Thanks to Ian Kirton for the interview!
++ What does The Daisychain Connection means? Was The Daisychain Connection your first musical experience, if not what earlier band were you in? What was the main motivation for starting the band?
The name came from a series of short stories written for radio by Stephen about a spoof detective named Jack Daisychain.
We had all played in bands prior to forming The Daisychain Connection. Vocalist Stephen and drummer Neil were in “Chimes at Midnight”.
Guitarist Ian and keyboards/bass player David were in “Beyond the Wall” and original bass player Pete was in “The Kittiwakes”. They all played original material and were similar in style to the DC although “The Kittiwakes” were more intense and serious!
We all vaguely knew each other through seeing each others bands play and our bands were due to split at roughly the same time for one reason or another so we formed the Daisychain because we all wanted to carry on playing and writing music.
++ What is the full discography, including demos, of the band? I can’t find any info online!
The first demo we did was done in 1986 in Crimson Studios, Manchester and contained 4 tracks. “Julie Come Home”, “You’ll Always Be There”
“There’s nothing Like Perfection” and “Sirens Call”. We sent this round numerous record companies which created quite a lot of interest. One night soon after we had 5 major companies come up from London to see us play in a tiny club in a small town called Penrith just south of Carlisle.
MCA were interested in signing us but wanted us to do another demo first which they paid for. They booked us in to Drone studios in Manchester where the Smiths had done some early recordings.
We recorded “You’ll always Be There” and “Nothing Like Perfection” again and a new song called “Janette” but the majority of the time was spent getting the “perfect drum sound” by an obsessed producer which pleased Neil no end but didn’t leave much time for anything else like vocals! After we’d finished and although we were in a far superior studio we all knew that the first demo of the songs we’d done was much better.
The A n R guy at MCA that dealt with us wanted to sign us but he couldn’t convince his superiors and, alas it never happened.
We didn’t have a manager at the time and we thought it was the main reason that MCA was put off us. 1, because they thought we weren’t taking it all totally seriously and 2, didn’t have anyone to negotiate the business side with as we didn’t have a clue at the time.
We decided to get a manager but we chose very badly and although he convinced us he knew what he was doing, he didn’t, in fact, a manager made of chocolate would’ve been more use!
Very sadly, bass player Pete then died in a house fire which knocked us all for 6.
We decided to carry on with another bass player and recorded another demo in Carlisle containing “S.W.A.L.K”, “The Day Before Yesterday” and a cover of the Simon and Garfunkel track “Feeling Groovy”.
The next recording was “Bingo and Bossa Nova” done in Newcastle which we released ourselves on 7” Vinyl with “Coal Necklace” on the B side.
The last demo was recorded ourselves in our practice room in 1990 and contained “King of Finland, “Casey Rides Again” “Mood Swings and “My My”. We have recently re-recorded these 4 along with “Wash Day”, “My Lip Hit the Floor”, “You’ll Always Be There”, “Julie Come Home”, “Kiss Of Life” and “Real Life Soap” all of which will be on an a CD album soon to be released ourselves.
++ You have recorded, twenty years later, new songs for a yet unreleased album. Something that strikes me, is that the sound of your songs haven’t lost that fantastic 80s jangle pop sound! How do you do it? Why did you decide to reunite after such a long time? How was this reunion? Was it like the good old days?
The songs recently recorded are not new. They were all written in the late 80s and early 90s. However, we have all recorded new material for various different projects over the years and we all remain slaves to the jangle! We have worshipped and studied the ways of the great god of jangle Johnny Marr! As long as Johnny is alive to guide us the jangle will always flow freely from us!
We decided to re-record 10 songs mainly because we didn’t have decent recordings of a lot of them. Recordings mainly existed on dodgy cassettes so we thought it would be good to use the better recording equipment available to us now to re-record them and get them onto CD. It was also fun to go into the studio again as a band. We have all remained good friends since the DC split up in 1991 but hadn’t played together much so it was just like old times.
++ You supported The Beautiful South, which other bands did you play with? Did The Daisychain Connection gig a lot? Which are the gigs you remember the most?
As the DC we didn’t have that many big support gigs. We supported a band called Martin Stephenson and the Daintees quite a lot at a local venue called the Front Page. We also supported “Runrig”, who were massive in Scotland at the time, at the same venue where the Beautiful South gig was.
We did a lot of support gigs in our previous bands with the likes of “Del Amitri”, “The Housemartins”, “The Woodentops”, “The Men They Couldn’t Hang”, “It Bites” and “Jamie Wednesday”.
We did gig a lot which we usually set up and organised ourselves. We used to arrange buses for fans from Carlisle to come and see us when we played in other cities.
The most memorable was definitely the Beautiful South Support gig as this was the most people we ever played to. Another one that sticks out is when we played with 5 major record company execs in the audience at a small venue in Penrith.
Another great one was Coventry University where we played really well and were well received.
We very nearly got on a tour with The Housemartins. In the end it was between us and a band called The Farm. The Farm got it because they were already signed, we were totally gutted!
++ My friend Emma asks: Who’s Julie – the queen of Finland? & speaking of Finland – how come you wrote a song about Finland’s king when they haven’t had one for nearly a century? will you write about the king of Sweden next time? he’s quite charming you know.
Julie was just a fictitious character created for the song which was about disillusioned youth.
There’s a long story associated with “The King of Finland”. At the time it was written we were very keen on rolling our own mind altering cigarettes. As they increased in size they became known as “great white cigars” this was then shortened to “great white” and then to “shark”. A DC member finding himself in Finland (shark fin land) was more to do with the state he found himself in after smoking several “sharks” than a visit to the country!
The king of Finland became one of the many fictitious characters that Stephen would draw on cassette covers. He even designed his own wrapping paper where the king would regularly appear!
The song, being about complete fantasy, was named this for the very reason that Finland didn’t have a king!
We hope this is not in any way offensive to Finnish people and was never intended to be so.
++ And she had another question: At the same time you emerged to the music scene in 1986 from Carlisle, Belinda Carlisle married Morgan Mason! Was there any connection? Maybe a tribute? Is heaven a place on earth? Maybe ‘Real Life Soap’ was inspired by Morgan Mason & his involvement in TV?
We’re really sorry Emma but the fact that we hail form Carlisle has nothing to do with Belinda. Although we were fans of Belinda’s first band, fellow jangle merchants The Go Gos, so she could have been an influence on us! And she did once play in Carlisle!
++ When in Eastenders (the BBC soap opera), the Angie character tried to commit suicide by taking pills, many viewers tried to do the same. That’s one of the cases of Real-Life Soap. If listeners were to follow the steps of The Daisychain Connection, what would be the example you’d like to give them?
Although our lyrics can be melodramatic and a bit serious we like to think that the care free feel of the jangle portrays a tongue in cheek view of life. The DC message would be enjoy the gift of life, don’t take things for granted and don’t spend too much time worrying about the future or the past, live in the moment.
On the subject of Eastenders and soap operas in general, the DC is concerned that too many people get wrapped and tangled up in fictitious lives and situations which gets in the way of enjoying their own lives.
++ What was the biggest highlight for The Daisychain Connection? What do you miss the most from those days?
One of the best feelings ever was when a gig sold out but there would still be a queue of people outside the venue trying to get in. We were sad for those left outside but at the same time, excited that there was so much interest.
The biggest highlight was probably getting interest from so many major record labels with our first demo.
++ The band seem pretty obscure, I’ve never seen it mentioned in fanzines from that era… were you involved at all with fanzines at the time?
We were featured in a Manchester fanzine and also did an interview with Melody Maker.
++ Watching the video for Sirens Call what catches my attention is Stephen’s dancing! I can’t recall many bands from that time that had their singer dancing around! Where did he learn those moves? Does he still dance like this?
Stephen first learned to dance while on holiday at the classic British holiday camp “Pontins” in the 1970s doing “the Slosh”. Unfortunately, some of these moves stayed with him even after extensive dance therapy! Careful analysis of his moves will reveal him skiing without the skis or snow.
++ Have any of you fallen into the Curse of Carlisle?
Thankfully, no! Well not that we know of!
++ Why and when did you call it a day? What did you do after the breakup?
In the late 80s the UK music scene was starting to be dominated by dance and rave music and it became increasingly difficult for guitar based live bands to get regular gigs and many record companies weren’t looking to sign bands like us, preferring to go down the dance route. This became frustrating for us and we decided to call it a day in 1991.
We then went off in many directions some of which will be on a new web site we are developing. Including a collaboration between Stephen and Ian called Dunn & Kirton producing another jangle led 10 track album.
++ Anything else you’d like to add?
www.daisychaintunes.com will be launched late April 2009 where amongst many other tracks, the DC songs will be available to download for free.