Thanks so much to Carl Green for the interview! Definitely don’t miss the retrospective CD from The Whirlpool Guest House that is out on Summerhouse Records. It’s called “Rough Digs” and it’s a fantastic collection of songs! Also expect them to be showcased in the next Sound of Leamington Spa compilation!
++ Having read the great interview our friend Tommy Gunnarson did to you not so long ago, I won’t repeat the same questions. But tell me, what happened to Carl Green and The Scene and Rules of Croquet? Why did you decide to stop these bands and make music under The Whirlpool Guest House? And especially what made you change power pop for beautiful jangle pop?
CGATS and Rules Of Croquet had run their course. I wasn’t the sole songwriter in either band and I wanted to be. I was compromising too much, too often. I was utterly bored with playing live and wanted a pop group where the emphasis was on songwriting and recording and not live performance. The jangle pop thing was an accident really. My rudimentary guitar skills saw me play electric guitar like an acoustic- lots of strumming of chords with very few effects. A sixties feel was always the aim, but it actually didn’t sound like that. We were making 80’s indiepop and it was the most natural thing I’d ever been involved with.
++ Andy was also in The Scene and Croquet, so it was kind of easy to think he would join your new project, but what about Sallyann? Was she easy to convince? And what about Graeme Robinson, why wasn’t he in the “band” even though he recorded all drums?
Sallyann was Andrew’s wife and, despite being initially shy, she was happy to donate her vocals to such a good cause! Graeme was never asked to join. He ran a succesful recording studio and was very busy. Musically as well, he wasn’t really on our wavelength. He was more a rocker than a popper!
++ How did you meet William Jones from Friends? Why didn’t you ever had a band together? or maybe you did?
Me and Will worked together at Stockton’s Dovecot Arts Centre, now sadly pulled down. Will was a sole songwriter like me and had his own way of writing. We were/are musical control freaks! Once you find your own voice, it’s best to use it rather than keep it quiet just to maintain the peace.
++ Aside from your band and Friends, which other Stockton-On-Tees bands would you recommend? Was there a thriving scene as it seems from William liner notes for Rough Digs when he mentions Dovecot Arts Centre’s weekly performances?
There was a small scene, but only WGH and Friends were flying the indiepop flag. A lot of Stockton bands were creative and competent, but from a rockier place. Not really to my taste a lot of them.
++ Speaking of Rough Digs, it is such fantastic thing that it came out. Who’s idea was it to release it? And what about these 4 unreleased songs? Were they planned to be a single maybe?
The credit goes to William. I would never have conceived of the idea. I didn’t think there’d be any interest really- there certainly wasn’t on its initial release in 1989. Yes, the final 4 songs on the album were planned as an EP in 1990 but we’d already started to morph into Shandy Wildtyme, and they got left behind.
++ You were a print distributor, a photographer, a poster designer and a mobile disco proprietor, you were the jack-of-all-trades. Was that song about you? Which of these things enjoyed the most doing? Are you still doing any of these?
Yes, I liked to dabble! The print distribution business continues to this day, and provides me with a modest living. Photography is still a hobby of mine and I take pictures whenever and wherever I can.
++ What about The Plumber’s Daughter (my favourite song!), is it a real story? Did the plumber’s daughter really existed?
She probably does exist, but I never met her! Like the song says- “a silly impossible dream”!
++ You had another band called Gaberdine. What was the sound of it? I haven’t found much information about it online, maybe there were some releases?
Gaberdine were short lived- 1996 to 1997. No releases, not much to say. It was still pop, but punkier and less melodic. Not my favourite time if truth be told.
++ I know you has a different approach to live performances, having video projected while your songs were played, but honestly, you never played live with Whirlpool Guest House?
No never. We just didn’t want to.
++ Something that strikes me from your vinyl releases is the great photographs you used for the sleeves. Did you take them yourself?
Thank you. Yes, all my own work.
++ Why did you decide to change the name of the band to Shandy Wildtyme?
Basically, Shandy Wildtyme was the live version of WGH and we felt we had to put distance between the two bands. Also, the songs of SW were less indie and more harmony pop so we felt the time was right for a change.
++ What are the Whirlpool Guest House members doing nowadays?
I don’t know. We drifted apart years ago.
++ Thanks so much Carl! Anything else you’d like to add?
After Gaberdine, I created a cartoon pop band called The Close-Ups. We released 3 vinyl singles and an album (2am In Flat 3b) between 2004 and 2006 on my own Northern Round Square label. If you like WGH, you’ll love The Close-Ups! It’s pure indiepop and features the brilliant voice of Abby Connor who was 15 at the time. The album is still available on CD Baby etc and is one of my proudest achievements in music.
Bringing the story up-to-date, I’m now solo and go under the name Head Of Light Entertainment. It’s quirky alt-pop and I’m gigging again after a lengthy absence. I’m really enjoying being back in the thick of it. My debut album is planned for Autumn this year, and will feature 12 songs that sum me up both musically and personally. More info at: www.myspace.com/headoflightentertainment