aberdeen all the way to Cornwall, easily making the Red Stripe Music Awards the most comprehensive gig series around.
Crowning over thirty years’ involvement with grass roots music in the UK
Set up to reach out to almost every local UK live music scene, this year’s showcase saw the Red Stripe Music Award go from strength to strength with a tenfold increase from the inaugural 2007 initiative, with over 1000 acts entering and over 50 venues hosting regional heats giving even more bands a chance to do their thing on stage and gain vital exposure.
Despite the geographic separation of the venues and variety of bands it was clear that all of those who played were tuned into the Red Stripe Music Award modus operandi of getting out there, gigging and building a solid live reputation. Aberdeen’s Kashmir Red at the end of their gig pretty much summed up what it means for an emergent band to make that breakthrough, confessing, “It would mean the world to us if we get to the finals. It would be a great experience. But at the moment we are enjoying having fun, that’s what it is all about.”
To top off this ongoing mission to promote and support local music and music venues, every band who played the various gigs were considered in an extensive A&R process by a panel of industry experts for the short list to reach the Red Stripe Music Awards Grand Final, happening on the 12th May at London’s Kentish Town Forum. The lucky four winners to deservedly reach this grander than grand finale have been selected as Scottish rockers Kiddo from Edinburgh, The Down And Outs who rocked Glasgow’s The Box, O Fracas from the musical hotbed of Leeds and the eloquently named Klaus Says Buy The Record from Brighton.
The final will give these four talented bands the chance to play in front of an audience of industry professionals and tastemakers, a unique opportunity offering great exposure for new acts. The night will also see an established band headline the gig, none other than former Libertine Carl Barat and his cohorts that make up Dirty Pretty Things. If anyone could pass on wisdom to avoid the pitfalls inherent in a career in entertainment to the young bands it is Pete Doherty’s former songwriting partner.
The winning band chosen on the night will be awarded a hugely useful prize: their very own tour van which, as any new band knows, is an essential asset in getting their amps and that ever growing drum kit to and from gigs. They’ll soon need that tour van too, as they will also be playing at both The Great Escape Festival, on the same stage as bands like Joe Lean And The Jing Jang Jong, and also the Lovebox festival this summer. Integral to Red Stripe’s commitment to new music is the continued nurturing of new band’s talents and what better way to do that than enable the band to get to gigs and give them the leg-up of two festival appearances where they’ll play to an audience of thousands.
Thanks to the spotlight that last year’s Red Stripe Music Awards threw on them
Last year’s winners, who will also play live at the final, Hertford’s The Runners, performed at The Great Escape, In The City and Shoreditch festivals, went on to record a session for Steve Lamacq, played their hearts out across Europe and are now signed to Weekender Records where they have so far released two singles to much acclaim. To be sure, they possessed the necessary songs and chutzpah to go the distance but it was thanks to the spotlight that last year’s Red Stripe Music Awards threw on them that saw the band progress those few extra rungs up the ladder.
By the time this year’s Awards comes to a halt, countless solo acts, bands and performers will have been given the chance to play their local venues with full promotion and (the eagerly accepted) free beer. This commitment to fostering new talent, not just in the trendier parts of the capital, but in the outer reaches of the UK’s musical galaxy is surely what live music is all about. All those grey windswept towns far from London’s fashionable enclaves that have traditionally fuelled young men’s rock ‘n’ roll dreams are the real places to witness music emerging from its very roots.
For the chance to attend this climactic finale to a tumultuous series of gigs for free – yes for free – you can apply for tickets through the RedStripe.net website with tickets being allocated on a first come first serve basis.
Red Stripe would like to thank all bands, venues and local promoters who took part in this year’s award and who have so far taken proceedings to a whole new level.
For further info log onto www.redstripe.net now and claim your tickets for the final.
Jon Savage is one of those rare names in pop journalism that seem to transcend their music press backgrounds and become respected in wider culture.
His articles on punk and post-punk music in the late 70s still stand as definitive documents on the period. His report on “New Musick” for Sounds in particular was the linguistic launching pad for a thousand bed room boffins, and helped provide impetus to the formative electronic movement. But it is with Joy Division that Savage’s name is linked – he helped publish the autobiography of Ian Curtis’ widow, curated the “Heart And Soul” box set and most recently collaborated with Grant Gee on a new documentary. Titled simply “Joy Division” it is said to be the definitive portrait of the band on screen. Clashmusic.com caught up with this intelligent and outspoken man to find out how he viewed the Factory phenomenon.
Q – What does your documentary hope to add to the Joy Division story?
Well, first off, as we all know media attention does always mean very much! The documentary is about Joy Division – not Ian Curtis – so it takes quite a different line to the ‘Control’ movie. This is actually about Joy Division, and not particularly Ian – and also, I haven’t seen ‘Control’, but I have no doubt about Corbijn’s sincerity and I’ve heard mixed reports but basically it seems pretty good. But there’s been a lot of rewriting of Factory history – particularly by 24 Hour Party People – and I really wanted to get back to what it was like when Joy Division were very vigorous, and what Manchester was like in 1979, which of course is the very early days of the label, and how things were then. It concentrates on the band, it concentrates on Bernard, and Hooky, and Stephen and we got three really good interviews with them and we got interviews with other people who were around at the time, who were directly involved with or were friends with the band. Like Malcolm Whitehead, who shot the Badenvale footage in March 79 and did a short film called “Joy Division”. And Liza Naylor who is a fan of the band and who scripted the other super-8 Joy Division film in 1979 called “No City Fun”. So that’s it really, and also just to show how great Joy Division were live and we got some footage of them actually playing live and to see it on screen is quite extraordinary. Just great.
…what we’re trying to get is the mood of the city
Q – When did you first become aware of Joy Division’s music?
When I saw them at the last night of The Electric Circus, when they were Warsaw in October 1977. And I was very struck by them, that was the great thing at the time, you used to see all these bands and the really good ones you could tell had an ambition that actually outweighed their talent so they were actually really straining for something which they didn’t quite bring off but there was something rather heroic about that. Warsaw were one of those groups, I could tell there was something there – I was quite intrigued by them. There was another group on that night called The Prefects, who were quite similar, and The Worst were on that night as well. So they were all different, and weren’t getting there, but the actual struggle was memorable. I reviewed that night, and wrote about them in Sounds, briefly, saying that they were intriguing – or a bit desperate and quite interesting. I quoted a snatch from “Novelty” and then because of that I got a letter in the summer of ’78 from a person called Rob Gretton saying “I’m Joy Division’s manager here’s a copy of our first album which we’ve just recorded – which was the RCA album – and its crap but we’re going to do much better and by the way there’s also a copy of our first EP the sound’s crap and we’re going to bring it out in a better format.” So it was quite intriguing to get a letter from a manager saying the releases were crap, and so via a complicated set of circumstances I got in touch with Wilson and phoned him up out of the blue and said “can you help me get a job at Granada television” and through Wilson’s agency I got an interview at Granada and got accepted for a job as a researcher – which is a very hard job to get and I went to live in Manchester in April ’79. Now Tony and I really got on, but he obviously wasn’t entirely altruistic and he was hoping that I would write about his groups, particularly Joy Division and also what he was planning, and of course I did so it all worked out.
Q – You’re writing for Sounds at this time, is that correct?
I wrote for Sounds until October 78 and then I went to Melody Maker. I wrote about Joy Division for Melody Maker – I reviewed “Factory Sampler” very favourably, and then I wrote a very long screed about the first album “Unknown Pleasures”. We’d scooped the NME because I had a white label – these things used to matter then – and Richard Williams sat on the review for a couple of weeks saying, and I quote “too much like The Velvet Underground”. So there you go…
Q – One of the common complaints of people associated with the Factory / Manchester story is that they weren’t taken seriously by the London media – what’s your take on this?
I think that’s a bit of self-justificatory paranoia going on, I think it might have been more intense a bit later on in the Beach Club period – the Beach Club never got mentioned in the London press which I thought was a great oversight. But I mean, come on, Joy Division were a hot group and don’t forget the desperation of the media in general for wanting to pick up on anything new. You look at the Joy Division press and there’s loads of stuff in the London media so that’s kinda horseshit really. Typical Manchester thing, really.
Q- Do you still live in Manchester?
Manchester is a city that I really love, and I live there but it’s got this weird relationship with London and sometimes that just gets in the way.
Q – Did you know the members of Joy Division personally at the time?
No. Well the people I really knew were Wilson, who I was very close to for two or three years, when I went up to live in Manchester I stayed in Wilson’s house. And Martin Hannett, and Rob Gretton who when I eventually got a flat lived a few hundred yards from me, along the Wilburn Road. So I used to see a lot of Rob and Lesley Gilbert, and a lot of Martin and Suzanne O’Hara and a lot of Wilson. The band I would bump into and be on nodding terms or quick chat terms with, but that would have been about it, really. I got to know Bernard and Hooky after Ian’s death. They were just a little bit younger and that sort of thing matters when you’re in your twenties. Also I didn’t like to hang out with bands too much, as a music journalist I thought it was embarrassing particularly if you were going to write about them. I wasn’t Nick Kent, I didn’t like hanging out with people and stabbing them in the back later on. I like to maintain a distance, between myself and the groups. They didn’t mind it either, so everybody knew what they were doing then, you weren’t pretending to be a mate, and not stabbing them in the back.
Q – What was Manchester like in the late 70s?
Well I think Joy Division’s music is very emotional, so what we’re trying to get is the mood of the city. We have talked about the experimental side to some extent but if you think about it there’s quite a lot to get into 85 minutes. By the time you’ve told the story – and there’s a lot in the story. You’ve got Manchester punks, you’ve got Warsaw, you’ve got Joy Division, you’ve got Rob, you’ve got Tony, you’ve got Martin, you’ve got Ian’s epilepsy, you’ve got all the records so there’s quite a lot of actual story. So we’re mainly focussing on the mood, and experimental stuff we do focus on a bit in regards to the band’s closeness to Caberet Voltaire and Ian’s fondness for Throbbing Gristle, the fact there was this electronic scene going on at the time which I had promoted in Sounds. And also Martin who was a great inspiration in that respect. So that’s how we’ve dealt with it.
Q – Factory as self consciously arty vibe appreciated at the time?
Well I didn’t think it was self-conscious at the time, I would disagree with that. I thought the whole point about punk is that you could do anything you wanted to, and there was a great tradition in punk – contrary to the whole ‘boot boy’ image which some people promote – is the kind of dada side, leading to people finding out things and doing things in ways they couldn’t do before – John Cooper Clarke is a very good example. There was that aspect of freedom there, I mean I certainly thought about it that way in regards to Manchester punk, which was a lot more open and friendly than London punk which had gotten grim pretty quickly. There was always that side to Manchester, if you go back to Buzzcocks who were obviously very important – they had this total artwork side. The idea of total artwork that the sleeve and the clothes and the posters and the handbills and the lyrics and the music were all part of the same thing. Buzzcocks are very influential in this, and in fact Richard Boon at New Hormones, the second New Hormones product was in fact a fanzine that Linda Sterling and I did in very early 78 called “Secret Republic” which had no words – it was all images, all montage. So it wasn’t self conscious at all, people these days are afraid of seeming arty, or seeming pretentious and one of the great delights of that period is that people didn’t have that fear. If they wanted to do it, they did it – that’s the great difference between then and now.
Q – Do you think that a ‘pretentious’ label such as Factory could be re-established today?
…the ramifications of Ian’s suicide still carry on
Well again I would question the use of the word pretentious as today it has a pejorative connotation. Again, I always thought it was a good thing, in that when I saw Warsaw they were pretentious, in that they were trying to do something which they were unable to do – but in that striving there was something very interesting. If people don’t strive to do something new, if people don’t over reach and try to do something that they’re not quite capable of then everything gets extremely boring and no progress is made. In answer to your question, could Factory be done now well, I don’t know – I’m a writer not a record company owner so I don’t know, that’s not my interest. You know, to be honest after fifteen years of lad culture, where people are afraid of being ‘arty’, ‘pretentious’ or even being perceived as being gay it seems unlikely unless someone has the courage to just get on and do it.
Q – Debbie Curtis complains of her treatment at the male ‘clique’ within the label – what was your experience of Factory masculinity?
Of course being gay, and also being a Londoner I had a very sharp view of this. It seemed to me that going to Manchester in the late 70s was like going back 20 years in terms of sex and gender relations. In fact a lot of my friends at that time, apart from those at Factory, were women – in particularly at Granada – and this was because a lot of the men were unbearable. At the same time I got it in the neck from the gays who had a deputation run down to me and say “we know you’re gay, why don’t you like disco, why don’t you dress like us?” and I said “I’m a punk rocker, sorry”. So it was not a free and easy time in that respect, there were campaigns against gay people by the then police chief – James Anderton – who had a very fierce, Evangelistic morality which was completely unacceptable, its not the police’s job to control peoples morals. There is certainly room for a feminist reading of Factory records, and that’s also why I helped to get Debbie’s book published. The judgement would be quite harsh in some ways.
Q – Factory progresses and evolves across its history, from Joy Division to Happy Mondays, who do you feel is the ultimate legacy of Factory records?
Well, to be honest there are two Factories and I’m with the first Factory – I couldn’t stand all that Happy Mondays crap. It drove me absolutely crazy, I thought they were a bunch of poison drug trolls. Apart from two or three remixes of some of the material I just disliked the whole vibe, it was very black. I had said this to Wilson – I had previously been very, very close to Wilson – and when I met him he was a kind of intellectual hippy, his house was full of West Coast records. He was very positive, and very up and it all turned a bit dark to be honest, and I regarded some of that as the involvement of drugs. I had real words with Wilson over his promotion of the Happy Mondays as a kind of ecstasy version of the Sex Pistols and I said to him “if you’re promoting drugs in that way, you’re going to get real problems” and this is before all the stuff that happened. I just thought he was being fantastically irresponsible, and I didn’t like it, I have to say. The legacy of Factory depends on which kind of Factory you like, really, the incompatibility of the two halves and periods can be seen in the problems that are seen in 24 Hour Party People where the whole Joy Division / Martin thing is written off as a kind of joke. Well it wasn’t a joke, and the great thing about Joy Division is that they didn’t talk about football.
Q – Manchester and London had very different approaches to fashion, was this a big deal at the time?
Well I don’t know because I wasn’t living in London! I was living in Manchester when Joy Division happened so I can’t answer that. I personally didn’t have a problem with punk being about fashion, I thought it was great – it started in fashion, I don’t have a problem with people wearing different fashions. It’s a part of pop, which is after all what we’re dealing with. The Joy Division look was very utilitarian, it was a mixture of second hand stuff and high street chains of the day. You look at Rob Gretton’s receipts for the band’s clothes and they’re going along to Deansgate to some of the big stores there and picking out items. In Manchester in 1979 everyone looked like that, it was part of the way in which the group perfected their time and their city, at the same time obviously as they transcended it in their music.
Q – There is a stunning number of ideas in the punk movement, with bands having vastly different ideologies – what caused this?
It was just that idea that you can do anything, and that whole didactic side to punk. You listen to the Sex Pistols records and there’s a lot contained in the words, and the words go together with the music, and the music of the time was very different. You listen to “Anarchy In The UK” and “God Save The Queen” and there’s a real lyrical ambition there, and there’s also some great phrases. There was that idea, very much promoted in the early days of punk, which was the whole idea of doing something new. That’s why bands like The Jam weren’t really well regarded when they started because they weren’t doing something new – they were like a 60s covers band. You look at Buzzcocks and they were doing something new. So if you’ve got that as a kind of central idea in a particular idea in a particular pop culture or youth culture then people are going to turn up with all sorts of things. There’s also this idea at the time – which is also probably punk’s most enduring legacy – which is the whole ‘do it yourself’ idea. The whole idea, that the Buzzcocks again really started, of independent labels and the idea that you can just press up and put out a record by yourself provided the distribution and press it there. In that period the much maligned music press was really promoting this type of music as much as it could, while you also had a chain of excellent records shops who were actually showcasing independent material – and were independent themselves. That’s very important, and Factory were a product of that, the fact that you could put out a record by yourself and guarantee enough sales to cover your cost. Or that was the idea anyway.
Q – In the wider Manchester scene, how were Factory regarded by their peers?
Factory wasn’t the thing it’s become, and part of me is actually quite bewildered by the way it’s become this huge issue – obviously because I was there. I remember Tony Wilson fighting with his wife and now it’s become legend – it’s a bit weird. Again you have to look at it in the context of the time. Factory at the time was resented by people such as Tosh Ryan. Tosh had Rabid, who made some very good records – Tosh didn’t like Factory. Then there was those groups like Spherical Objects and The Passage who were on a different label, and then there was New Hormones / Buzzcocks so there were a few little factions. It was such a small scene that I don’t remember it getting ugly, and also Factory / Joy Division weren’t a huge thing. Joy Division only really broke in 1980, they were still very much a music press / underground thing in 79 / early 80 and I’m afraid it was really Ian’s death that propelled them into the national spotlight. In retrospect they’ve become much bigger than they were at the time so Factory was just another label at the time. There were strong link ups with Sheffield, a lot of to-ing and fro-ing across the pennines. I don’t remember much link up with Liverpool – I think Bill Drummond and Zoo was a very different proposition and of course there’s a traditional hostility between Manchester and Liverpool anyway. Although friends of mine in Liverpool really did like Joy Division. So there was a Northern link up but mainly with Sheffield which goes in with the electronic vibe because you had The Human League starting up there as well, and you had Bob Last’s Fast Records which obviously put out those two great “Unknown Pleasures” outtakes – “Autosuggestion” and “From Safety To Where”- on one of his Earcom EPs.
Q – Joy Division have become a ubiquitous cultural object now – has this obscured the band?
I’m really pleased that Ian and the others have got the recognition they were due, because they were a fantastic band. Of all the groups that I saw in that period, apart from The Sex Pistols and maybe The Clash, they were the most intense and played some of the best shows I saw. They were extraordinary and I’m happy they’re getting all this attention. Much rather them than others. When something gets this bug there’s going to be all kinds of different levels of appreciation. One of the reasons I wanted to do the documentary, and also get the “Heart And Soul” boxset out, is so there’s stuff out there so people can hear them. In particular the live stuff, as they were very different live – they were super intense live – and I think that comes out on the live side of “Heart And Soul” and also in the documentary, we’ve got unseen footage and it’s extremely intense. It is just extraordinary – just brutal.
Q – The film incorporates a lot of footage from the period, do you find it quite emotional looking back on it all?
Yes! It was a very difficult thing to do, actually. I mean the director Grant Gee found it quite hard. It’s a difficult subject. Ian’s death was a very great shock at the time, and I had the very strange experience during the documentary of having people telling me that I did things around May 1980. Leslie Gilbert told me that I turned up to see her and Rob with a bottle of whiskey and I just don’t remember anything about that at all. I have a May 1980 hole in my memory, which in general is extremely good but I don’t remember anything from that period at all. So it was strange, because while we were finishing filming I heard that Tony was very ill possibly fatally ill so I was very upset about that and mourned the fact that we’d been young men together. It was a very important time in my life, and a very important time in his life – we were very close for a couple of years – so that was upsetting. It’s a tough subject in certain areas, and we all know the ending don’t we? And the ramifications of Ian’s suicide still carry on. There’s Deborah and Natalie, and the rest of the band who are living with this day by day.
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