Thanks so much to Steve Fanning for getting in touch and for the interview! Great Scott has been a band I’ve been trying to track down for so long since I fell in love with “You’re Off Again” years ago thanks to a mix CD a friend sent me. Later I was able to find the Hoopla tape reissue on vinyl and wrote a bit about the band on the blog. Happily there are many more songs, some which I’ve heard already and they are truly fantastic! Hopefully there will be more news about an upcoming release soon!  For now, enjoy the interview!

++ Hi Steve! Thanks so much for being up to this interview! How are you doing?

I am doing very well thank you. Nice to hear from you once again.

++ The information about Great Scott on the web is almost nonexistent. So let’s start from the beginning, you were based in Brighton, right? was Great Scott your first band?

Great Scott was a band, formed and based in Brighton.

++ How did the band start? Who were the members? How did you all new each other?

It comprised of Howard Bathos, Claire Bower, Steve Fanning, Bill Cox of How Many Beans Make Five, the Popguns and The 14 Iced Bears fame on Drums and our Bass Player, Jake. A previous member, Neil Jones, was on Bass prior to me, Steve Fanning, on vocals and guitar, joining along with my Bass Player from another, Jake.

All of us, including How Many Beans Make Five and the Popguns lived in various shared houses together around this period, i.e. 1987-1992. We all knew each other from college or just the social scene in which we were involved.

++ Why the name Great Scott?

The name Great Scott I believe was penned by Howard Bathos, as a sort of very English exclamation.

++ Did you gig a lot? Do you remember any gigs in particular? Where was the furthest you played from Brighton?

Unfortunately, we did not that many Gigs, probably between five and six Gigs. Two of which were at the old Escape Club in Brighton, which was then known as the Apple Orchard’s, supporting the Chesterfields and the Brilliant Corners. We then did to Gigs supporting How Many Beans Make Five, one in Horsham, at a Club called Champagnes and another at Ilkley College in Yorkshire.

Claire and I also did a Charity Gig for Brighton Housing Trust as a two piece, backed up by two work colleagues/

++ The first song I ever heard from you was the trumpet-licious “You’re Off Again” on the Hoopla reissue on vinyl. How did all those trumpet lines came about? And if you don’t mind, care telling me the story behind the song?

The Trumpet’licious ‘You’re Off Again’ was put onto the Hoopla Tape, which was organised of Grant Lyons of La De Da Records.

Claire is responsible for the lovely Trumpet tones, just as she is on ‘The Very Best Part’.

++ The Hoopla tape was originally released by La Di Da, perhaps the most important Brighton label at the time. How do you remember the scene around it during those years? You know, How Many Beans Make Five, John Cunningham, Grant’s Kitchen?

The scene at that time, and in particular those bands on the Hoopla Tape, including John Cunningham, with whom I actually did a great deal of backing singing on his solo albums, during the 90’s, was typical of all the bands knowing each other and playing in the same venues, as well as drinking in the same haunts.

I did actually attend a coupled of Gigs in Grant’s Kitchen, most notably the How Many Beans Make Five, in or around 1986/1987. They were legendary.

++ The second song I heard from you was  “The Very Best Part”. How did that one ended on the Kite tape? Do you remember who made it? Are there any anecdotes behind this song?

‘The Very Best Part’ was a song that I wrote reflecting back on a relationship that had ended a year or so previously and I presented it to the band, which thankfully liked it too and agreed to record it to be on the Kite tape compilation. This was produced and engineered by Grant Lyons of La De Da Records, as of Hoopla Fame.

++ Lately I’ve heard four more songs of yours, how many songs did you recorded? Care listing them? And which one is your favourite?

Unfortunately, we did not do a great deal of recording, although there was a whole stack of songs waiting to be recorded, some of which I have recorded subsequently and some of which I did actually play in fledgling bands with John Cunningham, although we never unfortunately got much further out of the Studio.

I suppose by favourite is ‘The Very Best Part’ and ‘Another Part of Town’. ‘Another Part of Town’ was one of the very first songs I wrote, really inspired by a kind of Buddy Holly feel as you can probably hear.

Unfortunately, it didn’t offer anything back in the day as we really didn’t push ourselves. I suppose we were all pursuing other avenues and it is only when I look back that I wish we had concentrated more, and at least for prosperity, or our own satisfaction, recorded more than we did.

++ Why didn’t you get to release anything back in the day? Weren’t there any offers?

I don’t believe we received any offers, but then again, as I say, we did not really put ourselves about as we should have done.

++ So when and why did you split? You moved to the States after, right?

The split really just happened. I went to live in the States, when I actually returned a Year later, to a house that I was then sharing with the ‘Beans’, they all moved over to the States, but unfortunately I never reformed the band with Claire. By that time, the other band members had actually gone and of course we lost our drummer in Bill, when he went to the States with the rest of the ‘Beans’.

++ What was your favourite thing about San Francisco? Any favourite places there? Do you think live int he US is very different to the one in UK?

Living in San Francisco was absolutely brilliant. It is very similar to Brighton insofar as it is quite bohemian and multicultural place with a great laid-backed attitude and not dissimilar in its architecture and social scene.

++ What are you doing nowadays?

These days, I am a Solicitor in Brighton. I have a small practice together with another person who deals in Immigration Law, and I do mainly Family and general Litigation.

I spend most of the Summer doing as many of the Festivals as possible. I am very fortunate that a friend of mine, who runs a Marquee Company, very kindly ensures that I get to go along to as many as possible.

++ What would you say, looking back, was your highlight as Great Scott?

My highlight of Great Scott was probably the funny ol’trip we took up to Ilkley College. For some reason the promoter there, and his girlfriend, had booked How Many Beans and us as their support. When we arrived we discovered that it was Half-Term, that there was no one else on Campus apart from these two and the Janitor. We actually then did a Gig, which was mainly attended by lots of our friends who lived nearby, i.e. Manchester, and those who had come up for the road trip, only to then descend upon the promoters Halls of

Residence to spend the night.

They were quite naïve types and I am not quite sure that they knew what had hit them.

++ I may go to Brighton next month, I wouldn’t mind if you give me some tips on what to see, where to eat, in your town…

If you come to Brighton, which I very much invite you to do, then of course do look me up, then I would suggest picking up one of the Listings Magazines and you will find plenty to do Gig wise and any otherwise.

++ Thanks again a lot, anything else you’d like to add?

All I would like to add Roque is thank you very much for the kind words that you wrote about our Band and our songs. Keep enjoying your music.



Great Scott – The Very Best Part


Thanks so much for Phil Paterson for the interview! A month ago I wrote about the great Scottish band Future World Moves. Happily Phil got in touch with me and was up for answering some questions! It’s a great read, and yes, if you are in Scotland, you have to try haggis, neeps and tatties, I look forward to some of that next Monday in Glasgow! Enjoy!

++ Hi Phil! How are you? Any exciting plans for this summer?

I am planning a trip with my wife to the north of Scotland this august to Applecross for two weeks. Ahh peace and quiet!

++ So you’ve always been based in Livingston, right? Was there any music scene there at all? Any bands that you’d recommend from when you were around?

In the early 80’s and 90’s we were based in Livi. There was a music scene then but it was predominantly punk or heavy metal, of which we were neither. This was never a problem for us as we all drew our influences from both sources and drew an audience from both genres.

The bands that I could recommend would be punk bands like, the Skrotees, Bayoneting Babies or Goodbye Mr Mackenzie who were from just outside Livingston in a place called Bathgate. The later of which the backing singer/keyboard player went on to front Garbage.

++ I saw that Livingston is kind of in the middle of Glasgow and Edinburgh. What are the advantages of that? Music-wise and living there?

Being stuck in the middle between the two cities meant we did not really suffer from the long standing rivalry between the two. We could easily go to either city and be warmly welcomed. Livingston after all was a major overspill from Glasgow in the late 60’s to mid 70’s.

++ Let’s talk about the band. First and foremost, what came first the song Future World Moves or the name of the band? Where did you get that phrase from?

I believe the band name came first but don’t quote me on that after all it has been a few years down the line and my memory may not be quite as sharp as it once was, ok, so its isn’t as sharp as it once was. The first name I can remember us having for the band was Suspended Moves. But this may have came from the merger of FWM (Bren and Gerry) with (Bob and myself). In the very early stages of the band one of our first songs was named Future Moves, I can only take it that it came from the creative mind of Gerry or Bren.

++ So was this your first band? Who were the members and how did you knew each other?

This was our first attempt at a real band, previous to that Bob and I were learning how to play, whereas Gerry and Bren previously had a school band together. We were very fortunate that we all grew up together so we were friends long before we were band members. This stood us in good stead. It meant we had by passed the teething problems that most young bands go through after being together for a few years. I have known Bob since I was 7years old, Gerry since he was 3years old Bren since I was 19years old and Alex was a later addition for me but knew the rest of the guys from school.

++ Did you really were around 1981 to 1991?

Yeah i guess we were around for that length of time although it never felt long to us. I can only attribute that to us being friends first.

++ You were telling me you were more of a live band than a studio band. So what would you say were your three best gigs, and why?

We loved playing live. We had a powerful sound live of which we never really managed to capture in the studio environment. The studio did help to fine tune our playing and writing skills but you could not beat that live raw emotive sound that we produced.

++ I hear some Chameleons in your tracks, could it be? Who would you say influenced your sound?

Funnily enough I don’t believe any of us had ever listened to the Chameleons. It was one I had to check out when you made the comment. I could see where you were coming from. Our influences have been so varied. Reggie, Punk, Classical, Heavy Metal, you name it we would listen to it. I must admit though I was huge Clash fan and still am. Great music never really fades away.

++ So only one release, the 12″, right? There seems to be a bunch of unreleased tracks though. What happened? Why didn’t you get to release more records?

We were in the studio a few times before we decided to release the mini album in 1988. Anytime we could all club together to make a recording then we would do. But to create the album was another story. Firstly the cost was beyond us and secondly we had no management or record company that showed any interest at the time. So it was an exercise in business for us to release the album under our own label and do all the foot work ourselves. With the help of a local financial backer and distribution company we managed to record, print and distribute 1000 albums only as a limited edition. So trying to get one now is almost impossible. Saying that I found a record shop in Tokyo, Japan selling obscure vinyl records. Low and behold they had our album for sale. None of us have any idea how it managed to make its was to Tokyo 23 years later. Well, I guessed I could have walked quicker.

++ Let’s talk about the release. It is wonderful! I think my favourite song is “This Particular Day”. Would you care telling me the story behind this song?

This Particular Day is a song about waking up in the Scottish highlands listening to the crashing waves of the sea on the shore and being completely overawed by the splendour of the Scottish landscape. Leaving you with a feeling that anything in life is possible.

++ And what about your favourite song on it?

My personal favourite is ‘Its Time’. We were always very political in our content and this song just said it all for me. It was also the most unusual chord sequence that I had ever played thanks to Gerry (chord master) McCart. But my favourite songs never made it to the album, but that’s a story for another time.

++ And what about that photo on the cover? Where was it taken?

The photograph was take by myself, hence the reason for my absence. But I manage to get my face on the back cover. It was taken in the doorway of an old street in Edinburgh called Niddry Street just of the Royal Mile. These were underground living quarters over a hundred years ago possibly two, where people would literally live under the streets in the pitch blackness and dampness. It was used at the time of the photograph as practice rooms. It was so dangerous to practice there because of the dampness. For example, I can remember us all being in there in the dark and damp standing on wooden crates so as not to be electrocuted with the 6inches of water on the floor. Crazy times.

++ Looking back, how do you remember those late 80s? It feels it was the heyday of guitar pop, you agree? What were your highlights being on Future World Moves?

I loved the 80’s. The music was just on the turn again with the new wave and new romantics, none of which really moved us. Punk gave us the inspiration to play anything we wanted. We felt that we didn’t need to fit into a certain genre or pigeon hole. I would say there are to many highlights to name them all but first and foremost having the opportunity to grow with your mates and have a great time creating music did it for me.

++ Why did you split? Are you all still in touch? What do you do these days?

Its difficult to say exactly why we split. I’m sure there were many reasons. Personally, I had a young family to take care of and had to concentrate my efforts to make some cash. We have never stopped being in touch even though Bob(the bass) now lives in the land of Oz. The rest of us still play together in some form or other.

++ You are now in a cover band called “We’re Not Iguanas”, care to tell me a bit about that?

WNI was formed to have a bit of fun as a collective between quite a few musicians. We wanted to just gig but do it locally and consistently playing songs we loved from our past. So Were Not Iguanas was born.

++  And what about original music? Are you still making any? I’d love to hear!

We are still creating original music albeit a little slower than in the past. As you said in a comment on your blog, Life does get in the way.

Its not something I thing we could easily give up. Its in our blood.

++ As you are Scottish, I must ask, do you know how to make a good haggis, neeps and tatties? What would be your favourite Scottish food?

With due care and attention, and definitely not in the nude! My favourite Scottish food is Haggis Neeps and Tatties funny enough.

++ One last question, why does Scotland always produce great music?

What can I say? We are just very talented creative people. I guess if you suppress something (people) long enough eventually something has to pop. And so I guess we are lucky it comes out in a creative manner and not any other way.

++ Thanks again so much, anything else you’d like to add?

I would just like to say many thanks to yourself for this opportunity to chat about the album and band Future World Moves. Its been a while. Rock on Roque, keep up the great work.


Future World Moves – This Particular Day


Thanks so much to Chris Lewington for the interview! I had written about the amazing Bicycle Thieves on the blog some months ago and I was lucky that some days ago Chris got in touch and filled in the gaps! Ghostdance is one of the best songs I’ve discovered this year, and now after reading this interview, I like it much more. Enjoy!

++ So The Bicycle Thieves… was it your first band? How did the band start? How did the recruiting process work?

The band was my third proper band. There’s a sort of thin line of progression of band members through my other bands. I was first with The Silence a sort of new Psychedellic band around 1981/2. There was a bit of a scene in London then of bands doing late 60’s psychedellic influenced stuff and we drew quite a lot from American 60’s bands like Love and the Byrds. Theres a compilation album called Splash of Colour of bands of that time that The Silence have a track on. The Silence morphed into The Habit, a bit more Gothie type of thing and that in turn became the Bicycle Thieves around 1985 with myself, Steve Penfold the drummer from the Habit and Graham Robson bass and Alisdair Nelson guitar recruited from adverts in the music press.This was the line up that recorded Louise/Ghostdance. Later on Dave Goode replaced Graham and Mark Burdett replaced Alisdair when he went back to New Zealand. Plus a sax player Ian Derbyshire and this line up recorded Waterfront.

++ Where were you based? And why the name?

We were based around south east London Deptford area as that’s where most of us were living at the time and its always been one of those areas in London that has a vibrant music scene going. I’ve always been a bit of a film buff, in fact I came to London to college at film school at the LCP.So I fancied the name of the Italian film as quite a poetic name for a band. So have several other groups through the years it would seem.

++ Did you gig a lot? Are there any particular gigs you remember?

We gigged mostly around London. Later on we went further afield and did gigs up and down England. Only ever gigged once abroad at a festival in Po in France which was one of the more memorable gigs. Gigs at the Marquee in London were always special because of the places association with all the classic bands that have played there.

++ Were there any bands that you enjoyed the most to play with at gigs? And how close did you feel to the guitar pop scene, the so called c86, that had just exploded in the UK?

I can’t say I was particularly aware of any c86 scene at the time. I was mostly influenced by American west coast bands from the 60’s and more singer songwriter stuff and then when people like REM, Lloyd Cole, maybe the Postcard bands came along they had something in common. Alasdair the guitarist was a fan of early REM and added that essential jangly guitar sound. Later on Alisdair left and his replacement Mark Burdett was a fan of the Australian band The Church so later stuff like Waterfront has that sort of feel to it. We played with all sorts of other bands from Stiff Little Fingers to Captain Sensible.

++ Who were behind the Sun Zoom Spark label? Was there any major label interest?

Sun Zoom Spark and Clearspot were both our own labels. Both had a Cpt Beefheart link in the name. That came from Steve the drummer. Waterfront gained a lot of major label interest because we were getting it played on daytime BBC radio 1 and in those days there wasn’t the huge variety of radio stations that you have now. Apart from Capitol if you were listening to pop or rock radio it was going to be Radio 1. So for a brief point in time it created a stir because we were basically an indie band that had gatecrashed the majors party. We did a distribution deal and got a management company with the idea of keeping control over what we recorded and put out but now having the finance to do it on the back of this. But we were basically overtaken by events. It was 1989 and the Manchester Stone Roses/Happy Mondays thing started to happen. We kind of quickly became yesterdays news as everyone’s attention was focused on bands up north with more dance cross over rhythms.

++ Let’s talk about the releases! I’ve only got the Waterfront 12″ which is really nice. Care to tell me about the recording process for this one? And what about the photo on the cover? I find it very evoking!

Waterfront was recorded over a couple of days at Greyhound studios in Fulham. I’d written the song about all the redevelopment over in the docklands area of east London where I was living. The photo was one we found when we went to the docklands archive. As you say it was a very evocative photo. Don’t know who it is or who took it but it was taken in the past when the area was still dockyards and kind of evoked that sense of loss that the song was about.

++ I do have to say I enjoy the Ghostdance 7″ even though I still haven’t had the chance to find it. I find “Ghostdance” to be an underrated guitar pop classic! I was wondering if you could tell me the story behind the song? What’s the Ghostdance? 😉

Ghostdance started off with some guitar ideas that Alisdair had and we kind of worked on them and I came up with a top line melody and we fashioned it into the song. We didn’t write a lot of songs together and that was a shame because when we did get down to co writing we came up with some good stuff. I know on your blog you’ve mentioned about the Native Americans story of the Ghostdance and I was aware of that at the time but really I was using the phrase more in terms of memory. It was a song about evoking and reminiscing so its the sort of dance of the ghosts of your memories type of thing.

++ And what about “Louise”? Was it based on a real Louise?

Louise was kind of inspired by a couple of relationships neither called Louise though. I kind of think of it as Bruce Springsteen meets Wuthering Hights.

++ So that was your whole discography? 2 releases? or maybe there were compilation tracks? Are there unreleased songs maybe?

There were just the two single releases Ghostdance/Louise in 86 and Waterfront in 89. The large gap between the two due to the collapse of the original band and getting the right people on board again for Bicycle Thieves mark 2. Dave and Ian who joined the band in about 88 saw us play our last gig at Queen Marys with the old line up. Mark the next guitarist was again a music press advert. Yeah there’s lots of unreleased songs. We had more than an albums worth of demos from around Waterfront time most of which are probably better quality recordings. We also re recorded Louise with Tony Visconti producing around that time.

++ I read that both your records received a good amount of National Radio airplay. Maybe you got played even by John Peel? How hard was it back then to get your music heard? In pre-internet times?

Getting you music heard was hard back then because there were few radio stations and the only one that really counted was radio 1. We were very in house. I was ringing up the radio producers and doing all the plugging. Ghostdance got plays with Janice Long on evening radio 1 and Waterfont got much more extensive radio play on Capitol and daytime radio 1. Mike Read of all people really like it and picked up on it and Tommy Vance played it a lot. John Peel was not a fan unfortunately.

++ Looking back in time, what would you say was the biggest highlight of The Bicycle Thieves?

The biggest high ight for me was definitely hearing Waterfront played for the first time on afternoon radio 1. I’d managed to get through to the producer of the show who said they might play it and then hearing it was just a great release of years of pent up hopes and frustration trying to get your music heard. There it was and you knew that another 20 million odd people up and down the country were hearing it too.

++ So what happened, why did you split up?

We split up in 1990 for the simple reason that we couldn’t get a record deal. We’d done a lot off our own back but in the end you need the finance to keep making records and at that time you needed a major record label. There’s been times in pops history where I think you could do it truly independently like in 76/77 but 89/90 wasn’t one of them and any ” indie ” labels at that time were usually backed by major money.

++ Have you been involved with music since?

My next band after the Bicycle Thieves was a folk type set up “The Famous Blue Raincoats” but we never ended up putting any singles out. After that I just did songwriting. I currently play live with a covers band still with the old Bicycle Thieves drummer Steve. We’re called Kings of Oblivion – another name used by umpteen other different bands.

++ What did The Bicycle Thieves consider themselves? Indiepop? Pop? Punk? Rock?

I guess I’d call the Bicycle Thieves indie. Indie is kind of as much about how you do things and put your music out and for the most part we were truly indie in that sense. As a sound we might have strayed a bit to much into mainstream rock maybe. I don’t know. People like the NME and John Peel ignored us maybe because our sound wasn’t indie enough but you know you make the music that you make. Others tell you what niche you fit into or don’t fit into.

++ One last question, well, two, as Im always curious about this with British people. Do you like Marmite? And, do you prefer a lager or a British ale?

I do like marmite. Better than vegemite. I usually use it in cooking to enhance the flavour of spinach with pasta. I drink beer and no its not warm its just not served ice cold like American beer. Lager is what they drink in Europe. Nothing beats a nice cool pint of foaming Old weassels testicle


The Bicycle Thieves – Ghostdance


Thanks so much to Steve Hill for this interview! The Marmite Sisters were  a fantastic Leicester band in the late 80s and early 90s that released many tapes, 2 flexis and one 7″. Shambolic and fun, they are one of the era’s best kept secret. If you want to get a hold of both flexis you can do so by writing Steve to timebox11 [AT] btinternet.com. You can get both for £1.50 plus P+P depending on where you are in the world. Thanks again Steve, and enjoy the read.

++ Hi Steve! Thanks so much for being up for the interview. So I have to start with this question, is marmite your favourite spread?

Marmite’s OK but not my fave spread. It’s best on toast on a rainy winters day with a mug of tea.

++ You all were already in a band called Anonymouse before becoming The Marmite Sisters, what were the differences between these two bands? Did you get to release anything under Anonymouse?

The Anonymouse formed in 1984 when we were all 14.We did our first gig in Nov 85 and recorded some basic 4 track demos. We did a couple of Yeah Yeah Noh covers and were similar to their early releases. Name change came when the original drummer and bassist left.

++ So was Anonymouse your first band? Or had you been involved with music before? And how did you all knew each other?

Our first proper band. We were all at the same school.

++ And how did the name of the band come about?

The name came about after Graham had a dream about finding a dead mouse in a Marmite jar.

++ You were based in Glenfield, Leicestershire, right? I just read there are only 10,ooo inhabitants. What did you do there for fun?

Glenfield and fun are not words usually used together.

++ In the early days you released many tapes, how many of those songs appeared later on the flexis and the 7″? Do you happen to have the tracklist for the tapes “Kick Donkey”, “Songs of Love and Lawnmovers”, “Demos” and “Bowled A Googly”? Am I missing any other tape?

“Kick Donkey” (1988) was our debut release with the first “real” line up and the only one with Graham Barnfield on vocals. It was basically a practice tape recorded in Iain’s (bassist) bedroom but captured the band perfectly.8 songs in 20 minutes plus banter and mistakes.Shambolic but right. “Songs of love and Lawnmowers” (1989) had a more C86/jangly style and had two pop highlights in “I don’t wanna” and “Madman on the Bus”. After another line up change we released the “Tug” flexi (early 1991) and the “Bowled a Googly” tape. None of the tracks appeared on future releases.

++ And why release your stuff in tape? Was Tea Record & Tape Co. your own record label? If so, how did you like the business side of music?

Tapes were the cheapest and quickest way to release music. I ran Tea as a “hobby”. Flexis were preferable but money was short. We sold over 1200 flexis overall just from mail order and gigs which I felt was ok but hardly a viable business.

++ Did you play lots of gigs? What are the gigs you remember the most and why?

We gigged sporadically til 1991 and then heavily until late 94. Early highlights include supporting The Membranes, Poppyheads and Orchids. After that we had regular local gigs supporting bands like Stereolab, Moonshake, Huggy Bear, Eggs… Gigs with local bands such as Prolapse, Cornershop, Ammonites. Towards the end we did regular gigs with Gag and The Keatons mainly in London. We once let Huggy Bear use all our gear to do a impromtu set at a Piao gig. Was great to see them playing my guitar covered in trainspotting stickers.

++ How was the PIAO festival by the way? I would have loved to attend that!

We opened the Piao festival but i saw little of it. Remember the Beatnik Filmstars playing their guitars with beercans but little else.

++ Your sound is great, I love the fast guitars! Which other bands from that time did you empathize with?

I always felt we sounded like the Wedding Present crossed with the TV Personalities. I liked the shambling bands of the day but favoured bands like The Wolfhounds and McCarthy or the weirder Ron Johnson bands like Shrubs and A Witness. C86 was a great time as all these bands were so diverse.

++ Your first flexi was the Tug EP. It says there that the song “Trevor” was written by a band called Trevor. What is this all about?

Trevor was written by Neil whilst at Uni in Devon. The exact facts behind this are vague at best.

++ The second of your flexis was called Belper. What was your relationship with Belper, Derbyshire? Doesn’t look like much happens there?

Belper was chosen as a title only and not with any significance.Very little of what we did had any true depth.

++ Which of your songs is your favourite and why?

I like “I dont wanna” and “Madman on the bus” from the early line up. Its scratchy but tuneful and captures the early spirit.The flexis still sound good. I like “Nothing to get” of the Meller Welle single and “Semi Detached” + “Pre Nuptial” of the last recordings. I felt we actually sounded like a “real” band on these…..

++ When and why did you call it a day?

We called it a day in late 95. The main reason for me was seeing Guided By Voices in Nottingham that year. Simply the greatest gig i’ve ever seen and after that i couldn’t see the point in trying. I haven’t played guitar since (apart from drunken air guitar)

++ What is the connection between The Marmite Sisters and The Minogues and Cavalier Approach?

The Minougues was Neil and Daves band that ran at the same time as the Marmites. Great and daft pop songs. I really wanted to release a single by them called “Mr Duck” but somehow it never came about. One of only a few regrets. Cavalier Approach were Iain’s first band from 1983/4.We used to cover the song “Dont touch my fence” about neighbours boasting over the size of their greenhouses. Very English.

++ I’m always curious about this on bands that were around in the 80s, did you consider yourself indiepop or something else?

We were very indiepop.Too talentless to be anything else.

++ What are you all doing these days? Are you all still in touch?

We are in very very infrequent contact with each other. Only Paul is still in a band called Black Fingers (heavy ,stoner rock). My last musical outing was guesting on the debut Volcano The Bear release “Y’ak folks Y’are” where i can be heard mumbling and shaking stuff. A great record despite this.

++ Your last release happened when the band had already split up. It was the Gricers EP on the Meller Welle label from Germany. How did this one happen? Why was it released posthumously and how come in a German label?!

“Gricers” was recorded a year before it appeared.Jorg liked the tracks but was struggling to get it released. By the time it came out we had nearly split and so couldn’t promote it properly.

++ In 1995 you recorded 9 songs which later in 2002 you remixed then for an EP that never got released.  Will it ever be released? Are these songs similar to your earlier ones or much different?

Our last recordings were started in 1995 but we still needed to add extra guitar and mix it when we ran out of money. We spent 3 days in 2001 finishing it but its never been released. It’s a shame as it would have been a good full stop on the band. Has 3 of our best tunes but no ones ever heard them…..

++ You know I would love to see at some point a retrospective album of The Marmite Sisters, are there any plans for the future for the band? Maybe a reunion gig? 😀

The band will never reform. I still have plenty of flexis available should people need them.

++ Now, looking back, what was the biggest highlight for you as a Marmite Sister?

Biggest highlight for me was touring with Cornershop in 1993. Playing at being in a band for 3 days whilst living in a car. Kinda summed it all up.

++ One last question, Leicestershire’s biggest contributions to English cuisine are Pork Pie, Stilton Cheese and Red Leicester Cheese. I’ve never tried any, but if you were to choose one?

Stilton is England’s finest cheese but its a love or hate kinda food.Red Leicester often tastes like the plastic its wrapped in and is best eaten melted on toast.Pork pie is great but i ain’t ate meat for 26 years so maybe I’m not the best judge.


The Marmite Sisters – Semi Detached


This is the last post, even though there might be an interview or two published, before I leave to the UK on the 21st for a little vacation. I’ll be back on August 2nd. And hopefully that same day I’ll prepare a post about Indietracks or some adventure I had in the UK. So worry not of the lack of updates.

These coming days are dead busy at Cloudberry HQ. Today the new fanzine is out. And the Very Truly Yours records have just arrived home. I have to cut the 500 inserts during the weekend and hand-number them. I know the release date is July 31st, but the thing is that the records have to been in UK by next week, so my Chicago darlings can sell them in their gigs all around the UK, from London to Glasgow. Also have to send the records to mailorders before I leave to London. So I’m on a very tight deadline. On top of it all my Peru plays Colombia today at 3pm for Copa America quarterfinals and that will take half of my day probably.

At this point I’m not 100% sure that I will sell records at Indietracks. But leave me a note, or an email, and I could bring the records you’d like to the festival. I’m not sure what’s the deal this year for labels at the merch tent. But I don’t have much time to sit down and miss bands I’d love to see. I made some weeks ago a small schedule for what I’d like to see, it goes more or less like this:


14:00 Remi Parson
15:00 Graeme Elston
16:00 The Garlands
16:40 Wendy Darlings
17:00 Next Time Passions
17:40 Butcher Boy
18:40 Help Stamp Out Loneliness
20:30 Milky Wimpshake.

13:20 Proctors
16:00 Papa Topo
16:40 Sloppy Joe
17:40 Zipper
18:40 Very Truly Yours

Quite exciting!

So what did I listen this week on CD?
1. Chain Letter –  Théâtral Musical (Tulip House)
2. Various Artists – Good Thing Goin’ Pushbike Compilation Vol.4 (Pushbike)
3. BMX Bandits – Bee Stings (P-Vine)
4. Zoey Van Goey – Propeller vs. Wing (Chemikal Underground)

And now onto our obscure band of the week: Jane From Occupied Europe. I would have featured this band a long time ago. I was in touch with the bassist of the band, Dave Todd, some years ago and we agreed on an interview. Sadly I never heard back from him. Anyhow, let’s review this fantastic Salisbury band that had three releases, which I proudly only own 1 of them! I should start tracking the rest.

First stop, Wikipedia:

Jane from Occupied Europe were a band that originated from Salisbury, Wiltshire, England. Band members had appeared previously in other local bands, most notably Bubblegum Splash [Subway Records] and a popular Wiltshire band, Mrs Taylor’s Mad. They were part of what was an interesting scene of music that stemmed from the area around the mid to late 80’s, including bands like The Badgeman (Paperhouse Records), The Mayfields, and Mad Cow Disease. Whilst their sound has been bracketed under the ‘Shoegazing’ mantle, their sound was based around a broad number of styles and influences including psychadaelia, punk, and garage. The band toured around England, supporting bands like Carter USM, Catherine Wheel, Mock Turtles, and the Seeds amongst numerous others.

The band was formed by Jim Harrison, vocals & guitar, Colin O’Keefe, guitar, Dave Todd, bass, David Ware, guitar, keyboards & vocals, and Phil Eason, drums & percussion. On an interview I did with Bubblegum Splash’s Nikki and Marty she told me that it was Jim and Dave who were in Bubblegum Splash and  after some googling I found out that David Ware was in Mrs. Taylor’s Mad. Wonder if Jane From Occupied Europe was the first band Colin, Dave and Phil were on?

So one would assume that they took their name from the second album by Swell Maps and that’s true. They once told the NME: “Swell Maps thought up some really great titles and, er… we just ripped it off.” But then I get curious, and I wonder if that name has any significance. I can’t think of Europe being occupied, or any particular Jane. Maybe it comes from a sci-fi book or something? Anyhow, maybe you know better and can tell me where this enigmatic name comes from. But now onto more about this fantastic band.

I fell in love with them since I bought in 2006 their 7″ “Ocean Runs Dry”, a mix of shoegaze and guitar pop released in 1989 on  7 Per Cent Records (catalog JANE 001). I believe the band run this record label. This record is not very hard to find, and I recommend anyone reading this to get it. I’ve seen it on Discogs for less than 5 bucks. You’ll thank me! The track swaggers with a distorted guitar, another guitar doing arpeggios, and c86 class vocals! On the flip side you find two more great tracks “Annabel Lee” and “Kingdom By The Sea”. So Oceans and seas? I guess Salisbury is not that far from the Atlantic, did they go to the beach often? And what about Annabel Lee? “Annabel Lee” is the last complete poem composed by Edgar Allan Poe.

Onto catalog JANE 002. That was the Little Valley Town 12″ EP, released in 1990. That record included 4 songs: “Little Valley Town”, “Parade”, “Walking Around” and “Horizons in Blue”. This release and the previous one can be downloaded from this blogspot page the band set up. Sadly their last release, JANE 003, their 1991 album “Colorsound”. is not available anymore for free download. But let me promise you that if you get your hands on it you won’t be disappointed. The quality is still there, and only one song is repeated on the album from previous releases: “Parade”. If you happen to find extra copies for these two releases let me know, I’d be interested!

There were two compilation appearances as far as I know and actually one of them was already discussed on this blog on an interview with Krischan! from Frischluft Records. The song ” Just like Holden Caulfield” was included in the compilation “Mit Sonnenschirmen fingen wir den Blütenzauber”. Krischan! remembers: ‘We were writing to the address on the Bubblegum Splash-single trying to obtain a song by them just to learn they were no more. The Bubblegum’s flavour may have been gone, but they didn’t throw it away (as Mighty Mighty once claimed) but re-put it into shape that was Jane From Occupied Europe.”

The second compilation appearance was on the first Heol tape. This is a “legendary” tape that was released in Francein 1991 and was put together by Anne Moyon. I believe she is married these days with the great Philippe Katerine. But that’s a story for another day. The track that Jane From Occupied Europe included in this compilation was just named “Untitled”.

According to the blogspot, after the split of the band, one of the members moved to Bristol and recorded some songs under the name 7% Solution. You should be able to download those from the page as well. I wonder which member was it. It doesn’t specify. Check them out, it has some sort of Spacemen 3 feeling, a bit more poppy maybe.

There is some more info on the a page called Birdpoo. There you’ll be able to find a review of their first 7″, a review of a gig in the Powerhaus (seems every band I like have played here!), and an article that appeared on the NME in 1990. This page is really worth checking out as it also has lots of info in some other worthy bands of the period! Wish it was updated though!

Anyhow, that’s more or less all you need to know about this great but sadly underrated and forgotten band. If you want to add anything, share stories, or fill in some gaps, please get in touch! Now enjoy the super fantastic “Ocean Run Dry”.


Jane From Occupied Europe – Ocean Run Dry


Back from Chicago and then a short work week. Can’t complain. Yesterday Peru beat Mexico in Copa America and that made this week even better. Now I’ll rest and take care of the pile of stuff I have to finish before leaving to the UK on the 21st. Also been thinking of flying to Seattle for Labour Day weekend, not sure if I can afford it, but I feel I should try to get the best out of each long weekend now that I’m kind of young. You only live once they say. Anyhow, train tickets are booked for UK and I’ll be joining Very Truly Yours at their gigs in Glasgow on the 25th and Manchester on the 26th. There are also some great gigs to attend while in London like the free show at ROTA on the 23rd where I’ll finally see Amor de Días and then later that same day the return of The Jasmine Minks with their original lineup! Isn’t that fabulous? Next day, the 24th, it’s time to see Comet Gain!! It’s going to be a very busy week in UK, I can see it already!

On Cloudberry side of things, the artwork for Youngfuck is finished (you can preview it on our Facebook page) and we are just missing some guitar re-recordings for the “Black Tulips” track, then we are set and off to the pressing plant. After it, if everything goes right the Nixon 7″ will be out finally! And yeah, next Friday the new fanzine will be out! You can’t miss it! This weekend I’ve been cutting and pasting together the CD sleeves for the “There’s Peace on the Surging Prow” EP that comes with it. Also got the inserts for the Very Truly Yours single, this week I must finish cutting and hand-numbering them. So lots of work, not many news. But wait until next month, I’m sure August will bring lots!

So what did I listen this week on CD?
1. Nixon – Anorak Christmas (Anorak Records)
2. Various Artists – Spring 2011 Sampler (Pebble Records)
3. Sambassadeur – Final Say (Labrador)
4. The Wild Swans – The Coldest Winter for a Hundred Years (Occultation)
5. The Wild Swans – Tracks in Snow (Occultation)

Now onto our obscure band of the week. Let’s go all the way to the Sound of Young Scotland. Kidding. Let’s go to 1985 actually, but this band may as well have been part of that Glasgow scene of the early 80s. Maybe I’m trying to give the credit Edwyn Collins deserves in inspiring bands with a fresh sound during the 80s, I want to be excited of his gig at Indietracks. I’m not really looking forward to it though, not that I dislike him, I like Orange Juice a lot, but I’m a bit doubtful of what kind of show he can put at the main stage. Friends have told me he is excellent. I really hope so. I’m skeptical. Anyhow, let’s get back into track. 1985, and I guess Northampton. That’s when and where Rumpo Records released the one and only 12″ by Love Ambassadeux (catalog 12002).

A black and white sleeve that doesn’t say much but it’s very elegant welcomes us. The sleeve was designed by Simon Andrews. I have never seen it in real life mind you, it’s one of those records that are impossible to find. It seems it showed up once on eBay according to Popsike, and went for over 100 bucks. If anyone have an spare copy and wants to give it to me, I won’t say no. Of course not! Anyhow, how come this record is so rare? How many copies had been pressed? God knows. Rumpo Records released  a couple of records, at least two 12″ compilations and a 12″ by a band called This Parade. The three of them are quite expensive on Discogs. Are they all guitar pop? I wonder…

The Love Ambassadeux were Roger “Carlos” Nisbett on guitar, Steve Harshaw on bass, Steve Beswick on drums, Dave Howard on keyboards, Russ Cooper on percussion, and Bruce Marcus on vocals. Trisha Wiktorska did backing vocals and the engineer for this record was Alec Price. Among other details on the back cover of the sleeve we see that the front photograph was taken by Jon Barnes, and the producer was no other than The Jazz Butcher!! Isn’t that cool? Wonder if they were his protegés.

Some other details are found on the etchings. on the A side it says “YOU HAVE AN ALMIGHTY HAND – USE IT” and on the B side “I LOVE THE SMELL OF NAPALM IN THE MORNING”.

The first time I heard about them was through my friend Jessels great mixes that he used to post on Myspace. I remember he wrote that the drummer Steve Beswick was playing for The Wild Swans. Checking on my new Wild Swans album, for which I paid 30 dollars including postage (ouch!), I can confirm this is true! Wonder if The Love Ambassadeux opened for the Wild Swans at some gig during the 80s…

The 12″ included 3 songs: “Black Mischief”, “Driftwood” and “Oyster Syndrome”. “Black Mischief” on the sleeve is dedicated to the band’s mothers. Not sure why. I do find that “Black Mischief” was Evelyn Waugh’s third novel, published in 1932. The novel chronicles the efforts of the English-educated Emperor Seth, assisted by a fellow Oxford graduate, Basil Seal, to modernize his Empire, the fictional African island of Azania, located in the Indian Ocean off of the eastern coast of Africa. This has been understood as a reference to Abyssinia and Haile Selassie, though the author himself denied the connection. Do you see any mother connection there?

I find curious the name of the B side song “Oyster Syndrome”. From what I gather:

Writers of all descriptions and levels of experience, sooner or later, develop what can be called “The Oyster Syndrome.” Writers, bloggers included, are always trying to improve their work. Constantly honing their craft, expert and novice alike, tolerate in themselves a measure of “artistic dissatisfaction” that drives them to modify, edit and endlessly revise whatever they are working on. This is “The Oyster Syndrome”: A creative compulsion leading to the relentless pursuit of perfection, which, like the oyster’s reaction to an irritating, sharp grain of sand, produces—a pearl; in the writer’s case (hopefully) a polished “pearl” of prose good enough to enlighten the curious, inspire the discouraged, entertain the bored, and amuse the life-hardened cynic.

Searching around I found also a very interesting article that appeared on The Northampton Chronicle on Monday 20 September 2004. I’ll copy/paste the most interesting parts here:

A RECORD made by a Northampton rock band nearly 20 years ago has cropped up on the most-wanted list of a music website…in Croatia Love Ambassadeux, who were a regular fixture on the Northamptonshire live music scene in the early 1980s, are listed for their 12-inch vinyl EP Black Mischief.

The five-piece were made up of music fans in the Northampton area but according to guitarist Roger Nisbett, from Kingsthorpe, there is little chance of a reunion despite the renewed interest in their music. He said: “I couldn’t believe it when I stumbled across this website and saw us listed on there. “It is amazing to think that someone in Croatia knows about us, 20 years after we called it a day, and is trying to get their hands on Black Mischief. “I know a couple of the lads still live in the town and one has moved down to London but I don’t think we will be getting back together.”

The band was assisted by the Northampton Music Collective, which helped to promote local bands and release records. Roger, 43, who works as a computer systems analyst in Milton Keynes, added that he wasn’t tempted to send one of his copies off to Zagreb. “The memories are much more important than the cash so I’ll be keeping the box of records where they are,” he said. “We had a good few years in the band playing at pubs and places like The Roadmender but unfortunately it was not to be.” The group split up in 1985 shortly after Black Mischief was released.

And that’s about all the information there is about this fantastic and sadly forgotten band. If anyone out there knows anything else about them, if they recorded more songs (they must have!), if they are still music, or just if you have any memories of a gig you attended, please share. I’d love to learn more about this band and their one fantastic record.


Love Ambassadeux – Black Mischief


Thanks so much to Michael Wille for the interview! He was the man behind the great German label Blue Records that released the “legendary” 7″ by The Sheets among other gems by the likes of Suffering From a Hangover or even the Wedding Present related The Ukrainians! A bit obscure yes, but very much worth checking out all of their releases. Enjoy!

++ You are not in Germany anymore, you live in Taiwan! How come?

Yes, I currently live in Taiwan. My job brought me here. I am working for a german company here in Taiwan and I am the only German with 200 Chinese colleagues.

++ You founded Blue Records. When was that? And why did you decide to start a label?

Blue Records was a labour of love. A love for Edwyn Collins actually. It must have been 1989 or 1990 when Edwyn Collins was touring on the back of the “Hope and Dispair” LP. I was totally in love with the song “50 Shades of Blue” from that LP at that time. And after that excellent Edwyn concert I just knew what to do: I was to form a record label of the name BLUE RECORDS and each release shall bear the prefix SHADE. And BLUE RECORDS SHADE 50 was to be a record by Edwyn (a version of “50 Shades of Blue” of course). So that was the big plan which somehow never materialized. I made it up to SHADE 007.
But I am still hopefull to complete it some day…
The name Blue Records to many people sounded very uninspired and boring, having more interesting and hip named labels around like Blam-A-Bit, Roman Cabbage or Frischluft. Well, but at least it made sense to me.

++ Where were you based? Was there a scene and good bands around your town?

My home was in Kleinostheim which is a very small place quite close to Frankfurt. Back in the early 90s, Frankfurt was a really great place to see live bands.
We had the Batschkapp, Negativ, Cooky’s, 3Königskeller, Volksbildungsheim, the KuBa in Hanau (not too far a way). So many bands were playing, I remember 1 week where we attended 8 concerts in 7 days.
One concert every evening either in Batschkapp, Negativ or KuBa and then on monday late night (after a attending a concert in Batschkapp) one of the infamous Cooky’s midnight concerts. I saw Talulah Gosh, Galaxie 500 and other great bands playing monday night at 2 AM to a 50-100 or so people. So it was actually a very good time for seeing bands playing live and discovering all kinds of new music.

++ How close was that German indiepop community of the early nineties?

There were many excellent labels around at the time! Frischluft of course, Blam-A-Bit, Steinpilz, Mermaid, Viel-Leicht, Eiswürfel, Roman Cabbage, die schwarze 7, Marsh Marigold – you name them (you seem to be an expert of the German indie scene of ha time!).
I did not have too much contact with them at the time but I sure bought their stuff which was released then.

++ Your most known record was the first one, The Sheets 7″. You were telling me they were supposed to be big. What happened, why didn’t they? How did you get to sign them? Maybe they sent you a demo with lots of fabulous songs? What happened to them after the 7″?

Well, I guess you should have an interview with Joern-Elling Wuttke to find out about that (he was singer, guitar player and mastermind behind the band). All I know is that I saw the band live and I fell in love with them right away.
Right after the gig I asked them if they wanted to do a record with that Label that only existed in my head (I came fresh from the Edwyn Collins gig) and Joern-Elling agreed.
The band had a full album worth of songs recorded by then (of which I have a tape copy and I can confirm its all excellent stuff – a lost classic!) and they were about to sign to a major label. But then again, things dont always go the way they should.
The Major Label deal never materialized, the band fell apart, Joern-Elling developed a love for more electronic music and got famous with his other Alter-Egos like ‘Alter Ego’, ‘Acid Jesus’, ‘Sensorama’ or ‘Warp 69’ to name but a few.

++ Another one of your releases as a 7″ by Klaus Cornfield, the leader from Throw that Beat in a Garbagecan. My German friends don’t think it’s right that I like Throw That Beat a lot! I think because they were big! How did you know Klaus, and what do you think about Throw That Beat? Do you have any favourite release or song?

Yeah, sometimes people seem to dislike bands once they get “big” or “famous”. But never mind, Throw That Beat were really good and a bunch of sweet people.
I still love “A Kiss from you each day (keeps the doctor away)”. After I saw Throw That Beat at a open air, I just bumped into the band somewhere out in the crowd. They were just chatting and drinking a beer. So I said Hello and started talking to them a bit.
After some beers the idea of making this 7″ of Klaus with Buddy Love was born (and later repeated on another 7″ for Teenage Kicks Records from Augsburg).
Klaus is actually a very nice fellow and he now enjoys sort of success as a comic writer and musician in his band Katze.

++ The other record that surprised me very much was the Suffering from a Hangover 7″ “Note: It’s Open, Push and Go EP”. It’s great, pure indiedpop! I’ve never heard anything about them before. Care to tell me a bit about the background of this band?

Actually I knew the band for some time and they passed around demo tapes. After agreeing to release the Forsakes 7″ (the singer of which is brother to the guitar player of Suffering..) we also talked about doing a 7″ with them. I didnt like the early tapes too much but the band improved a lot and they grew on me, so we ended up doing the single. They later got a support slot for a Throw That Beat tour. There are still tons of tapes and unreleased songs, some ended up on a Fan Club only 7″ in a tiny edition of 50. Some members of the band I still see from time, I am thinking of doing a 3-CD retrospective with them hahaha…

++ The last record I listened from your label, the Forsakes 7″, was a bit different, much more rock than indiepop. Was there a particular reason to broaden the sound of the label?

I first heard the singer of the band singing just with accoustic guitar and loved it. I wanted to do a record just with him but later I heard him with his band I was really into that too. They sounded like Buffalo Tom, Lemonheads and Moving Targets, well, sort of. That was how it worked, I heard some music and if I liked I asked if they wanted to a 7″. No contracts or big money, loads of DIY and enthusiasm. Spending nights at a friend over designing he cover and he labels on he computer, cutting inserts for the single – you know that too I guess.

++ Then there are more releases on your label. Care to complete the discography for me as there is nothing online about it? 🙂

SHADE 001 The Sheets: Candyman 7″ 1991
SHADE 002 Forsakes: Jellycow 7″ 1992
SHADE 003 Suffering From A Hangover: note its open, push and go 7″ 1992
SHADE 004 Klaus Cornfield visits Buddy Love 7″ 1992
SHADE 005 Band of Susans: Now 10″ 1992
SHADE 006 The Ukrainians: Live 10″ 1993
SHADE 007 Suffering From A Hangover: Fan Club 7″ 1993
SHADE 008 (just released a record with a German punk band here in Taiwan under a new label name) 2010

++ Was there any plans for other releases then?

As I wrote before, my great dream of heaven was to release a record by Edwyn Collins for SHADE 050. Well, just 42 releases to go ;o)

++ Is it true that maybe you will bring back the label?

Actually after almost 20 years of sleep I just did another 7″ with a German band. I agreed with the band to not reveal any details though…. And SHADE 009 is in the pipeline and should see light of the day very soon. I will send you a copy of that – its a big name and big suprise….

++ You were also telling me that you’d love to do something like a Deutschland 86 compilation. That will be one of the best things ever! I’d love to do something like that, I’d love to see something like that. Which bands from that period, with that sound, were your favourites?

I thought of a D86 compilation (the Deutschland version of C86) since there are so many lost gems around by German bands (many ow which you seem to unearth on your blog!).
But I guess I will leave that to Firestation Records, a Leamington Spa german band edition – I think that would be excellent.
These guys have a really great taste and talent in finding hidden gems and have done a fantastic job with the previous Lemington Spa records.
My take would be The Sheets (of course), 5 Freunde, Honigritter, Die Moosblüten, Die Merricks and Most Wanted Men (though I think their entire recordings have been released by Marsh marigold) to name the obvious choices.

++ As a person who has had a label, how do you see labels nowadays? Do you think there is still space for them? Many people say that with the mp3 revolution there’s no need for labels, you know?

I hardly ever download anything. Buying a CD or vinyl, unpacking it at home and reading through liner notes and booklets is just as much part of the fun as listening to the music itself. I love your work with lovely designed inserts, hand-numbered and loads of info and your thoughts. I read all the inserts….
Labels sort of put a label on the music (as the name suggests) and I know if I buy a record on Cloudberry, Matinee or Fortuna Pop I cant go wrong. So definitely yes, Labels are still important to me.

++ What was the highlight of yours running Blue Records?

I hope the highlight is still to come with the release of SHADE 50. Other than that it was meeting all the bands (The Ukrainians, Band of Susans, Klaus Cornfield and all th eothers) and hanging out with them.

++ Oh! how can I forget to ask this, how did you get into indiepop in  the first place?

Oh I dont remember clearly but I do remember listening to Klaus Walters “Der Ball ist rund” on the radio, Monday evenings. He first played The Chills to me and I loved that band ever since that day. Klaus Walter had a very diverse but always excellent taste in music. He was sort of the German John Peel (minus the bands playing live in his show).
And then there was this classmate of mine Felix, he ran a Fanzine called NOW! and we went to a lot of live gigs at that time together. Running the fanzine and writing about the gigs got us guest lists places in all major concert places. Thats how we could afford seeing so many concert while being a student. And every week I would go to Frankfurt main station, one of the rare places where you could get hold of a copy on NME or Melody Maker, the British music weeklys. I found out about new and exciting bands first in those mags.

++ Okay, let’s start wrapping the interview. But first, I need to ask  you something that matters to me a lot. I’m very curious about this. Is Taiwanese food much different from Chinese food? Is there anything in particular there that is superbly good?

Taiwanese food is not as ‘mean’ as mainland Chinese offerings can be. People here don’t eat dog, scorpion or cockroaches (all of which I have been offered in China, and scorpion is pretty good actually). It seems traditional Taiwanese food uses very little salt but rather focuses on the original flavors of the dishes. I love the local Beef Noodle Soup, 3-cup-chicken and the excellent Taiwan Gold Medal Beer.

++ And is there any good Taiwanese indiepop?

Surprisingly there are some very good Taiwanese indie bands which I regularly see live here like WonFu. (I also sent you a CD of one of the local bands, hope you liked it.)

++ One last question, how many records are in your collection?

Sometimes I feel tempted to count them but its too big a collection, maybe a a couple of thousands records, flexis, CDS and tapes (I treasure my big box of C86 tape samplers from the early 90s…)

++ Anything else you’d like to add?

Hope I make it to one of the future PopFests and we can have a beer together… (ed. I hope so too!)


The Sheets – Crashing


I’m writing this post some time ahead. When this gets published I should have already arrived to O’Hare airport in Chicago. Just read that it was named after Edward O’Hare, the U.S. Navy’s first flying ace and Medal of Honor recipient in World War II. Interesting. Sadly it seems I will be missing the first game of Peru in the Copa America, against Uruguay, on the 4th. That troubles me a bit. I’m not used to miss football games I want to watch, especially the ones of my national team. I hope they get a good result, but seems hard as our top stars are all injured and will miss the tournament. But you never know, football is a game of surprises, that’s the beauty of it. I’m crossing my fingers.

I’d like to add a new sort of section to the weekly obscure band post. I’d like to recommend and share the albums I’ve been listening during the week. This week what’s been on ration at Cloudberry hq has been:
1 The Darling Buds – Crawdaddy
2. Various Artists – Unnecessary Niceness
3. The Gymslips – Rockin’ with the Renees
4. Acid House Kings – Music Sounds Better With You
5. Aquadays – Electric Songs

So now onto our obscure band. Let’s go back to the UK after trips to Scotland and Japan. Let’s move to Slough, West London. The first thing that comes to my mind is the Nine Steps to Ugly’s song “Eddie Lopez lives in Slough”. I do know there are very negative connotations with this town. Reading a bit I learn that this borough I learn that Slough has a relatively high crime rate, with figures for all crime statistic categories above the English average and figures for several categories more than double the English average. According to British Crime Survey statistics, Slough has the worst rate of crime amongst the 15 most comparable other areas, and Slough is the least safe Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership area in the whole of the Thames Valley and South East England. Slough has the highest level of reported anti-social behaviour in the Thames Valley Police area. Slough the rough, huh?

It was in Slough that Ala Pana Fuzo was formed in 1985. The original band members and song writers, Ian Miller (guitar/vocals) and Graham Pedder (guitar/vocals) had played together with various line-ups and under the name “Spish” before forming Ala Pana Fuzo. I wonder if there were any recordings of Spish. I had many questions about this band, like what does their strange name mean, and was in touch with Ian Miller actually back in 2009. He was so kind to send me a copy of the 7″. We agreed on doing an interview for the blog. Sadly I never heard back from him after sending the questions. Guess life got in the way.

There’s an interesting bio on last.fm written by Ian Miller himself. Among the many interesting facts written, he mentions that they often played on the same bill with Peter Brickley, from the Telephone Boxes and the more known Wallflowers as he was also from Slough. They were also very close to signing to a major label but it didn’t happen.

The band members of Ala Pana Fuzo were Ian Miller (guitar, vocals), Graham Pedder (guitar, vocals), Steve Sculpher (bass), Ricci Hodgson (keyboards), Terry Bailey (trumpet) and Brian Green (drums). Terry Bailey would later record with Sade and Culture Club and can be heard on the albums Diamond Life and Promise by Sade and Kissing to be Clever and Colour by Numbers by Culture Club.

There was only one release and it was a 7″ in 1986. It included on the A side the great “Friend” and on the B side the slower “Remember Me Now”. The song “Friend” will appear in The Sound of Leamington Spa Vol. 7. Hopefully that will be out soon! I can’t wait any longer. The 7″ was released on their own Dear Old Blighty Records.

In 1986 they released the 7” single “Friend”. The B side was entitled “Remember Me Now”. The record was released on the independent label Dear Old Blighty Records. For the curious, during World War I, “Dear Old Blighty” was a common sentimental reference, suggesting a longing for home by soldiers in the trenches. The term was particularly used by World War I poets such as Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. During that war, a Blighty wound — a wound serious enough to require recuperation away from the trenches but not serious enough to kill or maim the victim—was hoped for by many, and sometimes self-inflicted. Wonder if that was the reason to name the band?

I know that Ian Miller was later in a band Wildcard, but never had the chance to hear it. Wonder if it sounded anything like Ala Pana Fuzo. But more importantly, I wonder if Ala Pana Fuzo recorded any more songs. Would be great to learn more. So as always if anyone has more information, please share!


Ala Pana Fuzo – Friend