25
Jan

Thanks so much to Tony Wade for getting in touch and answering all my questions in this interview! I wrote about Brick Supply some time ago, and managed to even score a copy of their Somebody’s Intermezzo EP not so long ago and I became quickly a fan of the band. So if you haven’t discovered yet this amazing band, it is time now, their songs are really great!

++ Hi Tony! Thanks a lot for getting in touch! I’ve been very curious about Brick Supply since I heard your music for the first time. And there is so little written about the band online. So perhaps let’s start from the beginning? Was Brick Supply the first band you were involved with?

No, I’d been in bands before but was asked to join Brick Supply after they had recorded Not So Manic Now and to finish the Somebodies Intermezzo CD. I then played with them for the next 9 years.

++ And what are your first music memory? When was the first time you used a piano or a keyboard? Do you play any other instruments?

I started to play piano when I was 4. I also play guitars, mandolins, banjos, percussion.

++ How did Brick Supply start? Who were the members of the band? How did you all know each other?

Brick Supply started in a school in Castleford in about 1987. (I joined around 1991)

Then the band was:
Dave Harling – Guitar
Tony Stuckey – Guitar
George Parker – Drums
Andrew Tate – Vocals
Gareth Graham – Bass

Gareth was replaced by Martin Mason, I joined, Ian Hawkins replaces George Parker.

Tony Stuckey left just after the EP came out

That line up remained pretty constant until the band split around 2000. I went on to be in The Boy Tate with Dave and Andrew.

++ What year was that? And where does the name of the band come from?

The band was named after the first job anyone got after school – working in a  brick suppliers.

++ And where in the UK were you based?

Castleford and Wakefield in Yorkshire

++ The first appearance of the band was in 1991, as far as I know, was on the compilation “Twice Wi’ Scraps For Me Mam An’ Our Lass ….Please”. There were two songs, “Mellow Rape” and “Inside a Mattress Van”. Do you remember how did you end up in that compilation? Who were Confidential Records?

Confidential records was based in Wakefield and wanted to put out a compilation of local acts. It was set up by George Parker after he left Brick Supply.

++ Then in 1992 you were going to appear on a Rough Trade compilation with the song “Grid of Absence” and in 1994 in a compilation in Singapore with “Not So Manic Now”.  Did you appear in any other compilations aside from these three?

Just the Weird and Wonderful compilation you mentioned before. We had some tracks on recording industry compilations that were not for general release.

++ I notice that the sound of the band changed quite a bit from the early days until the first proper release of the band. Why was that? Who were your influences? And did these influences changed a bit during the later period?

We wanted to become more melodic and explore older music. When we started we were influenced by The Smiths and The Pixies but gradually wanted to play a wider range of music, especially English pop music from the Beatles to ELO. We were a bit of an oddity in 1991 trying to do that but we liked it.

++ How was the creative process for the band? What do you remember from the recording for the first EP, “Somebody’s Intermezzo”?

Initially the band would jam a song and Dave would write the lyrics but more a more Dave would come to my house with a acoustic guitar with a song almost done and I’d sit at the piano and work out a feel for the song and an arrangement. We might even record a rough demo in the computer and digital 8 track recorder.

++ This EP was released on a label called Rough Cuts. Who were they?

Rough Cuts, I think, were a subsidiary of Rough Trade records/publishing

++ On Youtube there are a bunch of songs that seem to have been unreleased like “Instant Rebels, or “My Beautiful Kebab House”, among others? Where do these songs come from?

Early tape recordings and self-financed demos. We are very fond of them.

++ How many songs did you record in total do you remember? And how come most of these songs remain unreleased? Was there no interest from labels?

We must have over 100 songs recorded in one form or another. We were tied into a publishing deal with Rough Trade after the EP and then we were going to sign for a new Japanese record label based in the JVC corporation. There were negotiations and recordings and meetings done but in the end the label never got off the ground and the recordings never released.

++ You mentioned to me the “Happy Accidents” EP. It was a follow up to the first EP. Was this released? And how different was the process to make it and sound-wise to the previous EP?

Happy Accidents was a mixture of some of the JVC demos, some recordings recorded in  my kitchen and some from our rehearsal studio. We just wanted to get some of this music out.

++ From all your recordings, which are your favourite songs and why?

I think Rules of Wine, It’s not on any released music. It was recorded at our last ever session, Andrew Tate had left at that point and Dave took over vocals. We had been recording our current batch of songs at the time and has a bit of time left. We made the song up on the spot. It’s us at our most relaxed.

++ Dubstar covered “Not So Manic Now” in 1995. There was even a promo video for it. How did this cover come about? Was there any other connection with Dubstar aside from them liking your song?

They were working with the same producer and he played them our song, they liked it and wanted to release it. —-and there hangs a whole new tale but that might have to wait until later.

++ Tell me about gigs. Did you play many? What would you say were the best and worst (or the most curious) gig experiences of Brick Supply and why?

We gigged a lot, playing support for English indie bands such as Wedding Present, CUD in fact anyone who would have us. We played a lot of college gigs. Best experience and worst experience were a few day apart actually.

We were asked to play an acoustic set for a big record industry event and festival in Leeds. We thought we’d do it acoustically as there was a grand piano on stage and I’ve always wanted to play one. We were playing at the interval during a conference. Most people left the auditorium to get some lunch as we were playing  but we didn’t mind because the great English BBC DJ, John Peel was in the audience. (I don’t know if you know about him – he was incredibly important in playing new unsigned bands and every band in England would send him their demos to play on his show. We all loved him) he stayed for the whole show and came to see us afterwards and said how much he liked what we did and even know lots of our songs!

A few days later we were headlining the festival on its last night, a very important gig at a packed venue full of record labels and industry specialists. Unfortunately we had to cancel a few hours before David suffered from ruptured tonsils and was very ill. We couldn’t do the show without him.  Bit of a low point.

++ How was the press with Brick Supply? Did you get much support? And radio play?

We had lots of radio and press, I might have the clipping somewhere.

++ When you started as a band there were plenty of guitar bands in the UK, nowadays grouped under the genre C86 or indiepop. Did you feel part of a scene? Did you like any other bands from that period? And why do you think there were so many great bands appearing at that time?

I think we were part of the indie scene but then the whole Madchester indie dance came along with bands like The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays and all the bands started to sound like that. We liked those bands but didn’t want to sound like then and that made us stand out. Then britpop came along and we weren’t a part of that scene even though we might have shared the same influences. We liked being our own thing.

++ Then when and why did Brick Supply call it a day?

We ended around 2000. David and Andrew for The Boy Tate and wanted to do more acoustic work. I joined them. We had all got jobs by then and didn’t have the time to gig or rehearse too much. Shame really.

++ Afterwards you all went to be The Boy Tate. Care telling me a bit about this band?

Here’s a little film

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwtOjuzlkyM

The Boy Tate website is no more but there are snippets here

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boy_Tate

They did 4 CD and supported many acts including Suzanna Vega. The Boy Tate called it a day a couple of years ago.

++ And today, are you all in touch? Are you still making music?

We are in touch occasionally.  We usually meet up every Christmas for a curry.

++ And aside from music, what other hobbies do you enjoy having?

I make a living as an artist so that takes up much of my time

++ Looking back in time now, what would you say was the biggest highlight of Brick Supply?

All of it, wouldn’t have missed it for the world

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

Thank you for your interest, it’s been good to think back to those times.

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Listen
Brick Supply – Mellow Rape