The Palisades from Perth, Australia! Such a fantastic band that only recorded around 11 songs. All of them top-notch! I was lucky to grab once their retrospective on Egg Records, and now even more lucky to have been in touch with Ian Freeman from the band. He was kind enough to answer all my questions!

++ Thanks so much Ian for being up for the interview! Most of us are going through a cold winter but down in Australia you are having a great summer! How have you being enjoying it so far?

The summer break has been great. Lots of days at the beach trying to perfect my surfing technique. I got a 9′2″ mal that gets a work out when ever possible.

++ You’ve been involved in many bands like Mars Bastards or Header, but I’m going to stick to Palisades questions on this interview. But I do wonder if this was your first band? I’ve heard about some band Peppermint Drops and another one Homecoming… but I’m not sure.

Well, I it was all a little fast paced at the beginning. I got offered the job as singer with the Homecoming by Gil Bradley and Mandy Haines who were friends of mine. That same weekend I was out at a gig and saw Jeff Baker who was playing with the Peppermints and asked how it was going and he told me they needed a new singer. So I jumped at it as they were actually playing gigs and a bit more organised. In the end I only played one crazy show with the Peppermint Drops in a place called Boyup Brook which is sorta like “deliverence” country. We supported The Stems.

++ The Palisades were formed around you and Jeff Baker, right? How did you both meet? And then how did you decide to start a band?

I was a friend of Jeff’s sister Sue. We are both a little younger than J.B. so when he would go out, we would sneak into his room and play all his groovey records. I got to know him through that and going to see gigs. When the Peppermint Drops folded we just decided we would continue on together as we were both into the same scene and liked similar music etc.

++ How did this creative partnership work? What was the creative process behind it?

In the beginning Jeff had a large kitchen with a huge round table. We would catch up at his place two or three times a week and just throw ideas at each other across the table. He was studying English literature at uni and would lay out sheets of poems and I would cut out lines from each of them and paste them together. I think we just put half finished ideas down onto a cassette player for later reference. Maybe one out of every 5 songs would make it to a rehearsal. Out of the rehearsal maybe one out of two songs would make it to the gig. Out of the set list of say 20 songs we only recorded a few, maybe 10.

++ How did the other members came to be in the band? How was the recruiting process?

Well I was trying to play guitar at the time and another of our friends Gary was playing bass but neither of us were getting very far. Jeff had some friends from his contacts with The Stems. Velo Zupanovich who played bass with Dom in the Gostarts and Guido Berini who played guitar with Velo in a band called The Rayguns. He recruited them then we found a drummer Richard Nash. Gary was asked to leave and I was asked to stop playing guitar and concentrate on singing!

++ Why the name The Palisades?

Jeff came up with it. He was into the shapes of words back then, and probably still is. He liked the way the P and the d offset each other, the repetition of the s’s and the way the a and l almost make a d. After he put so much thought into it how was any of us going to object.

++ The Perth scene in the 80s seems so vibrant! How do you explain that explosion of guitar pop bands in the city? As you were around, I have to ask, was there a band in Perth that was great but no one has heard about? I mean, we’ve all heard of Summer Suns, Stolen Picassos, Charlotte’s Web, etc etc… but maybe you remember some other?

Perth is one of the most isolated citys in the world. The music scene has always been pretty vibrant, basically because you have to make your own fun. If you didn’t you would go nuts through lack of things to do. So you start a band, or mange a band, or open a club, or start a shop selling cool records and t-shirts because literally nobody else was doing it. Why guitars? Acappella doesn’t cut it and synths were so expensive I guess. Bands were popping up and blowing out so fast. My fave band of that time were Traitors Gate who my friend Andre Scannel sang for. He was very into Velvet Underground, Joy Division and Echo and the Bunnymen and they sounded like a mix of all that. I only have one blurred photo of them live. I don’t think they ever recorded. Kim Williams band The Holy Rollers were good too. Rabbits Wedding were another.

++ A friend of mine once made me a copy of the Out of the Woodwork tape, but neither him or me have any information on it. Do you know anything about it? I know there were two of your songs there, but I have no clue who released it or when…

Every year or so someone in Perth puts a compilation out of who ever is playing the scene at that time. It’s usually called something like “Edge of the World” or “Way Out West” or “Look At Us We’re Trying Really Hard”. The motives behind them were always a bit suss and a bit sad. We did it for promotional reasons as did all the bands. I cant remember what we put on there or who else was involved.

++ You appeared on a compilation and a flexi, both released by a radio station. Was this something common back in the day? Radios supported independent bands?How did you end up on these releases?

Radio 6NR was a uni run station. Jeff was going to uni and managed to get us a slot on there every Tuesday night 9 to midnight. We got to spin all our latest records and have a bit of a laugh. It was great fun. Unless you liked listening to the usual FM playlists there was no radio station playing the stuff we liked. You couldn’t hear Elvis Costello, R.E.M., Lets Active, The Smiths any where except 6NR and 6UVSFM another uni station which later turned into 3RTR. And all these radio programs were being run by our friends and other band members. This is where I first heard Big Star, Television, Gram Parsons so many great bands…it was an education every night. Then a mag came out and a flexi disc on the cover. We were really lucky to do one. I think the Kryptonics did one. The mag would have news on local bands and gigs coming up.

++ How did you end up signing to Easter Records? How was your relationship with Neil Kim? Any anecdotes you could share?

Kim ran a shop called White Ryder Records?. I had been going in there since I was about 16. I would go in days in a row and just look at the records I wanted to buy as I had no money. You could stand there for hours and listen to Kim and his pals spin great tunes. So we all knew Kim for ages. Kim had put out my mate Ian Underwoods bands ep (The Kryptonics) and Jeff had done Summer Suns releases with him. He was very relaxed about the whole thing.

++ What do you remember from recording this mini-LP? And how many copies were there made? I can’t yet find a copy for myself!

We recorded the lp in two sessions. Recording was very expensive back then so we played our arses of and saved a few thousand dollars and we went into the best studio in Perth called Planet with John Vilani who is sadly no longer with us. We did side one in there on the day Liverpool played Everton in an F.A. cup final. Having grown up in Liverpool this was a huge deal for me and I had to keep running out to check the score then back in to do vocal takes. Agony! The second side we recorded in Shelter Studios with Andy Priest?…Kim was on board by now. I remember Kim got the records pressed and they had a printed lyric sheet insert that had to be put in each one. We sat at his place and did everyone by hand. 1000 copies? this was the day Kim introduced me to Pet Sounds. Shit, the hairs on my neck just stood up!!! I think Da Da Records in Perth still has a few copies floating about.

++ I did find the Egg Records compilation, which is such a fantastic compilation of all of your releases plus an unreleased track. But I do wonder if there are still more unreleased tracks from The Palisades? maybe hiding in some old dusty tapes?

Sorry thats it. I do have a cassette of us rehearsing live but its very rough. There are about 7 or 8 unreleased tunes on there. Turkish Delight, My New Address.. cant remember the rest.

++ What are your favourite Palisades’ songs?

It’s hard for me to be objective. When I listen to them now I hear song writers on a learning curve. Like looking back on your primary school days. Light As Air was one of those round table songs. As is Today of All days which I still play on guitar to this day. So I guess I will take those two. Oh and The Jetty.

++ What about gigging? Did you gig lots as The Palisades? Any particular gigs you remember and why?

We did heaps of shows. We supported The Stems a few times, The Go Betweens, The Triffids, Hunters and Collectors, Falling Joys plus we got to play heaps of shows when going out to a gig was the thing to do so crowds were big like 300, 400 to a local band which was massive. I cant remeber any one show in particular. Being back stage with the all those bands was huge and seeing Mark Seymour warming up his vocals before a show was a huge moment for me personally like..”Shit, this is serious buisness here”. Up until then I didn’t take singing very seriously, just a bit of a giggle really. When I saw you could be as professional as a guitarist or drummer about it I really started to listen and learn.

++ Okay, I said I’d stick to Palisades but this I do want to ask, would you care to tell me a bit about the Pelicassos Brothers? I’ve been looking for songs for like forever but never to find anything. Was there anything released? Or at least, are there any recordings?

Martin Gambie and I got together on days where there was not much going on in the Palisade or Stolen Picassos camps. Our bands would play together often and we even had a song called “Weeping Woman” which was the name of the Picasso painting that was actually stolen.He got me into Mamas and Papas and obscure vocal bands and I would try to convince him of the merits of The Fleshtones or Jellyfish. We would jam a few of our favorite tunes together and a couple of covers like Dylans “You Aint Going Nowhere” and “Swan Swan Hummingbird” by R.E.M. and practice our harmonies. The we started playing a few gigs as a duo and I finally got to play 12 string! Then we would get rolling drunk. I do have a tape with two songs on it which I discovered the other day. I hadn’t listened to it for over 20 years! It was never released and one of the songs is just humming no words but the other song is great.

++ What about the tribute band the Pale Sadies?

You have got to be joking?

++ There is a moment when you all decide to move to Sydney, why was that? Then you came back to Perth, right? Was that when the band broke up?

First our drummer Richard Nash left the band and was replaced by Chad then Dave Hale, then Guido left and we decided to play as a four piece. Then Jeff and Dave quit to pursue other interests. Velo and I decided to continue on as the band had quite a following and we were getting heaps of shows. So Gil Bradley from The Homecoming replaced Jeff on guitar (who went on to start the Rainyard) and Duncan McMillan came in from the Stolen Picassos to play drums. We recorded a few songs with this line up of which “Memories of Old Flowers” and “Deaths Echoes” made it onto the Palisades cd on Egg records. Sydney was where all the record companies were at the time and all the new pop bands were coming out of Sydney so we decided to move there. Velo quit and we got Mandy Haines in from the Homecoming/Rosemary Beads to play bass. We played about 15 shows there and went down well but we never really got a foot hold. Jeff was sending tapes of The Rainyards stuff and it sounded like all the fun was back in Perth so we moved back. I just hung out for a year and then Jeff and I started the Mars Bastards with Gil on guitar. There were five line ups with the Palisades and each one had its own distinctive sound.

++ Are you still making music? What are some of Ian Freeman’s hobbies?

I still play in a band with Jeff called The Lazybirds here in Melbourne. Shaun Lahore from the Mars Bastrads plays drums with us and Dave Johnstone and Phil Natt from Ammonia play guitar and bass respectively. We have recorded a 7 track EP but have no label so are sitting on that at the moment. Hobbies??? Well, I surf. I am a chef so I cook and eat out. And play gigs when ever possible!

++ Thanks again for doing this interview, anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks for the trip down memory lane. It was heaps of fun. Take care.


The Palisades – Alternatively Wednesday


Hope Stew doesn’t get mad if I call him an indiepop legend! But he is! And so, I’m very thrilled to have had the opportunity to chat with him about his most known band, Boyracer. He has been in many, you know, right? He also runs the great 555 Recordings label if you didn’t know. Check more of their stuff on myspace and on their own website. But that’s it for introductions, please enjoy our little interview!

++ Thanks Stew for making this interview. It’s hard to cover on a single short questionnaire everything you’ve done but let’s try it! So 2 feet of snow this past week? So it snows in the desert?

Oh yes. We are in the high desert here, 7000 ft above sea level. We get pretty extreme seasons, which is one of the reasons I love it so much.

++ Boyracer is mostly you, Stew, and lots of friends that have stepped in to play with you. What was the line-up that lasted the longest? And if you had the chance to do a sort of an all-star lineup, who would you choose?

Erm… I’m not sure what the longest line up was. I think myself, Jen and Ara supplemented by whoever else was available and wanted to help out. I think the most exciting line is always the current line up, which for the Slumberland reunion shows will myself, Jen, Ara, Chuck (Bright Lights) and Mario (From Bubblegum To Sky/Ciao Bella etc). I’m not sure if that is “All Star” but it is as competent as it gets in terms of playing live.

++ Have you been involved in other bands before Boyracer? Or was this your first adventure? Where did the inspiration to start came from?

Oh lots of bands, you should check out “The Wetherbeat Scene 1988-91″ CD we put out. Its a 35 CD comp of bands I was in during highschool.

++ Why did you call the band Boyracer?

A Boyracer is an expression from the North of England that describes a young boy who spends lots of money souping up a crap car and then driving it recklessly to impress girls. Sort of showing off with something that isn’t really worthy of showing off with.

++ You’ve covered many songs. But I’m wondering which is the one you are more satisfied with? or at least your favourite?

Well, I love to play music and its always fun to put your own twist on someone elses song and try and make it your own. I like all 15 of the songs on our Boyracer Jukebox Vol 1 very much. I think our version of Bonnie Tylers “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” is pretty remarkable.

++ How did you end up on Sarah records? Was it easy to be the noisy band in the label?

We used to put shows on in Leeds for a bunch of bands, not just Sarah bands, and usually we would book ourselves as the opening band. We where asked by Matt and Claire out of the blue to do a 7inch. It wasn’t easy at all being on Sarah as not many people who came to the Sarah shows or bought Sarah records liked us. Likewise, people who did sort of like us hated all the “twee crap” surrounding the label. There where, let us not forget, some truly dreadful and gutless bands on Sarah at the same time we where involved. Its funny how Sarah is viewed nowadays as an amazing label because at the time, in the UK at least, it was really uncool to be on Sarah. But I always thought Matt and Claire where fantastic people who I still have huge respect for.

++ But your first releases were on Fluff Records, a way noisier label, with bands such as Liechtenstein Girl and Aspidistra. And they were from Leeds too! Were you good friends? How did you meet the Fluff
Records people?

The mysterious “DMCL” who ran Fluff just wrote to us after we had been on a few compilation tapes. We sent him a few songs and he put them out. At the time he lived in Loughborough, and I had a job driving Artwork to and from Leicester from Leeds, so used to call in on him and play records in his bedroom. He was a pretty crazy guy who I suspect took too many drugs and burnt out. (His band was Leichtenstein Girl). He disappeared after a while, and no-one knows where or what he is upto.

++ You said once that you felt more comfortable with being Slumberland Records than in any other labels. Why didn’t you continue releasing there?

Not sure. Mike stopped asking us, not through any falling out, Im still in touch with him all the time. He has lots of new bands and I guess The Pains keep him busy. Although having said that, I did just record a 7inch with Matt Hartman as The How that will coupled with 2 new Boyracer songs, that be coming out on 555/Slumberland just in time for the Slumberland 20th anniversary shows.

++ What about starting 555 Records, what was the main reason behind that? It would be nice to do a whole interview about the whole label sometime…

The main reason was to release a record by our friends Hood. At the time I was sharing a house with Richard, and they had a bunch of great songs that remarkably no-one wanted to release. So we did. It wasn’t really meant to be an ongoing thing, in fact none of the first 10 records even had catalogue numbers on them.

++ I find it funny that you once wrote a song called “Bring me the Hair of Phil Oakey”. Have you seen photos of him today? He goes with no hair at all! But what’s the story behind this song?!

Always loved the league. Fine baritone voice, lovely mane of hair. Always liked men in mascara.

++ I do have to ask you about one of my favourite songs of yours “My New Shoes”, I just want to know what is it about, and how did you come up with it? Easy question!

Gosh. Erm… that’s as song I wrote 16 years ago so I don’t really remember specifics. But the gist of it is putting new shoes on a table is meant to bring bad luck. The lyrics I suppose are about deliberately bring bad luck upon yourself. I usually don’t think about writing songs much at all and certainly don’t enjoy dissecting my own output. I strive for a less conscious way of writing and recording. Pretty much everything I have ever done has been done very quickly. Initially because we couldn’t afford studios back in the day, but nowadays because I think any kind of “art” should be spontaneous and from within, you think about it too much you will destroy it. I hate pretension in any kind of “art”. Most of the recordings I have ever made have always been 1st,2nd or 3rd takes. (Apart from the drums. You have to get the drums right or the songs never work).

++ What about gigs, you’ve played tons! But is there any in particular you are more proud of?

I guess the Emmaboda festival in Sweden. Our biggest gig, and outside too. It was broadcast on Swedish radio. One of my favourite live moments looking out into a few thousand people. Of course it was a festival so they weren’t there to us specifically…

++ Why did you decide to move and stay in Flagstaff, Arizona, of all places. You don’t ever miss the city life?

I run a cattle ranch with Jen out here in the desert. Actually where we live isn’t technically Flagstaff as we live in the middle of nowhere completely off the grid with no roads, solar power, and we pump our own well water. Surrounded by cows, pigs, chickens, horses etc… It would break my heart to ever go back to living in a city. I’ve lived in cities most of my adult life. Once you get in tune with the seasons, which you have to do quite quickly when you have 400 cows, city life seems so ugly.

++ You spend quite some time in New Zealand and pressed records in Australia as well. What is that that you miss the most from the antipodes?

They’re always up for a beer and good time… no, really, an amazing amount of remarkable music has always come out of Australia and New Zealand and continues to do so.

++ Can we expect anything from Boyracer in the future or was the last record really the last one?

I thought we where done as Boyracer, but when we where asked to play the Slumberland anniversary shows although I had reservations I finally said yes. But I wanted to do something new for it, and not just have a nostalgia trip. I certainly feel with Boyracer the last 5 years of records we made where the best. Sadly not many people have heard the last 5 years of records we made, as we have no distro and none of those records even sold 100 copies. So I wrote and recorded 2 new songs which will be the aforementioned split single with The How. So, even when I want to stop I guess I can’t…

++ What was the biggest highlight so far for you as Boyracer?

Having John Peel tell me “Excellent punk rock” after he witnessed us playing 16 songs in 22 minutes.


Boyracer – Passionflower


Some time ago I wrote a little piece about These Future Kings, a fantastic Australian band that seemed to have disappeared out of the blue. No signs on the internet about them! But Perry White, one of the members of the band got in touch and has been so kind to give me an interview and tell me more about his band! Thanks so much Perry!

++ So let’s get into business, how did the band start? How did you all knew each other?

TFK birthed in about 1985/86 after I met Charles at Monash University in Melbourne. He was studying Arts, I was studying science and we knew of each other through a mutual friend who encouraged us to seek each other out. I think we met through the Uni radio station at which we both had shows. We were both in separate bands at the time: I was in one called Polar 1500 and he was in Gothic Farmyard. Both bands were playing rather extreme music and we discovered we shared a passion for melody and guitars and had very similar musical tastes. We began writing together and knew we had to be in a band together. I was sharing a house with Mark Freeman (drummer) then, so he was an obvious choice. Steven Johanssen (sax and keyboards) I brought with me from Polar 1500 and Claudia White (bass) is my sister so I asked her to play simply because we didn’t have a bass player.

++ What does the name These Future Kings mean? Was it easy to decide on the name?

TFK is a phrase from the Tibetan Book Of The Dead which I found and I don’t think anyone else had a say in it. I don’t recall any discussions or alternative suggestions.

++ Bury My Bones is such a great track! What is it about? How did this song came to life?

‘Bury My Bones’ started as Charles’ guitar riff around which we played. We usually wrote by Charles or I bringing a riff or chord sequence to the band and everyone jamming on that initial idea. A structured song would usually rear its head from the jamming and I would write the lyrics last to fit the musical structure. On occasion, I would bring a completed song to the band or Charles would bring the music and I would bring the words.
‘Bury My Bones’ is vaguely about the idea of killing one self to give birth to another self; the idea of keeping moving and growing. But really I can’t speak for the guy who wrote those words – he was very young, a little lost and I guess looked a little like me.

++ I’ve only listened the Bury My Bones single so I’m still hunting for the Carnival LP. Can you tell me a bit more about the album? How many songs were included? What about the recording process? Your favourite song? Any other anecdotes?

‘Carnival’ was an absolute pleasure to make. It was the first time we had planned a recording session and our first time with a producer – Tim Cole/Mr Bo – who was a member of probably the biggest Indie band in Australia then – Not Drowning Waving.
The bulk of the recording took place in winter and for their acoustic properties, we decided to record in the basement of silos of an abandoned Flour Mill in Richmond, a suburb of Melbourne. The place was being used as a squat by friends of ours – it had no running water, no toilets, no heating but somehow the electricity was connected. The silos were near a major train route, so most of the recording happened very late at night after the trains had stopped.
I remember it being cold all the time, drinking a lot of Port wine to keep warm, all of us tired but urging each other on to play better – we were high on the music, the ambition, the promise of it all. And occasionally the dope.
We spent about 8 days at the mill, then did overdubs in a studio in Elwood and I think finished the recording and mixing in about 12 days. All up, perhaps the best recording experience of my life.
‘Carnival’ has 10 songs and is divided into a ’showside’ and a ‘ringside’ built around the carnival idea. I think all of us would nominate a song called ‘My yellow room’ as our favourite. I hope you get to hear it one day.

++ There was also a mini-LP released in 1986 right? I couldn’t find any information about it at all! What about this one? Does it really exist?

Our 3 releases on the Rampant label are completed by our first release, a four song e.p. called ‘After This’. We recorded it as winners of a community radio station 3RRR’s ‘Battle of the Bands’ type show.
There is also a compilation live LP called ‘Hair of the Dog’ from a venue called The Punter’s Club’ on which we have a track ‘A face to break a thousand hearts’ and several songs on cassette fanzines, etc. And our never-released 2nd album ‘Via Dolorosa’ which we recorded for Rampant, but the label crashed before it was released.

++ What were you listening at the time? Had the influence of the Flying Nun label from New Zealand already reached the Australian coasts?

Our infuences…hmmm… I personally was most influenced by local or Australian bands like The Go Betweens, The Birthday Party, The Laughing Clowns, The Triffids and many more. I was much more influenced by bands’ attitudes and their quirkiness than their music per se. Musically, I think we were influnced by a lot of guitar-based, melody fuelled music. I remember Charles loved tasteful guitar stuff like The ComSat Angels; Mark loved mainly American trashy stuff like Camper Van Beethoven, The Violent Femmes and their ilk; and I think we all loved Joy Division, some punk stuff, Echo & The Bunnymen, etc.

++ How did you end up signing to Rampant Records? How was the relationship?

We had a great relationship with Bill Tolson from Rampant. We initially sent him the completed songs for what became ‘After This’ and he signed us for an album based on that. He was very keen on the second album as well but the company folded.

++ On the Bury My Bones single you worked with Warren Ellis from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, how was that experience?

I knew Warren (Ellis) through mutual friends and we got on great together. He was playing in other bands and somehow ended up joing TFK for about a year. He was great fun to work with – ‘Bury My Bones’ is the only thing we recorded with him, apart from some live stuff. Ultimately though, he didn’t really fit into the band as we already had a ‘featured’ instrument (the sax), and Warren wasn’t a background sort of player. We loved the violin though and ended up recruiting Jennifer McCutcheon into the band on viola. She plays on ‘Carnival’ but only joined the band after the recording.

++ Did These Future Kings gig a lot? Any particular gigs you remember the most?

TFK played a hell of a lot, as did most bands at that time. It’s also a particularly Australian thing I learnt later on for bands to play themselves halfway to the asylum and really hone their talent that way. The Triffids and The GoBetweens were particularly famous for this. We played on average 4 shows a month basically anywhere that would have us. I think my favourite show was supporting The GoBetweens at a beautiful theatre in Melbourne called The Old Greek Theatre (now demolished). We were throwing sparks that night and went down really well in front of 800 people, maybe the biggest crowd we played to. A close second would be our first show in Sydney in an underground venue in Kings Cross. We had driven straight up from Melbourne (about 10 hours) to the venue to sound-check, then did a press interview, and just before the show a drunk threatened to slash me up with a broken bottle! I remember shaking for the first three or so songs and not being able to hold the chords down on my guitar. The show went great.

++ Why and when did you call it a day? Were you involved with music after?

TFK ended not with a bang but a whimper, I suppose. We gradually became disheartened shopping the second album around after Rampant folded. Claudia and Mark decided to leave music altogether and do something ’sensible’ with their lives. Charles and I continued writing and playing together and in the late 90s formed a band called The Lost Highway, which was very enjoyable but got nowhere, again through the difficulties trying to get a release for our album ‘Amarine’. Charles does not play music at all, but got heavily into the music business and now runs a music-related consultancy business in London. Claudia never played music again and is now married with 2 children. Mark is now a print journalist and is marrried with a couple of kids. Steven also stopped playing music after TFK. I am still writing and playing under the name P A White, and hope to have an album out around August this year.


These Future Kings – A Rumour of Angels


Photo: sitting on the gate from left to right are Michael Green, Tim Slater, Dave Wick, John Lindsell and the Dave Fletcher.

A couple of days ago Michael Green, The Nightjars guitarist, got in touch with me. I had written a blog piece about his band many months ago asking for some more information about it and somehow he stumbled upon it. How thrilling! And he has been so nice to tell me the whole story of the band with me, and of course, I want to share with you all. Also he scanned a promo photo of The Nightjars, plus an interview on a Cambridgeshire zine called “Scene and Heard” (part 1, part 2, part 3). Also he asked me to upload the B side “Hang Me Out Dry” which he said: “was only of my favourite things we did. I remember writing the original chugging (C F Am F I think….) riff, sat on my amp,playing it to the others and then Tim Slater improvising the slide guitar bit over the top straight off the top of his head, it was all pretty instant really which are usually the best ones.” And I can only agree, it’s fantastic tune!

And here is the whole story:

The Nightjars were formed from an amalgamation of twobands – The Giant Polar Bears and Red Over White. Original band members were Johnny Lindsell (vocals) Dave Wick (bass) Brendan Costello (guitar) and Dave “Fletch” Fletcher (drums). The name was Johnny’s idea – he is a bit of an ornithologist on the side and came across it in a bird book, thought the nocturnal animal / mesmerizing call bit was cool. Personally, I much preferred The Giant Polar Bears but wasn’t in the group then so didn’t have a say! The thinking at the time was it was too close to The Mighty Lemon Drops (well done on your referencing of influences in the article by the way – spot on)- turns out there’s another band now from Manchester callTheNightjars (part of me feels like contacting them to suggest calling themselves The Giant Polar Bears….much better name but there we are!) Brendan eventually emigrated to Australia to manage a mine somewhere and on-board came Tim Slater, who at the time worked in a guitar shop in Cambridge.

Somewhere around 1988 the band decided they wanted to fill the sound out by adding another guitarist. I lived in the same village as Johnny (Wistow, Cambs) and he’d heard I played guitar. The band at this point were in their mid to late 20’s, I was 15. So I get a knock on my door one day asking if I’d like to audition for the band – one of the most nerve-wracking decisions I’d had in my life! Half of me was “YEAH!”, the other half was “but I only know half a dozen chords and how to play a power chord…..” Anyway – I agreed and that afternoon had an audition in a pig barn (yep…) where the band practiced every Sunday afternoon. I passed the test, was thrown a bunch of tapes to learn the songs and told I’d be playing my first gig that Thursday Night in a snooker hall in Ramsey. Spent next 3 days furiously learning the songs and it went like clockwork – one of the best nights of my life, I was officially a rock star….!

Over the next 3 years we gigged extensively and made a handful of demos, culminating in putting Acid In Your Face to vinyl. We were by far and away the best followed band in the Cambridge area and supported the likes of Teenage Fanclub (to be eternal regret I broke my hand the night before and had to sit the gig out), Throwing Muses (remember being horrified that they got paid £1500 for the gig and had a rider that included white towels, whilewe did the whole thing for a case of Red Stripe)and many others. This was our forte – playing live – and we knew it, Johnny wasn’t the best vocalist of all time though he was an outstanding front man and we weren’t the best of musicians (bar Tim Slater) though we could certainly hold our own.Live we hadsome kind of X-Factor that seemed to draw the local youth to us more than any other band, I cant really explain it but it was like we were all part of the same club.Tim went on to be features editor for Guitarist magazine but I have no idea what he, or the others, are doing now – ironically it was by putting his name into google that I found you last night. I’ve also found another guy who I think replaced me in ‘92 and claims to have played on “Acid in your Face – NME Single of the week”. I’m very tempted to email him to say a) no you didnt and b) it was never NME Single of the Week! I see you have this in your article, I’m sure we didn’t but aforementioned band above have done, it may be that you are confusing the two? Would be very interested to know where you got info from though, would make my day if we had and I’d forgotten!From memory I think we may have made the John Peel show though…?

So – this was a big big part of my life from 15-18 but in ‘91 I finished school and passed exams to go to University in Manchester. At the time there was some interest from Rough Trade records, which turned my head a bit but in my heart of hearts I knew we’d never make it so left the band and went to University, where I met my now wife etc etc and the rest is history. I joined a band up there called Dream Baby Dream (now if you want to talk horrendous band names….) but it just wasn’t the same and have just plucked along on my own since, writing the odd thing here and there for my own amusement. Ironically, when I moved to Manchester – the other end of the country – I found the single in a record shop in the bargain bucket! Each week it went down 10p in price until the last time I saw it it was going for something like 5p and disappeared – whether someone bought it or it was chucked away who knows.

Out of interest, I nearly fell off my chair last night when I saw the single cover on your site, the cover is one of my mates (Paddy Hulson) holding Johnny’s baby daughter Poppy. Poppy must be 20/21 now – unbelievable.


The Nightjars – Hold Me Out To Dry


Remember to support your local mailorder. Remember that physical records are prettier and more valuable than a mp3. Remember that indiepop is alive, it’s not a cold little digital file. Indiepop is not to be caged in your ipod. And if you forgot about how inspiring it is, here are two stories to keep believing!

Pebble Records

The United Kingdom has been blessed with a new indiepop mailorder and it’s called Pebble Records. It’s also a label and they have already signed Sarah legends The Orchids and the best new band according to Twee.net poll: The Cavalcade. What is good news also, is that both bands have albums and singles to be released this year!

Behind Pebble Records there is a nice chap called Michael who is a hardcore indiepop lover. How do I know that? Well, he owns the demo of the Ruth Ellis Swing Band. I mean, on my book, that’s WOW! Also I find it funny that years ago, in 2007, I bought some records from him on ebay, some Waltones and Wishing Stones 7″s. I bet he doesn’t remember, I only found about it today while going through old email. But something that is for sure, is that since that time he was doing a fine job sending well-packaged records. That I do remember.

The idea of Pebble Records is mostly to centralize indiepop in UK. To create a store that caters the indiepop hungry, same as what Fraction Discs does in Sweden or Vollwert in Germany. It’s surprising there wasn’t a store like this in UK, as it has the most bands and probably the most indiepop fans than any other country in the world. So Pebble Records is here to fill that gap and so far they are doing it in a brilliant way.

It has been not that long since they opened. It was on mid-November with a clear intention and idea:

Pebble Records is an indiepop and electronica label and mailorder based on the South Coast of the UK. As a mailorder we want to bring the UK a fantastic selection of worldwide labels at sensible prices and the best of UK music to an international audience. If your favourite band or labels not here let us know we love hearing new music! Everything on the website is in stock for fast delivery (usually posted within 1-2 days). As a label we will release records by bands we love and think you will to.

At the moment they have a fine selection of records by different labels including Matinée, Slumberland, Hugpatch, Susy, LTM, This Almighty Pop! and many more. Sweet!


Did you notice that Indiepages is back! It’s been many months since Chris decided to have a break. I missed his weekly reviews, his nice webshop and of course, the demo of the week. Things were very quiet at the indiepages site, only the message board was up and running. Don’t know if it was some sort of new year resolution but Chris is back. Back in top form, with more energy and more ideas for running his fantastic page, which won this years Twee.net poll award as best indiepop page. It’s true that he won’t be doing as many reviews as before, but that’s fine, we can all live with that, right? I see some doubtful faces now. Okay. What about if I say that he will be so busy running a REAL, a physical, store in his own Seattle. A RECORD store. Weren’t all record stores closing down? Well, maybe, but here’s one that is opening!

Here’s what Chris has to say about it: “Why the sudden (and seemingly crazy) decision? Well, there’s a high-end stereo shop in a great location here that has a subdivided second floor which they’re renting out to small businesses and artists for very un-Seattle prices (a little over a buck a square foot per month!). Besides myself, there’s a death metal-themed record shop, a clothing boutique, a second-hand record dealer and an artist that uses her space as a studio. The whole thing’s pretty cool, actually! It will be a record shop and mailorder that will be committed to:

  • Selling records from bands/labels that we like & admire to the pop kids in Seattle and online.
  • Putting an emphasis on helping smaller bands & labels from around the world that don’t otherwise have much distribution outside of their own area.
  • Offering everything at a very low markup since we have barely any overhead; we find it much more important to introduce people to great music than turn a profit!
  • Having fun doing all of this, of course!”

Chris has named the store Jigsaw Records. Does that name sound familiar? That was the name of his old label, one that released beautiful records by Rocketship, Cessna, Poconos, Leslies among others. Now it’s not a label anymore but a fine record store! One that will open quite soon, March 13!

So at last, the US will have a fine and fair mailorder. How much we’ve missed that. I know it wasn’t in the US exactly, but since Poppolar went down, there hasn’t been a good indiepop store on the web. This are the good news we’ve been waiting here for so long! Thanks again Chris!


Nixon – Bedsitters of the World, Unite!


First of all let me say that I’m a BIG FAN of They Go Boom!! And it was such a pleasure and honour to be able to have this little questionnaire with Mike Innes. Thanks a thousand to Mike for being up for me bombarding him will all kind of questions. It’s time to get your They Go Boom!! 7″s and put them on your turntable! Celebrate one of the best bands of the 90s!

++ Hi Mike! How is 2010 so far? Any resolutions for this new year? Or any great project you have in the works for it?

Hi Roque. I’m not really a New Year’s resolutions kind of guy. Maybe that’s where I’ve been going wrong all this time..?

++ Let’s talk about the band, alright? First of all, I’ve always wondered where does the name They Go Boom!! comes from? It’s a fantastic band name by the way!

Thank you. We wanted the name to be something that reflected both of our interests and enthusiasms and we were both pretty keen on Laurel & Hardy, so we made a list of their movie titles that might work for a band name and They Go Boom was the best-sounding one. Bohemian Girl was another of their movies, incidentally, so that was why later on we used The Bohemian Girls as the name for our glam backing vocalists.

++ Okay, so you notice you are being interviewed by a big fan of yours… tell me why you stopped making music? It’s not really fair. You’ve never felt like reviving TGB? I bet you’d be called to some sort of festival like Indietracks if you’d do it!

Oh, the reason we stopped was nothing to do with music. I moved away from the town where we were living and by coincidence Daryl also moved to another part of the country at around a similar time. We didn’t fall out or anything. In fact, I thought we might do Indietracks and we did speak about it briefly, but in the end I couldn’t get it together, partly for technical reasons and partly because life ended up getting taken over by a house move – still, my fault entirely. Sorry!

++ So Mike, how did you and Daryl knew each other?

I was working at the same place as Daryl’s wife and it turned out that we’d both dabbled in music with keyboards, so then we started getting together and doing bits and pieces of writing and recording.

++ I know you were a big fan of jangly guitars, you did the Phew Wow fanzine, but how come you decided to do electronic indiepop instead of guitar pop?

Well, we both liked a lot of different types of stuff, not just guitar pop. It was me who was more into indiepop and the whole Sarah thing, but I did also like 80s synth stuff and I listened to both those sorts of things equally. Daryl was a big Smiths fan but also was into probably a bit more experimental electronics than I was, like Fad Gadget. In retrospect, I wish we’d pursued that side of things more than we did. As for why we ended up using electronic instrumentation, well, we both had bits and pieces of keyboards and drum machines and neither of us could play a guitar… so, kind of an obvious choice. Actually, to be fair, Daryl did play some bass and we ended up using it on the outro to He Didn’t Deserve You on the Atlantic album. We were never interested in the idea of properly involving anyone else in the band, so until much later on it was just whatever we could do between the pair of us.

++ Talking about zines, your first proper release was the flexi that came with the This Almighty Pop! zine! Have you ever met Stephen? He seems really ace, I look forward to meet him! How come did you both got in touch?

Yes, we did meet once or twice. If I remember correctly TGB thought that sending out demo cassettes to some of the fanzines which we liked would be a good way of getting some kind of attention, and Stephen liked what we’d done and kindly offered to release a flexi with TAP.

++ Care to tell me a bit of those early tape releases, “Myopia” and “We Touch the Lives of Ordinary Folk”? What songs were included?

Oh God! I’m not even sure I can remember. I don’t have copies of them. It was twenty years ago! But basically they were all four-track recordings that we did over a period of time in Daryl’s spare bedroom. We were just learning how to use the equipment and how to work round its limitations. The She’s Like A Dream flexi track was probably about the best of the recordings we did then – for some reason it all just fell into place and it sounded great very quickly.

++ I also know there was a tape on Elefant Records, what about that one?

Luis got in touch and asked if he could make a compilation of the two cassette demos. I don’t know if it did the label or the band much good, but in retrospect it’s nice to have an Elefant release to our name.

++ Two questions about the name of your releases. What was The Ruby Lounge? and what about Woody Allen, what’s your favourite movie by him?

The Ruby Lounge was the name of a pub on the seafront in the coastal town where we were living. I was an incomer to the town and it was one of those things that I saw and thought was striking, while Daryl as a long-term resident hadn’t really noticed it. A lot of those early songs were about life there. The cover of the Myopia cassette is a power station that is close by, too. As for Woody Allen, I don’t have a favourite movie – it just seemed like an appropriate title for that particular song.

++ What about gigging? You did quite a few ace ones! But you only started playing live in 1994! Why was that? What took you so long?

Haha. Well, I think in total we did a grand total of five gigs and probably one of them I would actively describe as having been ace. The thing is that playing live was never really what we were interested in. The band was something comfortably social, like going round to a friend’s house and having a coffee and, oh yeah, how about this melody line or this for a drum pattern? Playing live would have been far too much like hard work and we never liked the idea of trawling round the crappier indie venues of England. Plus, because we were 100% electronic the equipment that was cheaply available at that time really wasn’t up to it. In the end a few people kept asking us and kept asking us, so we did play a handful of shows. As I say, one of them was pretty good.

++ From your gigs, I wonder especially about that one that you played along La Buena Vida, one of my favourite bands! How was that? Any anecdotes to tell from that night?

That was the good one! We and I think also Moving Pictures supported them at a place in Madrid. This was a time when La Buena Vida were becoming a pretty popular band across Spain, so they sold out a venue with a capacity of maybe 500 or so. The audience seemed to like our stuff, we heard that some people had travelled a long distance to see us and then I remember standing on stage and being able to see people in the audience actually singing along with songs of ours that they knew.

That was astonishing for us. In our world, in practical terms we were the only people who had any familiarity with our songs at all. Our experience of being a band involved meeting up at Daryl’s place once a week to work on songs, while occasionally receiving a letter from a label saying that they’d sold x copies of a particular release; our experience of being a band definitely did NOT involve going to other countries and seeing face to face that some people really really liked what we were doing. But that’s what happened on that one occasion with La Buena Vida.

++ Also you played at the Stockholm International Pop Underground 3, how was that experience?

Mmm, I think you know more about the band than I do… we invited Denis Pasero from Caramel to play some guitar for that show, which he also did on the album that we were recording at around the same time. There were some technical sound problems at the gig which made it a little bit frustrating, but it was OK. Having Denis involved on stage was a good thing.

++ It’s a bit complicated for me to talk about the 3rd album, the unreleased one. As you know I wanted so badly to release it, but it’s a bit difficult. But I would love to hear your insights from it. Listening to it, it hasn’t aged at all, and sounds great as back in 1999 I bet. Most people haven’t listened to it, so I’m wondering if you could talk a bit about it.

With hindsight, oddly it feels as if we kind of subconsciously knew that things were coming to an end, so we just wanted to record as much as possible in order to get it “out there”. That’s why there’s quite a lot of variety to it, some long songs and some little sketches as well, a couple of instrumental tracks… It was pretty ambitious in terms of the recording and although inevitably it doesn’t all work, I do think there’s some really good stuff on that record – The King Of Excuses is one I like a lot, because it was a song that neither of us could have done alone. That’s an especially satisfying aspect of working with someone else, when the whole becomes better than the sum of its parts. Also I’m very proud of I’ve Dreamed Of This For Years, quite an emotional song for me personally and a brilliant vocal by Daryl.

++ Before that you released 2 albums, Atlantic and Grand Vitesse. Thinking of it, you were quite prolific! What is your favourite release of yours?

Yes, we were reasonably prolific – we kept at it for quite a long time, never trying to do too much but always getting on with making new material. I definitely like the Atlantic album a lot, I think it hangs together very well as a whole release. The songs are pretty consistently good and by that time we had a clear idea of what we were doing in the studio. Just a shame that people never got the chance to see it with its proper cover art. God knows what happened there. As it is, the only version of the real cover is hanging on my wall.

++ Now I want to ask you about some songs I love! In a sentence tell me what they are about, alright?

– Door Marked Summer

Honestly, I can barely remember that song. It was one of those ones that was written and recorded quite quickly, so it kind of came and went without sticking in my long-term memory. There was a mistake with the recording, too, which didn’t encourage me to want to remember it and that’s why it never got played live, either.

– Twentieth Century

That’s one of Daryl’s. Lots of people seem to have liked this one, which I don’t think we really realised at the time. Nice sequencer lines.

– I Wish You Were Somebody Else

That’s one of Daryl’s, too. Kind of a jokey song lyrically and an opportunity to namecheck some of his favourite film stars, but overall one of our best. I wish we’d done more in this kind of style, really.

– Take Me to the End of the World

I think a lot of songs ended up being about escape and that was one of them.

– Island Nation

Politics! Check the front-and-back cover art.

++ And why write a song about Galaxy Craze?!

Ha. Well, I thought that Galaxy Craze was the name of a character in a Hal Hartley film, but a quick internet search suggests that that is completely wrong and to my surprise I see that apparently she’s an actress. Hmmm. That’s a mystery. All I can say is that I was watching a lot of Hartley’s movies at that time and some of the lyrics on this album are kind of taken from stories or characters in those movies. I wanted Why I Love Galaxy Craze to be a single, it’s catchy and the arrangement is pretty good although in fact there’s a mistake with the tempo and it’s actually supposed to be slower. The title, by the way, is a steal of Lloyd Cole’s Why I Love Country Music.

++ Alright, now difficult question, what does indiepop mean to you? How do you feel about the community?

Oh, that’s a good question. I think that in the period between when the band started up and now, the internet has changed everything and that includes the nature of community. On the one hand you have the music itself and on the other a subcultural group of interested people. Like other genres – particularly ones that aren’t 100% electronic – the economics of indiepop is something that hasn’t been resolved, in that if people are investing sums in recording studio time, ultimately they need to make that money back. My impression is that CD sales / paid-for downloads are far smaller than used to be the case, say, at the end of the 80s.

Nobody really knows how to address that problem, although conversely it is now very easy to find out about bands and releases and the community aspect of involving people and enabling them to find out about releases and events is made massively more straightforward. To be honest I’m not all that active as a consumer, but I do follow a little of what’s going on. I like Burning Hearts a lot and it’s interesting to see people like Sally Shapiro take some of the aesthetics of indiepop and apply them to a different style. It doesn’t surprise me that a scene still exists that to a great extent takes its cues from Sarah, etc., because that has its roots in a homemade aesthetic that is rendered very easy by the internet. But at the same time it’s very exciting to see younger people finding that those older records still have some resonance or meaning today

++ What do you think was the biggest highlight of They Go Boom!!?

Artistically, I’m most pleased with the Atlantic album and the Woody Allen EP. The experience of playing that show in Madrid is obviously something that has stayed with me, so I guess that’s a highlight too. Other than that, I think we just handled the experience of being a band well, for a long period of time. That’s a really good memory for me.

++ How was Margate back then, was there some sort of scene? Do you still live there? If I was to visit, to which places should I go?

Oh God, no, there was no scene. It’s a very small town, 40,000 people. There are lots of places like it on the English coast – towns that up until the 1950s were holiday resorts, but which never found anything to replace that source of income when people started to go to Spain instead. Neither of us live there now.

++ Is it me, or is there some sort of connection between Mike Innes and Japan?

Well, I guess so – my wife is from there and I’m massively interested in J-League football.

++ Thanks again Mike! Hope this is a great year for you! Will you come to London Popfest?

As I’ve never heard of it before now, probably not!

++ Alright, let’s wrap it here. Anything else you’d like to add?

Just to say thank you for taking an interest in the activities of the band.


They Go Boom – Twentieth Century


Wow! It is so great to talk with Krischan! After one great interview about his Frischluft label now we talked about the brilliant Die Honigritter! Prepare your coffee, tea, or grab a beer, and enjoy this interview!

++ Hi Krischan! Good to hear again from you. So how have you been doing the last months? Any great musical findings?

I was enjoying my Christmas holidays and I’m glad about the snow covered world and having had the possibility of skating on the ice in Friedberg’s castle (humming the Vic Godard tune “Nice on the Ice“ in my head).

It’s always risky to ask me about musical findings. You know I’m an ever hungry digger… Some of last months highlights for me were The Crystalairs’ “Fortune Cookie“, Yu’s “Fine“ (alluringly deconstructing The Strawberry Alarm Clock), The Cave Weddings’ “Bring your Love“, Soulboy Collective’s “Casino Action“, Princess Superstar vs. Shawn Lee “Life is but a Dream“ to name but a few.

++ So last time, we were talking about Frischluft and you told me you were in Honigritter! As I told you before it was maybe my favourite band on your label. But I want to hear the whole story about it! You said it started from the ashes of Die Fahrraddiebe. Care telling me a bit about them?

Thank you for the flowers!

In June 1986 guitar-boy Tobi, moony Greek boy Thanos, tall little drummer boy Bruder Burch and no-ability me joined a one week-course in school called into life by wanna-be-evil Ted Bodo. Bodo’s aim was to record a version of “Jailhouse Rock“ on the last day. But he never got further than screaming “The warden…“ at his most raunchiest due to a collapsing rhythm section, who couldn’t keep the beat. The musical teacher Kammel day after day was counting his endless 1-2-3-4s bordering desperation, the others were laughing or visiting the schoolyard to flirt with some girls from the younger classes. On Wednesday it was dawning to the most of us, that this project will not come to the desired end. Sirken Sikora, who was taking another course, proposed that we could steal the golden 50s-drum-kit on Thursday to record a full-band-version of Die Maikinders “Sommerlied“ in his cellar. A word and a blow – we invited some more scallywags as there were Hilde (don’t be mislead by the girl’s name – he was a boy) and Schaumburg for the backing choir and some hours later Die Fahrraddiebe were born. Some weeks later we recorded “Johnny, der Held“. „Matrosen“ never got over the bedroom-status and is deemed to be lost in tape-heaven.

++ Who were the Honigritter? Was it easy to get the band together? Were you all friends? Did you all have the same dreams, taste or expectations?

Die Fahrraddiebe expired during the pop summer of C86, but building on the junction with Thanos and Bruder Burch from Bodo’s failed course in autumn a new combo was put together by the former Fahrraddiebe Tobi and me. We also added Burch’s brother Matn with his golden trumpet, who joined classes with me since that schoolyear, and the brother’s home (to their parent’s sorrow) became our headquarter. I remember being heavily impressed, that Bruder Burch owned a single each by Stahlnetz and The Three Courgettes, when I had a first look over his 7“-collection. Our musical preferences were ranging between The Smiths, The Pale Fountains, Andreas Dorau, Fähnlein Fieselschweif, The Polecats, Detlef Engel, Aztec Camera, Bourgie Bourgie, Fantastic Something, Gus Backus, The Jazzateers (and so on) at the time and we met somewhere in between as a starting point.

On a Saturday in winter we wanted to record our first songs and hired a 4-track-machine. Musical wizard Sirken Sikora, was chosen as our knob-twiddler. He owned a copy of “Take the Subway to your Suburb“ qualifying him for that job. As suggested before Thanos always was a little bit dreamy, so we didn’t get worried, that he wasn’t there at the appointed time. But after an hour we tried to call him. His mother was on the phone telling us, he’s sitting on his bed, crying and not wanting to talk to anyone anymore forever. He was lovesick. So Sirken Sikora for his first time ever took a bass-guitar, fiddled about with it a little bit and soon afterwards played all the parts straight onto the 4-track. On from then he stayed with the Honigritter. I never heard of or saw Thanos again.

++ You were still in high school when you started the band, right? How proficient were you all with the instruments at such a young age?

I never played an instrument (assuming that a record player doesn’t count). Tobi learned some Beatles songs to play on the guitar from an old bearded, long haired hippie. The brothers Matn and Bruder Burch came from a well educated background. So they had to take musical lessons as children for status quo. Matn played the trumpet, Burch had only three fingers on one hand, so he hit the drums. They were hunting for new purposes to pervert their knowledge into pretty soon, that was C86. Sirken Sikora was our musical wunderkind. Besides the instruments in a classic Beat band he taught himself to play piano, flute, cello… The list is endless. Just give him a new instrument and half an hour of time and you will see him playing like he’s never having done anything else before in his entire life.

++ How come at that age you were already exposed to The Chesterfields for example? Was the jangly pop music from UK easy to find where you lived?

The only jangly music our little town Friedberg’s record shop had in stock were from The Smiths and The Housemartins. But we begged for more! As we stumbled across the first fanzines (The Legend! being our first journalistic hero) we were regulars at our local bank to exchange some D-Marks into 5-Pound-notes to send it to labels like Creation, 53rd & 3rd or Subway (l even got the “The Sun is in the Sky“-EP from Martin, which was claimed to be as unreleased in the UK). This was the time, when our liaisons with the mailbox started (for me personally this lasts until today). An anorak wearing friend of mine even blamed his mother for not opposing him a new 7“ for lunch, when he returned from school.

++ So, honestly, did you start Frischluft! mostly to release your own band? Or it was just one of the many reasons?

To put it simple: this was the main reason! I will always prefer a well produced record (this includes intentionally shambling productions as well) over the so-called pure and honest sound a band offers on stage. Besides this I am obsessed with the various obscure systems of catalogue numbers from small labels and how to decode them (Factory, 4AD, Cosmic English Music or Fierce later on or labels like Service or Sincerely Yours today). FRL was an abbreviation of both Frischluft! and Fräulein (= unmarried, young woman – a term that was mainly used until the sixties). Thus the picture of a young woman combined with the catalogue number…

++ Why the name Honigritter?

I always loved both bandnames, which evoke an imagination, and bandnames made of compound words. The Honig(= honey)-part represented me being a sweets-addict and a gentle-minded person (at least at first sight), the Ritter (=knight)-part stood for the obviously more sinister Tobi (who stressed more on the robber baron aspect), but led into the land of fairy tales as well.

++ I heard Matn usually wore a white sailor suit. What about the other members of Honigritter? What was your style?

Anoraks, anoraks, anoraks! Combined with black 501s, striped T-Shirts, rubber soled suede shoes or broques and turtlenecks in the winter. One of my anoraks had a milk van on it’s sleeve. Tobi tended to dress up as a 50s motorcycle boy. The regular hairstyle was shaved backs and quiffs. I was wearing hornrims as well as sometimes a bunch of flowers in my hip pocket in true Morrissey fashion.

++ What about the songs released by the label Two-By-Art? How did that happen? In which releases do they appear? I would love to track those down!

I got to know Two-By-Art through a fanzine. The first release I bought was „Der Elefantenmensch“ by the Merricks. After listening to it, I thought, maybe they would be interested in the Honigritter as well and send them a tape with the recordings, where Sirken Sikora was replacing the lovesick Thanos. They chose four songs for their „Die Welt ist blau wie eine Orangsche“ (=The world is blue like an orange). These songs can be heard on the „Durch’s Schlüsselloch in des Mondgärtners Sternenhain“ (=“Through the keyhole into the moongardeners stargrove“)-Frischluft!-retrospective.

++ What was the idea behind the Honigritter Fibel? Why did you make only 5 copies?!

A Fibel basically is a small children’s book for learning to read, which was used in former decades. The idea was to “educate“ the listener with some background info on the band in the style of the booklets, that came with the first London Pavilion on él or Adam Ant’s “Kings of the Wild Frontier“ or the pretty, pretty inserts with the Subway singles (my favourite being the one with the children reading in their bunk beds from “Ask Johnny Dee“). The reason for it’s limitation to 5 simply was the production costs, which rose proportionately with our excess of ideas.

++ What is your favourite Honigritter song and why?

It may be “Die Liebe des Cowboys“. It was designed to be our Monochrome Set’s „cast a long shadow“. A short uptempo song with male voice choir in the refrain and a twangy guitar solo.

++ What about gigging? Did you gig a lot? Which gigs do you remember the most?

No, we weren’t regulars on stage. Our first concert was at a summer-party at school, where we were backed up by three girls called Die Bienchen aus dem Sauberland (= The little bees from tidy land).

In 1988 we were playing a well known venue in Frankfurt. “Partymädchen“ was a weekly regular at the ballroom, so they invited us. We hired a small van to transport a complete 50s style living room to build up on stage. So Sirken or Matn could sit on the sofa during songs they had no part in and read Tin Tin-comic books or watch the Wirtschaftswunder-era films with Heinz Erhardt we put on the telly on stage (you can see them doing so in the slideshow presenting the bands on www.myspace.com/frischlufttontraeger). In the background there stood a two meter xeroxed and hand painted Lurchi Salamander-character in a knights armour glued on cardboard. The whole scene was illuminated by a Super 8-film Matn and me had put together (Hanna Barbera-strips from the fleamarket painted with felt tips combined with the screening of a self-built psychedelic liquid wheel with water, oil and food colouring, a filmed slide show with antique fairytale-illustrations and the likes as well as slow motion flowers in the wind). The stage was sticky. The knob-twiddler told us, it would be the blood from the dog Skinny Puppy had slaughtered on stage the night before. Matn’s and Burch’s sophisticated parents secretly came to the venue, but didn’t dare to get in…

Some months earlier we played in Gelnhausen, where Barbarossa had a palatinate (so this seemed the right place to play for us). The concert was organised by one of our first patrons of the arts Peik (the “Mit Sonnenschirmen…“-LP is dedicated to him for that very reason). When I talked to him on the phone prior to that evening he told us that he had found a new and unknown jangly band on the rise to share the gig with us. When we arrived we were opposed to some evil looking long haired Grebos. One of them mumbled “f***ing wimps“ upon seeing us, Peik standing behind them hiking his shoulders, embarrassingly smiling at us. So we decided to blow them away with “Greenhorn“ in a Psychocandy/Bachelor Pad-style, which worked out well.

Our last concert was in the cellar of a nearby castle, where we played only one song (following the riot tradition of the Reid Brothers). The audience was filled with some german pop celebrities from the Worms scene or Bernd from Blam-A-Bit wearing a baby soother tied at his anorak’s hood and smoking a pipe.

++ Why did the Honigritter call it a day? Are you still in touch with the other members? If so, what are they doing nowadays?

We all had to leave school after having passed our A levels. And everyone went into another direction. Sirken, Matn and me kept on running the Frischluft! label for some years. Nowadays I meet some of these old friends very sporadically or by accident. As everyone expected Matn studied design, Tobi became a photographer, Sirken started several things ending up as the chairman of his father’s firm. Bruder Burch and me studied to become a teacher. I am a teacher now, Burch went abroad. And Thanos? Who knows?

++ What was the biggest highlight for the Honigritter?

The days before Christmas 1987, when we sold our “Im Sommer“-single at the Christmas party at school! The whole place was paved with oversized xeroxes inviting the spectator to “Klingende Weihnachtsfreude schenken“ (= present tingling Christmas joy) with all Honigritter climbing out of Santa’s sack.

++ If I remember correctly, you are a fan of potatoes whatsoever? Why is that?! I’m a big fan as well, I was having the other day a conversation with my friends in Hamburg telling them potatoes are from Peru, my country, but you know, I really enjoy those stuffed potatoes you make in Germany. What’s your favourite potato dish?

May we hail Seignoret von Luserna San Giovanni for being the first having brought the potato on a large scale to Germany (don’t worry, I may be a nerd on pop music, but I had to consult the internet for that info). I talked to Andreas in the meantime trying to find out, what his girlfriend was cooking for you. Neither he nor I do have the slightest idea, what stuffed potatoes may be. Maybe you remember jacket potatoes with curd, that were offered to you? I like these as well very much as long as there’s some butter on the potatoes instead of herbs in the curd. I guess I’ll disappoint you with my favourite potato dish – it’s simply banal french fries…

++ And now what plans for this weekend?

Unfortunately the weekend’s over in a few hours. In the late afternoon I was in my snow covered apple orchard at a place called Hexenloch (= witches hole) judging if the ranking blackberry bushes have to be cut in the spring.

++ We’ll talk again soon Krischan! But for the meantime, anything else you’d like to add? You know while in Germany I got great feedback about our Frischluft interview? ;)

It’s nice to hear, that you got positive feedback for digging out my half-forgotten tales. I hope I could give some more attention-fetching anecdotes from the cobweb of my memory harboring the Honigritter besides all other great things pop!

Und nicht vergessen: Freude bereiten, Musik schenken!

(= And don’t forget: bringing joy, donating music!)


Honigritter – Liebe Des Cowboys


Back in Altona City. It was around 3p.m. when Kat and Laura joined us at the vegetarian Indian place. By at time: everyone had tasted the infamous Becks beer with lemonade flavour which was good and refreshing, we’ve had the best of laughs and we were almost done with our food. So after finishing our fake gyros, fake hamburgers and fake everything else, the London crowd wanted to get some rest before The Sunny Street gig that was happening later that night. Pretty understandable, but a bit sad because I would have liked to spend as much time with them as possible.

They parted their way to the rock-n’-roll hostel, and the rest of us went walking to Nana’s place. Well, not all of us, rebels as they are, Kat and Laura went there by car. But they had a good reason to do so: as soon as they parked on the shallow street they got out of the trunk a mountain of Jever beer. My eyes were sparkling. They said it was “for the whole weekend”. Of course…

Time for coffee for the girls, time for Jever for the boys. We have Grab Grab the Haddock on the background. We are all so in love with the CD cabinets our hosts have. Eating a slice of baguette, opening each cabinet, full of surprises, finding out the next CD to play. The windows facing the backyard are open and it’s getting a bit chilly on this autumnal evening. Perhaps that makes me pick “Stardust” by Sea Urchins. Wild Grass Pictures and the wind blowing in while we are having a bit of more bread, beer and chorizo. Quite glorious.

The evening goes on while playing more records, flicking through old zines and admiring the tape collection Andreas’ has. Sohfas demo, Sedgwicks demo, Turquoise Trees compilation, Corrupt Postman compilation, etc, etc, etc. Suddenly it’s time for us to head to the Hasenschaukel, the beautiful venue where The Sunny Street will be playing and I’ll be djing. Time to put shoes on. Then a sweater and then on top of that a jacket. Get the CDs I’ve prepared for the night and some Cloudberry 7″s to sell.

It’s nippy outside while we wait for the bus. Happily it doesn’t take that long to come and Nana buys a group pass. We are in the indiepop bus! Turning right, turning left, a couple more blocks up, then turning here and there and we arrive close to the Hasenschaukel. We have to be there early for the sound check and well, to get familiar with the DJ decks. I ask Nana how many people she think will come. She says around 50. I’m getting a bit overexcited as we get near to the place. As soon as I get in I realize this place is enchanting! The dolls hanging over the tables, the dim lighting, the beautiful wallpapers, everything so carefully adorned. It’s like a little dollhouse with a fairy tale decoration. On the far back there’s a huge blackboard where it’s written: Cloudberry Records. My heart skips a beat. Immediately I turn my eyes right, where there are some booths and people having dinner. My heart stops for a bit. It’s my dear friend Jennifer! She is there talking with Ian and Christos while they enjoy their pasta. It’s brilliant to see her again! It’s been many, many months! And of course, we start talking, and gossiping about my trip to Sweden, and about Berlin, and about whatnot. Happiest moments.

Matthew is already getting his stuff together around the decks, getting prepared to dj. He has brought, all the way from UK, his vinyl records on steel carrying cases. Quite courageous! I’m so afraid of spinning vinyl when djing! Anything can happen to them! Then I meet the owner (or was it the manager?) of the Hasenschaukel, who happens to be very attentive and sweet. He offers me some tickets to get some free beer. Immediately, because these things can’t wait, I ask for a huge hefeweizen. I look over the decks and see Rémi and Delphine setting up their instruments. The stage is small but at the same time very cozy. It looks like they will play at a living room as there’s a chimney on the wall. Inside the chimney there’s a tv that shows nonstop a small fire. Maybe preparing us all for the warmest and heartful-est indiepop gig this year; the one that The Sunny Street will be playing in just a matter of minutes!

Soon the place is packed. The chit-chat of people is no longer a shy murmur but a loud bedlam. The cigarette smoke hovers everyone’s heads and the bar tenders keep pouring beer. Perfect timing for Jörg Winzer to show up. Great to see you again my friend!

to be continued


The Voltarenes – Altona City


“Why is it so few girls that play in bands and why is it so few girls that release their albums on their record labels? Wherever I turn in the music industry is it always a majority of men. The men is a strong majority in the record labels, the majority that book bands and are club owners are men, the dj:s at the clubs aremost often men and even when it comes to write a blog about music you rarely see nothing else than a competitive man.” – transcribed from the Don’t Tell Me That zine by Pierre Sparf

On December 19th there was a fantastic gig in Jönköping, Sweden. That day I was dwelling at home because I was so jealous of all the people who attended. From first-hand accounts, I know it was a great night. But you can already tell by the bands that played there, right? Bikeman, Leaving Mornington Crescent, Horowitz, G.O.O.F., Kronprinsen, Burning Hearts, Strawberry Fair, My Darling YOU! and The Margarets. What a lineup right?

All of this wouldn’t have been possible by the passionate Pierre Sparf who used to run the Don’t Tell Me That club. Yeah, I say used to run because this gig was the last of them all. Now the party has gone to a better life. This last show was called the Christmas Popfest and among the freebies you’d get when attending, was a compilation CD-R with the bands that played at the Don’t Tell Me That club during the 2 years it was championing indiepop. Also it was planned to give away a fanzine to all the attendees, but Pierre ran out of time and he couldn’t get them printed. BUT DON’T DESPAIR! Happily he has been very nice to share it with me, and letting me upload it for everyone to read it.

So here you are, enjoy:
View and Download at ISSUU.

As far as I know, the title for it was: “Don’t Tell Me That!: The End of a Love Story That Never Existed”, and there was a pink cover for it, which I guess was never finished. I know Pierre is a bit shy about his English, but I think his message gets across and that’s what matters; it’s a great read, mind you. He has put together a lovely and inspiring 28 page e-pamphlet that includes an interview to Horowitz and the decade’s best album choices from a couple of people. But the center pieces, the ones written by Pierre and Rebecka Ahlberg, are the ones that should not be skipped. Both of them are a call to arms, a fierce shout asking the female music geeks to stand out. They want to overthrow the “patriarchy” of the scene, reform it.

They raise some very valid points, and I’ll discuss them later on a future post, because both articles deserve to be commented and analyzed. Why? It’s not that often that indiepop people question and show their politics to the world. I wish it happened much more, but most people, not only in indiepop, just don’t care. These are topics that are “too much” to be thought and talked. “Why get into an agitated discussion if we can just talk nonsense about last night party?” That’s always the attitude, never confrontational. But I’m grateful that Pierre and Rebecka show their true colours. Grateful for their fight, for believing in our scene. Give it a read now, and think, wonder, enjoy, digest it, and make your own conclusions, or maybe hate it and disagree with it. But don’t feel cold about it, that would be unfair, I know you all are hopefuls and dreamers. And if you are up for it, comment it here. And all the best of lucks to Pierre on his future indiepop endeavors.


Feverfew – Politics Down the Esophagus