From the left you have: –
Phil Andrews-Vocals and guitar.
Ian Churchward-Guitar and vocals.
Dave Clifford-Bass and vocals.
Liz Honeywill-Vocals, keyboards and percussion.
Jerry Brimicombe-Keyboards, percussion and vocals.
Shelley James (kneeling at front)-Drums, percussion and vocals.
Thanks again a thousand to Phil Andrews for the interview! Check another interview with Phil about The Morrisons here.
++ How did the band start? I read that it started first as a duo comprised by Ian and Jerry, right? What year was it? How did you knew each other?
Yea Ian and Jerry started the band around 1982. Ian played guitar and did some vocals and Jerry played synth. I knew Ian from the growing live band scene he was a big fan of going to gigs but had learned to play the guitar about a year after me so hadn’t quite got going when I first met him. Ian had met Jerry at a gig somewhere I think and I got to meet him a little later on. I did join in at the end of their first gig when I was asked to “get up and just make some noise on the last song”.
++ How was the process of the other members joining the band? Who came first? How did you find out about the band? Maybe some ad in the local paper?
Steve Honeywill joined next on vocals. Steve was (and still is!!) a pretty wild character who had a great ability to “wind the crowd up”. I think Ian and Jerry wanted someone to front the band and take the spotlight off them to give them a better chance to get to grips with their instruments. There was a good local band scene around the early 80’s so we all used to know about each other’s gigs and half the audience would regularly be other band members checking out what was happening.
++ Two of these members left quite fast: Steve Honeywill and Bev Haynes. What happened with them? They left to form the Walking Wounded. I never heard this band, care telling me a bit about it ?
Yea it was Steve Honeywill and Steve Wright actually Roque. Steve Wright had joined on bass and the band was just starting to find its feet when the two Steve’s left to form The Walking Wounded. The Walking Wounded was very much an 80’s pop band but concentrated more on a mainstream keyboard based sound whereas Ian and Jerry were to continue with their lo fi sound which of course went on to be so popular on the mid and late 80’s indie scene. I can’t complain really if the two Steve’s hadn’t left I doubt I would have ever got the chance to join.
++ Where does the name Chapter 29 comes from?
I think it was inspired by a Pink Floyd song called Chapter 24. Ian was (and still is) a big fan of 60’s garage rock and loved the Sid Barrett era Floyd. A lot of people jumped on the Sid Barrett/acid rock thing some years later to “look cool” but Ian was raving about this stuff back in 1980 when we all used to go “eh what are you talking about Ian”.
++ I read that your first ever gig was one of your worst performances as you could barely play instruments. What do you remember about that day? How fast did you overcome that? What would you say was your best gig?
Well we were all inspired by the punk ethic to just get up there and do it but certainly Ian, Jerry and Steve had some nerve with their early gigs. I think they had difficulties getting bookings at times I can remember going to one gig that they held in the front room of Ian’s house!! It slowly came together though and by the time I’d joined and we had got Dave Clifford in on bass (he was an awesome player back then), Steve’s sister Liz on vocals and Shelley James on drums and percussion some of our later gigs together were pretty tight and were a hint at the guitar based indie sound that was to eventually be The Morrisons a few years later. I can’t really remember what would have been our best gig we used to play quite a lot in all sorts of odd venues it was just a great time we were all around 20/21 so we were just into having a laugh really.
++ Any great bands that you gigged with? I find that those years are quite obscure for indiepop but it seems there were some great pop bands around! So any recommendation would be fantastic!
The only one I can think of is when we played at Tapps nightclub in Sherborne Dorset with a band called “The Scarlet Downs” which featured brothers Simon and Mark Barber who would go on to be in “The Chesterfields”. Ian had a spell of working up in the area and had got to know Simon really well. Otherwise we played either on our own mostly in pubs or as part of a line up of bands (usually Torquay based ones) at a band night. There wasn’t much interest from promoters to put on gigs in the early 80’s where we lived so we had to book them and promote them ourselves.
++ With the second lineup, which was the classical lineup, you released several cassette albums. What was the complete discography?
Yea cassette was the only affordable medium back then. We did two cassette albums the first was called “Playing In The Rooms Of Twilight” and the second “A Bizzare Joy” we also had a track “The Isolate” on a compilation album “Forgotten Futures” but frankly the album was pretty crap and we were never that happy with the version of “The Isolate” that appeared on it.
++ This year you released a retrospective CD of Chapter 29, tell us about it! What can people expect from it?
Yea it’s all down to Ian really. He’s got an amazing collection of old demo’s, rehearsals and live recordings he just used to record everything back in those days. Luckily we found a label (Series Two Records-www.myspace/seriestworecords.com) who were happy to put it out for us. It’s very lo fi but contains a really mixed back of surprises. I think it sounds very “English” and if you like C86 type indie I think you will find plenty to like. One of the old Chapter 29 songs “Captured In A Jar” has even found it’s way into The Morrisons live set this year and is sounding pretty good. We don’t spend a lot of time looking backwards but sometimes its nice to re-visit a song you wrote nearly 30 years ago!!
++ I have a couple of questions about some of the songs on this compilation. Who is Benjamin from “Benjamin’s Dream”? Was the song Ispahan dedicated to the Iranian city? And what about “Fairfax Street Dreaming”? Is that an important street to you all?
I’d like to have a really arty answer here Roque but in truth there are no great reasons for the titles other than that we liked the names as song titles. We’ve never been too deep with our lyrics but as John Peel once said why spoil a great track by having crap lyrics!!
++ From all of Chapter 29 songs, which is your favourite one and why?
Well as I said earlier we’ve dusted off Captured In A Jar this year and it does sound good (I was having my Scott Walker phase at the time it was written I recall) and we had a song called Before which my Daughter can play on guitar now and my wife Shelley also enjoys singing and playing so those songs are often ringing around the house!!! In truth I think the joy of Chapter 29 was the fact that we weren’t trying to be cool we were young and just playing whatever came out and there is some real honest stuff on the compilation. I think there are plenty of great hidden pop songs if you are prepared to dig deep enough too.
++ Do you think you were ahead of your time? You think if Chapter 29 would have been around 1986 you would have had more success? I kind of believe that myself!
O yea definitely. Chapter 29 was a blueprint for The Morrisons and wasn’t massively different from bands like The Razorcuts and The Flatmates, The Raincoats etc. I think indie pop fans from 86’ would have loved it!!
++ Phil left the band in 1983 to form Haiti Chill, care telling me a bit about this band? Any recordings Phil?
Yea like The Walking Wounded Haiti Chill was a little bit more main stream 80’s pop and went through a more keyboard heavy phase. It didn’t start like that but developed over time really. I think when your young your hungry to try new ideas and nothing seems to move fast enough for you. It was like that leaving Chapter 29 really it was that hunger to move forward ever faster to the next thing. There are demo recordings that I have but we’ve never put them out. I slowly got back into the guitar towards the end of Haiti Chill and one song we had called “Looking Down From Heaven” was certainly a prototype Morrisons number.
++ When and why did the band call it a day?
Chapter 29 broke up in 1986 when Ian and I decided to form another band together (this was The Morrisons). We had remained good friends although musically Ian was never a fan of Haiti Chill “Where are the guitars Phil” he would say and “It’s not very 60’s is it”.
++ And of course later you all got together again and formed the mighty Morrisons! But would you like to add or tell anything to the popkids out there?
Just thanks to you Roque for letting me tell you all something about Chapter 29, As I said earlier if you like your indie lo fi and C86 in style I think you will like Chapter 29. Just sit back and enjoy………………………
Chapter 29 – Before