Back from vacations. A bit of a shame they last so little, but I had such a good time in Italy that I can just wait another month until I get my last vacation week this year. In the meantime it’s time to work, to get things done and keep discovering new music.

This week I received the final master for the Suncharms release. I’ll get the details on the website pretty soon and will send the CD compilation to press too. Together with Don’t Cry Shopgirl, these will be our last offerings this year. The Pale Spectres 7″ should come out shortly though, most possibly around January.

On my vacations I was totally out of the loop and didn’t listen to any indiepop songs and I didn’t even check if there was any indiepop news. So this post is a bit short because of that. I need to recoup and check what’s been cooking the past few weeks. I know there are some interesting releases that I need to get a hold and I will definitely recommend them to you the next week. I just need to organize a list of which are the ones worth checking out.

The only interesting bit of contact with indiepop was a tweet I received while I was away. Brucey from the 1,2,3 Alright blog was asking if anyone could help him find any information about the band Daisycutters that appears on the Hoopla compilation. I remembered that long time ago I wanted to write about them on my blog (and I don’t know really why I forgot to do that). So I said, I’ll take on the investigation.

Today while looking for clues about this band I felt so empty-handed that it’s a bit of a shame to write this post. I wanted to help find something but I really found nothing! The only information really that exists about them is that they appeared on the Hoopla tape released in 1988 by La Di Da, that amazing label that I’ve mention a ton of times here in the blog, and also on the LP version of this compilation released by Accident Records in 2000.

On the tape compilation they only contributed one song, “Friends”. On the LP reissue, because of the unavailability of the original masters of some of the songs, they included one more song “The Sea”. So that’s more or less what I know about them. That they at least recorded 2 songs.

Another safe bet is to assume they were from Brighton. Most bands on the La Di Da compilations and releases were based there, and they even recorded in the famed Grant’s Kitchen. That’s Grant Lyons, La Di Da’s brain, place. The credits though just say that the songs were recorded by Daisycutters. No other names. That makes it even more difficult to track them.

I googled and looked under every rock. There were other Daisycutters bands. They were not very good. I learned that a daisycutter is a actually a bomb, an immensely powerful aerial bomb that derives its destructive power from the mixture of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder with air.

But that’s really all I could find. The thing is, I’m pretty sure some of you might be able to help me. If Accident Records, in 2000 was able to find them and get in touch, when there was no social media, and get another song from them to be included in their reissue of sorts of the Hoopla tape (just making sure you know that the tape and the LP are not the same, they have a different tracklist!), well, I think we might be able to get in touch and learn more about them.

Why do we want to get in touch? Well, their two songs are just pure indiepop bliss. They have the girl vocas, the chiming guitars, and the catchy melodies, all of that that remind me of Nine Steps to Ugly or The Fat Tulips. The kind of indiepop I love.

So if you can help Bruce, me, and the whole indiepop community to find out more about this band that be great. Anything you remember is good, gigs they played, demo tapes they released, any other song name you remember, their band members, where they were based exactly, what year did they split, if they were involved with other bands, anything will do!

Edit: Uwe from Firestation sent me a message saying: I think Daisycutters were pre Fabulous Friends. If I remember right, they changed their name after the Hoopla-tape was released and then released that split flexi with Jason Smart soon after.

Edit #2: Ben from Did Not Chart blog shared a scan from the Hoopla fanzine. With it we confirm they were based in Brighton and we get to know the first names of the band members and what they played (Jill sang and played tambourine, Tom played guitar and 12 string, Grant played the bass, Jason played his guitar and Billy played the drums).


Daisycutters – Friends


Thanks so much to Martin and Keith for the interview! I wrote years ago about the Sugar Glyders on the blog and was lucky to get in touch with them lately. They released only one single, and they seemed a bit obscure online, so it was such a great chance and opportunity to learn more about from this great band from Hemel Hampstead from the mid 80s!

++ Hi! Thanks much for being up for this interview. It’s great to know more about your band, there’s so little about it online. So why don’t we start from the beginning. What are your first music memories as a kid? And how did you end up playing your instruments?

Martin: The Beatles on Royal Variety Show tv show. Prior to that, Adam Faith’s  ‘What do you want’ is a strong memory, as it happened to be playing one Xmas morning when I was very little, as I opened the case of my first guitar! My Mum and Dad were both musicians (Dad was lead trumpet with the Ted Heath Orchestra and Mum sang with the Squadronnaires). Music was a passion in our house.

Keith: Grew up in a household with very little music in it, remember being intrigued by the mention of someone releasing  ‘an album’ in a radio interview. The smell and sounds of records shops in general did a lot for me. Got the chance to play a drum kit, which I took to straight away, albeit in the simplest way possible. Some things never change.

++ Were you all involved in any other bands before being in the Sugar Glyders? I read some of you were in Spoils? How did they sound? Any releases?

Martin: yes, ‘Born Free’ a cabaret style covers band (functions, weddings, parties etc.)-70s rubbish, before that ‘The Stroll Band’, which toured Holland and Germany, also covers stuff. Later with Brian (keyboards) and Chris (bass) (both surnames long forgotten) in ‘Character’.

Keith: yes, lots of rubbish/ learning type bands that never managed a gig, later Pigs Might Fly which did manage some gigs, but fell apart as too many distractions came along (marriage, work, apathy etc.). Martin Benson was in that band, later to become a Spoils person. Later in a band Hotel, which led to me meeting Martin. Spoils in a bit more detail further on.

++ And then how did the band start? How did you all get to know each other?

Martin, Keith: Hotel and Character were playing the same venue The Arts Centre, Hemel Hempstead, now demolished, not by us. Hotel’s bass player Gary, was a friend of Martin’s. So we met through Gary and music really.

Keith: I seem to recall Martin asking me to sit in with Character as they had no drummer, I declined as the bar was downstairs and I had no idea of any of the songs. I did listen to some of the set though. I liked Martin’s playing, I remember some song about a ‘Silver Highway’ and thought he was a great player.

Martin: I was really impressed with Keith’s playing, hence my asking him to sit in with my band. Plus he was hilarious in person and we hit it off instantly as people.

Martin, Keith: ‘Spoils’ was eventually put together around 1977 from parts of Hotel and Character, Keith knew Martin Benson, who was simply a great chords man, and a great bloke, too. He was earlier in Pigs and not doing much when we grabbed him.

Spoils finally was Martin guitar, Keith drums, Martin Benson (Benny) guitar, Gary Williams, bass. Gary and Benny later both succumbed to marriage, not to each other of course, but that left M & K to return to demo recording to knock up some kind of set, if we ever found another bass player that is. Circa 1981, enter the Portastudio, the famous cassette based recording machine that kept things ticking over, and the ideas flowing.Bass – wise, after several attempts, we found Paul Thomson, (Tommo) who was a bit younger, with different influences, but wanted to play and picked things up quickly.By the time we started to gig again, there was a huge choice of songs to pick from, and all were blueprinted, if you will.

++ Tell me a bit about Hemel Hampstead. That’s where you were based right? Were there any good places to play gigs? Were there any other like minded bands in town?

Martin, Keith: Hemel Hempstead is a New Town (British post war developments to handle the demand for bombed – out Londoners to live in new, green spaces). Usually concrete sprawls, where the kids’ had nothing to do. Other nearby towns had better venues, such as St. Albans, Watford & Hertford, but it was still difficult to get anywhere to see bands or socialise.

Martin, Keith: Like minded bands? No, like minded players? Yes.

++ It was 1984 when you released your single. What were you listening to at that time? What were your favourite bands?

Martin, Keith: mostly 70s era, in no order of preference, Dan, Zappa, Blockheads, Pirates, Who, Beatles, Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Boz Scaggs, Joni Mitchell80s stuff was broadly already heavily electronic, so not much of that.

++ This single you released included two songs, “Revenge” and “Free Your Heart”. Care telling me the story behind these two songs?

Martin: Revenge was a vitriolic breakup song. Heart was more of a group effort at an accessible song’

++ And what do you remember from the recording sessions for this record? Any anecdotes to share?

Martin, Keith: Revenge and Heart were from two different sessions at Vroom Studio, Watford, with Bob Morledge (his high vocals are in backing vox on Heart)K: We had to finance sessions ourselves, so we were always pushed for time, 8 hours, that was your lot.

++ Tell me about the art for the single sleeve. It looks like a detective to me. What is it about?

Martin, Keith: The subject matter of ‘Revenge’ was a bit dark and the idea I had was to have a sort of film noir style detective, settling a score with gun in hand. Sketched by Martin then finished off by Keith, in a drawing office, while still pretending to do proper work.

++ This record was released on Lost Moment Records. Who were they and how did you end up releasing your record with this label?

Martin: Steve Carter launched Lost Moment records based in Hemel and I heard about label via Nick from The Rattlers, another local band, while I working in a music shop. Nick suggested we submit a demo. Steve liked it and we released the single, 1984.

++ You also appeared on the compilation “Colours of the Bastard Art!” with the song “Jericho”. How did that happen? Did you have any other compilation appearances?

Martin, Keith: Jericho was actually recorded by Spoils! Probably late 1979. We had nothing else suitable to give Steve, he jumped at this and named it SGs. Jericho was recorded at Quest Studio in Luton, engineered by Dave Cook and paid for as ever, by the band.

Keith: I would think that the band name chosen on Colours, ie not Spoils, was not our choice, I doubt we would have done that through choice.

++ Did you record any other songs? Were there any demo tapes perhaps?

Martin, Keith: there’s some stuff on reels somewhere. Masters, such as they were, did not age well, some disintegrated. Original 2 inch reels were re-used in studios as a matter of routine sadly, so what we left with after 8 hours was it.7.5ips copies of these may be about.

++ How come you didn’t get to release any other records?

Martin: Label folded, found deserted premises with empty LP sleeve on the floor. Had to work hard to get our tapes back, which we did eventually do.

++ Was there any interest from the big labels?

Martin, Keith: No

++ What about gigs? Did you play many? Which was the best and the worst and why?

Martin, Keith: played quite a few gigs, but not enough. One or two great ones at small local venues. Bad ones could occupy a whole page and are best forgotten!

++ How was the music press with the Sugar Glyders? Helpful?

Martin: won ‘Demo of the Week’ in Musicians Only magazine. Still have a photocopy of that. Band was chuffed with that. The band was Spoils though.

Keith: Otherwise the doors remained firmly closed.

++ Oh! And where does the name of the band come from?

Martin, Keith: heard the name on a cheap charity record.

++ When and why did you split? Were you involved with music after?

Martin, Keith: never officially split -BOOK US NOW! But seriously folks, we are all still in touch with each other, so that’s nice.

++ What are you up to these days? Any other hobbies aside from music that you enjoy doing?

Martin, Keith: All 3 of us are active in some way, as time and life pressures allow. We’ll all probably play till we drop. I think all three are still music crazed individuals . . . .

++ Looking back, what would you say was the highlight of the Sugar Glyders?

Martin, Keith: Almost certainly having a single in our hands, despite the final lack of response to it, what a moment.

++ So let’s wrap it here, just out of curiosity, if one was to visit your town, your area, what would you suggest checking out, eat or drink?

Martin, Keith: stay away, go somewhere pleasant and green.

++ Anything else you’d like to add?

Martin, Keith: thanks to all for their interest, trying to recall events has raised quite a few memories all round.


Sugar Glyders – Free Your Heart


Hello there, heads up that next week there won’t be any posts and I’ll return on the week after. I’m off on vacations and so all orders placed starting Wednesday will be posted upon my return. I really need some time off.

I noticed last week, just after I finished writing the post, that the blog had reached it’s seventh anniversary. I remember when I started the blog one afternoon, unwillingly really, moved by a friend who asked me to do it. I always tell the story of how my previous blog was hacked and lost all the posts and content. It was the worst feeling. I honestly never thought I was going to spend much time writing about bands again. Perhaps on my fanzine and that would be enough I thought. In the end, thanks to my dear friend Emma, I ended up writing for seven years straight.

I never looked at the stats for the blog. I don’t know how many readers it usually has on a day to day basis. I assume it would be something around 25 to 50. I get a couple of comments a week, and that’s when I get the happiest. I think that has been perhaps the highlight, getting in touch with many bands and people involved in music, and making friends. Few things are better than that.

The blog did change during the years. I think at some point I used to write a lot of “memoirs”, small fragments of my experiences in indiepop. I liked doing that a lot, but because of time constraints, I do that less frequently. I require a lot of time, and especially I need to be in a particular mood, to be able to remember and as vividly as possible, tell these stories. I also used to rant much more and make strong opinions about diverse topics. This also happens less and less because of indiepop being so quiet, so sleepy, that there are really  few topics to discuss. In that sense, the format I’ve been keeping, a post a week, divided in two, an intro of some current topic plus an obscure band, has worked pretty well. I get to cover two important aspects of indiepop that I care the most.

On top of that I’ve continued doing interviews. I started doing them since day one, and until today I’ve done so many that I’ve lost count. Learning and hearing the story from the bands that kind of disappeared into oblivion, and many times helping them notice that people’s interest, is also a big highlight for me. When I see these bands having small reunions, or even setting up a bandcamp, is really heartwarming. Their songs can’t just be forgotten, or only remembered by a few collectors. Indiepop is alive, and it’s history is being rewritten every second.

Not sure if there will be any changes in the year to come. At least there are no planned. If you have any suggestions I’m always open to hear them. So far it’s been a lot of fun, and I’m not bored at all. So I think the Cloudberry blog will continue posting and unearthing treasures for the time being.


Rewing to 1987. To Perth, Australia. Land of amazing indiepop. From The Palisades to Charlotte’s Web, and more. That’s exactly where the band I Hear an Army hailed from.

They only released a 7″ in that year. It came out on a label called Wreckless Records (WRECK 01). I don’t know of any other releases on this label. The single was recorded and mixed at Northlake Productions in January of 87. Two songs were included, on the A side “Second Time Around” and on the B side “Into View”.

On the back sleeve we also learn that the engineer for the record was James Hewgill. That both songs were written by Ian Young. That the single was produced by the band with Phil Dean, who also was their manager. The cover art was also done by Ian Young and then we get the members:
– Nick Dilena on drums
– Laurie Mansell on guitars
– David Richardson  on bass
– Ian Young on guitar and vocals

This info I was lucky to find again on the From a Northern Place blog. I still haven’t found a copy of this record for myself. I hope to be lucky soon.

A funny message appears on the labels of the 7″. It says: “Copyright Control. Unauthorised copying, lending and broadcasting is very naughty.”

What else is there on the web about them? Little really. On a blog called Something Gold, Something New. I find that Ian Young was previously in a band called Scant Regarde (1982-84). They released a 4 track 7″ with “Cabbage Hat” as it’s lead song. I found this song on Soundcloud and although it’s less indiepop and more post-punk I’m actually enjoying it! There I also find that there will be a book series called “Way Out West”, written by George Matzkov, that will cover the lost history of bands from Western Australia from 1960 thru the 1980s!! I really need those books!! Especially the 80s part!

Then I search for David Richardson. I found a website for him on StarNow. There’s a small bio for him that says: “Actor, Model, Musician. Currently Acting in ABSENT and Bass Playing in Foos Gold both in Perth. I am available for acting, voice over , modelling, jingle and/or song writing Australia wide”. Foos Gold being a Foo Fighters tribute band.
On this page it’s mentioned that the song “The Second Time Around” from I Hear an Army was a no.1 single on the Perth independent charts for 6 weeks. He also was part of the bands Blizzard, The Beavers, Manic D, The Lung Brothers and also on the final Scant Regard show.

The other member one could find info, is Laurie Mansell. She joined a favourite band of mine in 1988: Charlotte’s Web. It’s said that she auditioned as a bass player but replaced Craig Chisholm on lead and rhythm guitar duties.

That’s all I could dig online for I Hear an Army. But just knowing that there is that series of books coming up, and the beauty of this song is already very rewarding! I haven’t hear the B side though, so any help would be appreciated! If you remember them, or know of any other recordings, or anything really, us that comment link below! Would be great to know what happened to them!


I Hear an Army – The Second Time Around


Today we make it to our seventh birthday at the blog. It was also on a October 6th of 2008 that we published our first post here on the blog! VERY EXCITING!! How many more years will I keep doing this?!

Not many news this week in indiepop it seems. Looks like once a month we get a lot of exciting news of releases, events, gigs, etc. and then the rest of the month gets very quiet. Not entirely quiet though, I mean, have you checked the song “Taken” by Tiny Fireflies that is now on Soundcloud? It’s gorgeous. It’s a preview of their forthcoming album. I’ve been looking forward to it for a very long time.

Then Los Bonsáis have a new video too, for the song “Vacaciones Permanentes”. I love when I see images of the UK on these videos. I miss it. Again, even if I sound repetitive, it’s so odd that this year I didn’t visit that country. Instead I’m off on vacations to Italy next week. Just for 11 days, not permanent vacations as the song says.

Desperate Journalist, another favourite band of mine, have a new video as well for the song “Perfect Health”. It’s a much simpler video than their previous ones, but it works really well. The song is a beauty too. Like all their songs. Still missing their first CDR and that really pains me. Another band with a new video is Chorusgirl. They have a fantastic promo video for “Oh, To Be A Defector”. They are releasing their album on Fortuna Pop soon. Good eye (and ear) on this one Sean Price.

Last but not least there’s Love Signs from Australia, who I’d love to see release something (don’t do what other Aussie bands are doing!! just putting out digital releases out!!). They have a video for “Not Used to Losing” which is very nice song. Really like the vocals on it.

Perhaps you know even more stuff that is coming out?

I’ll keep it short then this week. As I said, there’s not a whole lot to cover, or even anything to discuss really. There’s a lot of work to do though. There’s interviews to be written, there’s new bands to discover, and so on. On top of it all there’s the label and we will have Don’t Cry Shopgirl in a couple of months ready for you as it’s been pressed at the moment. It’s just a matter of waiting now for me.

And start my last Cloudberry fanzine too. Can’t forget that.


Savlon is an antiseptic brand that was introduced containing the two agents, cetrimide, an antimicrobial detergent, and chlorhexidine gluconate.

I actually bought Savlon the last time I was in the UK. We don’t have that in the U.S.

Going to stores abroad is always exciting, the different brands, the different packaging, even the different prices, make me curious. In that sense going to a Boots in London, though not fun, is interesting to me. In general I’m not into shopping at stores. I think the only stores I like are record stores because you don’t go looking for something specific, and you can end up finding something very special. I guess this can apply to clothing stores and book stores and so on for other people, but for me, that sort of dynamic only happens at a record store. So no, I didn’t have fun finding Savlon in Boots. Even the aisles are arranged differently than in a CVS or a Walgreens.

But that’s how it is. I actually like them a bit better there the stores. I feel you see less of that ugly carpeted floors that the US stores love having. You don’t see much of that in the UK. It’s more like proper tiled floor. I think that’s better. But no, I’m not here to talk about the difference of stores in different countries. That’s not the point of the blog at all. I think it has to do with indiepop music, with guitar pop. And today I wanted to recover a cool band from Leeds, The Savlons.

Where to start? Let’s say 1988. There’s this flexi on the Panic Recordings label (FLX701-1) that had three bands from Leeds. All very short songs. One of the bands went to become pretty well known. You guessed right?

The Panic Flexi included The Pale Saints with the song “Children Break”, The Savlons with “…And What’s More”, and The Surprising Adventures of Kerry Fiddles with “Shiver Me Timbers”.

Discogs lists some notes about this release:
P/s = plain die-cut cardboard sleeve, with stickers (9.5cm x 9.5cm) covering the holes.
Several different postcard-inserts exist. Copies might just have one postcard or possibly up to five.
Some copies (possibly approx half of the 1000 apparently pressed) were given away with ‘Shoot The Tulips’ fanzine; remaining copies were distributed to, and sold by, the bands themselves.

To be honest I’ve just bought this flexi through that store, from a Russian seller, so I’m a bit nervous to see if it will arrive or not. Never bought a record from a Russian seller, I’ve heard some horror stories before, but this one at least had very good feedback.

Most people in the 80s got this flexi when they bought the Shoot The Tulips fanzine. The first issue. I don’t own an original copy of it, but many years back Pete from The Rosehips, Horowitz, and more, made photocopies for me. Loved reading it. I actually found a web page about this fanzine and in there I could find some important information about the zine and the flexi:

Shoot The Tulips was born the day my sister said those words in her sleep. I already had a Darling Buds interview done, which was to be for WILTBS2, except it never happened. So I started off on my own. Approached by some people in Leeds to invest some money into a flexi they were putting together, the first flexi I was involved with featured Pale Saints (Children Break), The Savlons (..And What’s More) and The Amazing Adventures of Kerry Fiddles (Shiver Me Timbers).

The flexi also came with four different postcards, featuring each band, plus a Panic Recordings one. I got 500 of the flexis, the bands got the other 500. Total sold of this issue 500. Pale Saints released a second demo and ended up choosing between 4ad and One Little Indian who was gonna pay their wages for the next few years… Jason from The Savlons ended up in Liverpool band The Stairs for a short time, Graham from The Savlons now plays in a band called Geese. Kerry Fiddles was Jane Fox from the Marine Girls and the rest of The Savlons have been spotted in pubs around the country…

Bands featured – The Darling Buds, Bob, The Sainsburys, The Orchids, The Corn Dollies, Jesse Garon and the Desperadoes, Mega City 4, cartoons (Johnny Twaddle Lives in Bristol)


Pale Saints were Ian Masters, Graeme Naysmith and Chris Cooper. They formed in Leeds, after Graeme and Chris spotted an ad Ian placed in April 1987. They spent their first year playing gigs around the Leeds area, until eventually a deal was made, with another local band, The Savlons, as well as a friend of the band (Jane Fox, from The Marine Girls), to put out a flexidisc, in the summer of 1988. Funding was made available, 1000 flexis were made and sleeves were glued together, half available with a York based fanzine and the remainder shared by The Savlons and the Pale Saints. The flexi featured four different postcards, featuring one of each band, and one for the label, Panic Recordings.

The track ‘Children Break’ came from their first demo tape, released in 1988, called ‘Some New Songs By’ – the songs featured were ‘Wasting My Time’, ‘Children Break’, ‘The Way The World Is’ and ‘Sea Of Sound’. ‘Wasting My Time’ made it onto a Bi-Joopiter compilation tape, called ‘What Feet’, and a compilation with another fanzine, called ‘Are You Ready’. The band started to get gigs around the country, some in Stoke On Trent, another in Lancaster…

Still, we don’t get a proper story of The Savlons. Who were they really? We know there was a Graham and a Jason in the band. But who were the rest in it? We know they went to be in bands The Stairs and Geese, but I couldn’t find anything about them online either. Such mystery!

On the Pale Saings gigography page I could find some concerts that The Savlons played with them:
– 1.8.1988 Georgian Club, Lancaster:   supporting BOB, also supporting were The Savlons
– 25.8.1988 Leadbelly’s, Stoke-on-Trent: supported by The Savlons
– 23.9.1988 Haddon Hall, Leeds: supporting Esmeralda’s Kite, also supporting were The Savlons

Then my only other find happens on Youtube. There’s a song by The Simon Guild Guitar Experience, which has Stewart Anderson from Boyracer in it (check the amazing Welcome To The Wetherbeat Scene 1988-1991 CD). They were from Leeds as well and they had recorded a song called “Jason Savlon Used My Amp“.

That’s all really. Couldn’t find more. I love this song by The Savlons even though it’s so short! I wish to listen to more from them. I wonder if they actually released anything else on any other compilations. Or if perhaps they recorded any demo tapes. Their boy/girl vocals, a bit kind of The Vaselines, are a treat. Top stuff!


The Savlons – …And What’s More


Thanks so much to Paul and Phil for this thorough and amazing interview! Not so long ago I wrote about them on the blog and last week I received some days ago the 7″ release of “Louise”, limited to 20 (!) copies, and it’s such a fabulous song (and the flip-side is also VERY good), that I’m so happy to share with you their answers. If you haven’t heard about Rawhide Chomp before, you are in for a treat!

++ Hi Paul and Phil! Thanks a lot for been keen to answer my questions! I remember I listened to Rawhide Chomp so long ago on Myspace, and I loved the songs there. These days where can one find Rawhide Chomp stuff online?

Paul and Phil: Hi Roque, good to be able to chat at last. I remember being astounded when Phil found out that you’d unearthed the Rawhide Chomp Myspace page and been supportive. Just to know that someone in the USA was interested was amazing! It sent us back to dig out the tapes and eventually kick-started the recent activity.
We’ve just launched a Rawhide Chomp website and a Bandcamp page. Having found the old tapes we just thought it would be good to put the older songs up there and make them available.

++ So, having the website and all, are you planning anything with the band? Maybe some reunion gig? A release? Anything?

Paul: We have just released a very limited 7 inch single of two tracks “Louise “ and “Old Head”. The thing sold out in a day which is something else we didn’t expect. Apologies to anyone who missed it. We are just considering what to do next, whether to cut a few more and make them different or to just keep it as it stands. The recordings are very much of their time, 4 track, in a cold damp room!

As for today and newer tracks we still send songs to each other and are working on finishing a couple more. One is called “Gerla” a tribute to Geoff Duke a British multiple motorcycle Grand Prix Road Racing world champion in the 1950s. Born in St. Helens. As for gigs , you never know.

++ I remember that the bio on Myspace said that you were formed in the mid 80s in St. Helens. Tell me a bit about your town? Never been. What’s there to see or do? And back in the 80s where would you hang out? Were there any good bands in town?

Paul: St.Helens lies between Liverpool and Manchester in the North of England. It is mainly an industrial town, known for its glass making, Rugby League and coal mining. The mid 80s were hard because of the Miners’ Strike and the town was hit hard.

Other than pubs there were no places to hang out. A group of us decided to put on gigs bringing together small bands from the area. We’d negotiate with pub landlords to put events on. Sometimes in small rooms, sometimes in the main bars. We‘d stay for a few weeks or months and then move on to the next. Eventually a kind of scene did start to develop. Thinking back how we got away with it was remarkable. The pub regulars thought we’d come from “Outer Space” and we thought we’d come from New York!

Lots of bands sprung up, mostly guitar based like The Riotous Hues, The Tractors, The Waves, Romulan Cloaking Device and Old Ma Cuxom and ourselves, but there were some other more “synthy” bands like The Tiki Rapids. It’s worth mentioning “Benny Profane” from Liverpool who were really good and always really supportive of us bands “from the sticks”

“The Jactars” from Liverpool were great. Very different from most Liverpool bands.

++ The band was formed from the ashes of of a band called Riotous Hues. Tell me a bit about this band? Were any of you involved with any other bands prior to Rawhide Chomp?

Phil: the Riotous Hues were actually from Rainford, a small village near St Helens. Our singer, Dave Evans lived in Liverpool for a while and got to know Mike Badger, who later formed TheLa’s. We were heavily into The Velvets (especially Live 1969) and Jonathan Richman, but we also loved the melodies of the Pale Fountains and the Beach Boys. I suppose the highlight of our career was playing in Dingwalls in London with some other Liverpool bands. We also appeared on two compilations, ‘A Secret Liverpool’ and Elegance Charm and Deadly Danger. The St. Helens compilation.

Paul: I always looked on “The Hues” as having really well crafted pop songs. Always catchy but somehow off kilter. …….. Phil and Gaz Capper, (our first Drummer) were both in RH. Jamie Flannery a founding member played in an early incarnation of The Tractors and Mike who became our singer played in a band called “Dixie Cartoon”. There was a very open attitude to members of various bands just getting together and coming up with something at least half interesting.. I did something with Andy and Pete from the Tractors, just two lowfi slyly jazzy songs, dead simple but ok. Only performed twice as “The Revolutionary Biscuits of Italy”. Phil jammed with the Tractors for a few weeks. Just trying things out and mixing things up. It was quite a healthy state of affairs with very little rivalry.

++ Who were the members and what instruments did each of you play? How did you all meet?

Paul: Like most bands the line-up fluctuated but the “classic“ was Phil Smith, Guitar, Paul Cross, Guitar, Mike MaCauley, Guitar and vocals, Simon Pratt, Drums and the shaman that was Jaques LeFerve on Bass.

Initially, Jamie and I were working on songs together and we were really lucky when Phil and Gaz were looking for something after the Riotous Hues “split”. We all had similar tastes. We loved making a racket with guitars. None of us could sing and when Mike joined from Dixie Cartoon we felt fairly well set. A band with three guitars. What’s not to like. Mike’s voice has that really natural Northern sound. It’s identical to his speaking voice. Listening now, I love that aspect of the songs.

++ You used to practice at the Fringe offices, right? How was that place?

Paul: It was an office space for an arts organisation. They’d let bands rehearse for free which was really good. Most local bands passed through the doors and also used Dead Fly for demos.

Fringe put out a compilation LP out of some of the local bands including The Riotous Hues, so they helped out in that way too. Check out “Elegance, Charm and Deadly Danger” if you want to get a feel for the bands around nearly 30 years ago. Not all “C86 ish “and a bit variable but a good document of the times.

++ Why the name Rawhide Chomp? Is it because of the dog food?

Paul: Yep! Phil can explain that one!

Phil: The reason is lost in the mists of time- I think I just saw it in a pet shop and like the sound of the words. Plus the song Rawhide by Frankie Laine came into it somewhere.

++ Your first gig was supporting a band called The Tractors at a venue called McDonalds. What do you remember of that first gig? Did it go well?

Phil: it wasn’t a venue, it was actually upstairs in the McDonalds in St.Helens! I have no idea how it was arranged. One of the Tractors probably knew somebody who worked there.

Paul: It went well enough for us to keep going. We played without a bass so we hung it round Ronnies neck. Not sure we were too proficient as a band, but just doing it meant everything in a way. Choosing McDonalds was a bit strange and I’m not sure whose idea it was. Phil and I are vegetarians so I suspect there was a bit of mischief involved. The Tractors were a real conundrum. Chaotic, shambolic, sarcastic, you name it, but great songs and again always supportive of other bands. They’d probably hate me for saying that but it’s true.

++ Then your final gig was supporting The La’s at the Monro in Liverpool. That must have been a big gig? Lots of people? Any anecdotes you could share?

Paul: The Monro was a great place. Bands like Echo and the Bunnymen would turn up and play a set of covers or something. It was just a pub with a back room to play in. Ernie Woo the manager would lock the doors and then produce food for everyone. Fantastic place. Gigs would go on through the night. The La’s gig was great. It was rammed but not a massive place. The early La’s music is underrated, much more stripped and urgent. Mike Badger, was leading the band at the time and he has a true Rock “n” Roll aesthetic. We put their first ever gig on at “The Lamb” in St. Helens and I guess they helped us out in return.

I think we went down pretty well. During one long song Gaz the drummer just got up went to the bar and got a drink, then came back. We just kept going. I’m sure there’s a tape of the gig somewhere.

I went back to The Monro a couple of years ago and it’s now a high end Gastro Pub now. I went in for a pint and got talking to an old boy who remembered it back in the day. Sad really. Something gone from the city’s history.

++ And aside from those two gigs, are there any particular gigs you remember and why?

Paul: Benny Profane at TUC in St.Helens was a big one for us. Good crowd but you couldn’t hear the vocals. Listening to the tape the tunes stand up surprisingly well if a bit linear. I remember thinking no one can her Mike’s vocals and I had to “sing’ the last track A cover of “She Cracked”. I though “Well your gonna hear this one!” That was a mistake, but Phil’s guitar playing is fantastic on it. I wish there were some photos of the night because this guy, George, a sixties veteran did this amazing visual light show, with projections, oil wheels and strobes. It filled the whole hall which was pretty big. I remember turning my back on the crowd and was gobsmacked to see this 20ft projection of Nico coming in and out of focus with acid colours swamping the image. Fantastic. I often wonder what became of George.

I think it’s fair to say that gigs in the town went from the sublime to the ridiculous.

++ Was there any bands you played that you really liked? And which bands would you consider as influences to your music?

Paul: The La’s and Benny Profane were great to play with. We wouldn’t have played with any band we didn’t like or feel some kind of affinity with. We were a bit like that.

Both Phil and I are quite obsessive with music and bands. From slightly earlier, the whole roster of Postcard bands were hugely influential and our love of Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers always kept us going. The Velvets were a key touchstone for many of us. Some of those songs, so simple, didn’t always sound completely perfect but so beautiful. I’d inherited a love of Scott Walker from my dad from the and there are a couple of lyrical references to the great man.

++ During those years, the mid 80s, and especially 86 and 87, there was an explosion of guitar pop bands in the UK. So many! Did you feel part of that scene at all? The one they call now C86?

Paul: We were all aware of many of those bands and we really subscribed to that “E A G Now form a band” ethos from the 70s. I really liked The Pastels, The Loft and the Servants. The June Brides too.

I don’t think we felt part of that wider scene in particular but you can see obvious links. Our combined record collections would make a fairly wide reaching record of the times.

Phil: I have just always been obsessed with guitars- The Stones, The Who, The Clash, Velvets, Postcard records, Zoo and Factory Records, the Smiths. Around the time of Rawhide I was collecting Creation Records-they seemed the perfect label for me, with the 60’s influence . We sent Alan McGee a hand painted tape of these songs but it was obviously filed away in his bin.

Paul: It’s probably underneath the Tractors tape.

++ How did the creative process work for you guys?

Paul: Usually, Phil or Myself would come up with a simple chord progression and we’d kick it about. I could come up with a basic tune but often Phil would work out where to go with it. He could come up with complete songs. Initially, I started to write lyrics for the early songs then Mike came in and we’d co write them. It was a real collaborative process and we all got on with it.

Phil: We liked to keep things simple – we had one song called ‘The endless joy of Dm’ which was basically the one chord- Dm all the way through. It was a little influenced by ‘Lonely Street’ by the Loft but I still think it was a great song.

++ I was reading that the amazing song “Louise” will be released as a lathe cut sometime soon. I definitely want to buy a copy of this! It’s such a fabulous song! So I’m wondering what can you tell me about this upcoming release?

Paul: Yeah it’s basically, that’s the single that’s just gone.. It was cut in Manchester each one in real time from the original C15 tape. John the guy who did it had to sort a few “panning” issues but he didn’t mess with it too much. We’re really pleased with it.

There were only 20 available and it was important to add a few small extras to it, including downloads, sorry! Not sure how people got to know about it. Guess that’s the wonder of the internet today.

Phil and I thought long and hard about doing it. Yeah, just digital would have been easy, but we grew up with the excitement going to Liverpool and buying Zoo, Postcard, Factory and early Creation records amongst a million others.

In the end we came to the conclusion that there had to be a physical release and it had to be a 7”. As they say “Small is Beautiful”

I guess you get the same feeling with Cloudberry Records.

++ And if you don’t mind, as this song is so good, what’s the story behind it?

Paul: It’s just about two people with trust issues trying to talk thing out but it ends quite bitterly, and about having to move on. I was also obsessed with Louise Brooks in my younger years. Still am actually. A great actress in some great films.

++ The other song to be included on the 7″ will be “Old Head”. I haven’t heard it yet, but I wonder, was it an easy pick? And if there are many other songs you recorded waiting to be released?

Paul: We have quite a few songs but only three recorded in anything like demo form. Most are just played live. I think some of them still stand up though. I’m sure we could do something with them. “Old Head” is one of our earliest finished songs so we wanted to include it. Again I think Mike’s voice and Phil’s guitar stand out.

++ I think it’s fair to ask, because of how good “Louise” is, how come it didn’t get released in the 80s?

Paul: Neither Phil or I are great at self promotion. We’re quite shy really so getting up on stage was quite a feat. Like most bands we sent tapes off but didn’t really get anywhere. Only “The Tractors” got picked up for a one off release and “Old Ma Cuxom” released a single themselves , I think.

We should have done it ourselves back then, but better late than never.

++ How was the music press and the fanzine people towards Rawhide Chomp, was there good support?

Paul: People really got behind the local bands. I think they really appreciated what we were trying to do. I don’t remember there ever being a big “Punk” scene in St.Helens . So this never had the chance to evolve in to what came next. Most of us had to go to Liverpool or Manchester to see bands we liked, so a group of tyro bands trying to do it locally was viewed as quite exciting. There was a “Buzz” about the town with frequent gigs in small pubs. Stuff that wasn’t “Pub”rock or just covers.

We raised a few eyebrows which is always a good thing. There wasn’t a fanzine culture in town and only “The Tractors” got a piece in the NME. It was a good one though.

++ So why did you split? And what did you all do after? Were you in bands?

Paul: We all had to hold down jobs and it was quite tough going. Phil and I went on to be teachers and moved away. We’re really not sure where Mike is now. We are desperately trying to find him if only to give him a record. Same for Simon. Gaz became a train driver, A dream come true!

++ It was in 2008 when I read on Myspace that you were back together. How did all that work out? Are you still planning to play and record new music?

Paul: Phil and I still share songs as we said and hopefully we’ll find a bit of time to finish something off. It’s ok doing the Dropbox thing but we really miss that all in a room bouncing ideas about vibe. We meet up a few times each year to see bands and have a few beers.

++ Aside from music on what other things do you spend your time on?

Paul: by its nature work takes up a lot of time. Here in Sheffield there are some great artists and musicians so I get to gigs quite frequently.
Having done “Louise“ with Rawhide we’d really like to release some of the other songs. Also we wouldn’t mind releasing other bands as limited editions. See how we go.

++ And just out of curiosity, if I was a tourist in St. Helens, what’s there to see, eat or do?

Well it’s changed a great deal. Definitely go to a Saints Rugby League match (It’s like a speeded up American Football), Track down a Pimbletts Pie, still the best in the world and take the train to Liverpool for a stroll by the River Mersey. Karl Jung called it “The Pool of Life”.

If you’re really lucky you might catch “Tenements” playing or “Michael Head and the Red Elastic Band”

++ Thanks, let’s wrap it here, anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks for the interest.

It’s been great to think about what happened and put some kind of perspective on a very small footnote from the “80s. It’s really interesting to draw a line from those times to what a label like “Cloudberry” is doing today.

We’ll definitely check it out more.
Cheers Paul and Phil.


Rawhide Chomp – Louise