UK

Fashion – Foale & Tuffin

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Fashion Scene 4

Claire Mahoney looks at the lesser-known, but no less influential 60s design duo that was: Foale & Tuffin

Designer Zandra Rhodes described them as the ‘Queens of Carnaby Street,’ others dubbed them the ‘Liver Birds’ of the London fashion scene – the dynamic duo that they are referring to are designers Foale & Tuffin.

You may not have heard of them. (I hadn’t until I started delving deeper into the history of 60s fashion.) But these two East End art school girls has no less an influence on 60s fashion and the mod look than the likes of Mary Quant and to those who were in with the in-crowd, they were the designers that people wanted to wear.

Marion Foale and Sally Tuffin met at Walthamstow Art School. These bright young girls epitomised everything that the 60s was really about. They were determined to do something different and they were going to do it all by themselves and not sell out in the process.

So they stepped straight out of the Royal College of Art and took the bold decision to set up on their own. In 1961 they rented a small workshop and showroom in west London for six guineas a week. Then, with just two old sewing machines bought for them by their parents, they rolled up their sleeves and got to work. Initially they would buy their fabrics from the local department stores. Their workshop was not far from Liberty and the department stores’ famous Arts & Crafts influenced prints became a feature of many of their creations. Entire collections were made lovingly by hand to order and when their business started to take off they opened their shop in Ganton Street just off Carnaby Street.

Their little boutique attracted a devoted following – fans included Jean Shrimpton. Julie Christie, Susanna York and Cilla Black and their house model was Pattie Boyd’s sister, Jenny.

So what was it about Foale & Tuffin’s designs that were so appealing? Well for a start they were rebellious and they understood what young people wanted because they were young themselves.

“We’d had it rammed down our throats – I had to go to Sunday School with white gloves, a hat and a handbag, just like a miniature mum in a dress made by her, exactly the same as hers! I mean who wanted to do that? We just wanted to kick against it all,” says Sally Tuffin. And kick they did. People talk about how Yves Saint Laurent introduced the trouser suit for women but actually, it was Foale & Tuffin that did it first. Their design was in brown corduroy and most importantly was created for women by women.

Marion Foale recalls in an interview for the V&A ahead of a retrospective exhibition of their work in 2009. “I remember us putting a corduroy jacket on Jill Kennington and putting the trousers with it and falling about with laughter – it was so funny. We must have been making trousers anyway, but not with jackets. We put it all together and thought it was hilarious!”

It was good timing. By the mid-60s the sharp mod look was starting to get a little more playful with the likes of John Stephen stocking more dandy-ish styles with frills and Victorian style detailing for men. So as the men began to embrace their feminine side the women could explore a more liberated a less sexualised androgyny, that ironically, was no less sexy for it.

Foale & Tuffin designs were also playful. They were one of the first designers of the era to ignore the rule of matching clothes and accessories and wantonly clashed spots, stripes and checks – sometimes all in the same outfit.

They loved plaids and tartans and created skirt and trouser suits in contrasting prints and colours. They matched them with brightly coloured woollen tights. Their designs were so popular that they were eventually picked up by the big stores in the States and licensed to J C Penney and Paraphernalia.

Foale & Tuffin like many of the brands of that era either fizzled out or changed course in the early 70s, in this case, both had settled down to raise their families. Marion Foale, however, later went on to set up a very successful knitwear design business and Sally Tuffin became a successful ceramicist.

The legacy of their brand may not have been discussed as much as the likes of Quant and Biba. But to those in the know, Foale & Tuffin were a brand to be reckoned with.

To read more about them and see some fantastic pictures of their designs – take a look at Foale and Tuffin: The Sixties. A Decade in Fashion by Iain R. Webb, published by ACC Publishing Group.


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Claire Mahoney

At the age of 13 mod made perfect sense to me. I liked the look and the attitude - but most of all I liked the music. Secret Affair was my entry point, but they were soon playing second fiddle in my affections to The Jam. Paul Weller, of course, proceeded to break mine and many others hearts in 1982, when he put an end to that particular musical roller coaster – but what it meant was that, uninterested in anything else that was happening in music at the time, I had to look back. I was lucky enough to be given two plastic bags full of 60s 45s by my uncle who used to stock the jukeboxes back in the day. Their contents included a number of Stax originals, plus the Who and the Small Faces, as well as Motown classics from The Four Tops and the Supremes. So, when Phil Collins charted in the mid 80s with 'You Can't Hurry Love' it was nice to be able to say: “I've got the original of that!” It became quite an irritating habit of mine over the years. These days I still enjoy discovering new, old music, be it soul, rnb or jazz, as well as witnessing mod taken another turn among today's youth with bands like The Strypes. My day job as a journalist means I am lucky enough to be able to write about music and modernism now and again. Other than that you'll find me mostly on the dance floor or on eBay still looking for that perfect A line dress.

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March 1, 2017 By : Category : Fashion Front Page Style UK Tags:,
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Blazers – via Uppers

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Uppers

Blazer 1: one that blazes 2: a single-breasted sports jacket in bright stripes or solid color. (Websters)
The blazer as a garment walks the fine line between formal and informal wear. Whether you wear it strolling down your favourite street with the swagger of a metropolitan boulevardiér or when in a hurry to work (deftly avoiding screaming children and their mothers), the blazer is a great piece of clothing. Depending on how you combine it you could be just perfectly dressed for the occassion. So let’s smartly about-face and look to the origins of the blazer in it’s first and most double-breasted form.

Looking at the classic blazer, the double-breasted blue one with brass buttons, the conclusion that the jacket is of military tradition is rather obvious. Legend has it that the commanding officer of the frigatte HMS Blazer had a special uniform-jacket made for his men at some time when queen Victoria was going to make an appearance. It was styled after the short jacket worn by naval men at this time (1830-50).This new garment found royal approval and was soon appreciated by both naval men and marine minded gentlemen who wanted to sport something that wasn’t a uniform but still associated with maritime virtues. Hence the name: blazer. The result of civilians having jackets like these made for occasions sportif and also naval officers getting jackets tailored in the same style as their uniforms, evolved into what is the originator of both the sporty striped blazer (a bastard child-bearing many names) and the plain blue blazer. End of history lesson.

Nowadays a blazer can look almost anyway you please, of course within certain given parameters: namely style and the threat of your friends having a go at you. Basically the only valid definition of a blazer is this: a short jacket, blue in color, always with two side vents and a double-breast with brass buttons . Does this remotely sound like anything you have hanging in your wardrobe? I shouldn’t think so. Fortunately there has been a lot of changes in the makeup of this garment. The striped blazer worn by rowing-club members sweating at the thwarts. The light jacket with a shiny finish of the mediterranean gentleman sipping his Pernod. The bottle-green blazer favored by americans mostly (this is the only place where colours other than dark blue is popular in the plain jackets). Somewhere along the line the blazer even lost it’s brass buttons (which were only there to flaunt membership of clubs, etc). In these times with a wide array available, the line between jacket and blazer is a thin one. If you start hollering: belay that bolard, tote that rope and starboard helmsman!.. you’re probably wearing one (a blazer that is).

The stylistic qualities of the blazer cannot be overlooked. Many tasty photos adorning some very groovy records reveal several hip cats of royal pedigree wearing them. If you’re going to look to the continent there are several very good examples: Serge Gainsborough , Boris Vian… you know, cool guys. Steve Marriott used to look really smart in the striped ones and most of the Creation wore them and still managed to look hard. Ard. Oh sorry, guess I am overstating it a bit. Still if you’re into history this is a point isn’t?

Most mens outfitters stock good off the peg blazers. If you’re in Italy I guess you could pay Brioni a visit. The Italians are known for the subtlety and novelty of their materials. Maybe some mohair and silk would look good? Italy is the land of fabric possibilities. But really why go overboard with this when the charm in the blazer lies in its simplicity . There’s nothing wrong with a plain blue one is there? But if you want “a garment cut by an individual, for an individual, by an individual” then it’s a nice touch.

So how to get the look right? Well it’s up to you. Are you into the more bohemic style go for the plain ones (we’re talking mod bohemic) combined with a pair of light trousers. Corduroy or moleskin looks really good. Traditionally the combination of dark blue and brown is considered bad. But then again because of tradition people on horseback in red ridingcoats (‘redingote’ in french, which always cracks me up) dementedly gallivants around the english countryside chasing some poor fox. The fox ain’t even Jane Fonda or Monica Vitti (I know it sounds unbelievable). If you want that youthful look in the summer get a striped one and match it with a pair of really dark denims and suede slipons.

With a blazer you could even leave the top button of your shirt open (gasp!) While you’re at it, stuff a Hermes scarf in your collar and sit down at the grand piano and play ‘Trains, Boats and Planes’ to entertain your friends if they are in a Burtish mood. You see, it makes perfect sense doesn´t it? The blazer is the preserve of the jet-set and who are you to argue?
© Jules Olivier 2001 – 2015 [Published 26 January 2001]


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December 7, 2016 By : Category : Articles Fashion Front Page Style UK Tags:, ,
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Jazz for Modernists 8 – Interview with Julie Tippetts and Keith Tippett (Part 2)

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series James Thomas on Jazz

Here is part 2 of JTM’s interview with Julie Tippetts and Keith Tippett.

09: The period 1967-1972 was generally one of great dialogue between jazz, blues, folk, improvisational forms and rock music. On a personal level, did you experience this as a process of mutual discovery, each of you learning about the other’s musical backgrounds?

KEITH: As in our lives where we have grown together, also in the music. And may I take this opportunity to state that Centipede and the composition Septober Energy (1971) encompasses all these genres. Performing live with an orchestra including Jazz musicians/Soul and progressive rock musicians/improvising musicians and classical musicians had never been done before or since.

Centipede, Septober Energy (1971)

10: In April, 1971, Julie, you recorded Quartet Sequence, with The Spontaneous Music Ensemble. How did this come about and what was it like to step into this new area of improvisational singing?

JULIE: Our shared manager at the time, Giorgio Gomelsky, was also recording people like John Stevens and John McLaughlin, so I had the opportunity to listen to and try out all sorts of diverse musical areas of creation. Joining The Spontaneous Music Ensemble with John Stevens, Trevor Watts and Ron Herman was part of a natural progression moving into a freer approach to playing. As was (Ovary Lodge (with Keith, Frank Perry and Harry Miller), and collaborations with [previous SME member] Maggie Nicols. She and I set up our friendship and teamwork in Centipede. We did lots of improvising together in preparation for the concerts. We have always had an incredible rapport.

Spontaneuous Music Ensemble, Frameworks 

11: Much of this music is considered ‘improvisational’ or ‘experimental’. Is improvisation primarily a response to another musician’s performance or is it aiming to represent something tangible (a landscape, an idea, an emotion etc)?

KEITH: It is definitely not experimental. Composition is frozen improvisation. The ability to solidify on paper the idea you have created in sound. This is just the start. Likewise with the technology available today, what starts as an improvisation in a Dartington concert can be heard on a beach in Bali on cd 5 months later. All composers are improvisers.

12: Julie, you have periodically returned to more ‘conventional’ song forms throughout your career, working again with Brian Auger on Encore (1978), Fire in the Mountain (1989) with Working Week and quite recently, Sessions (2008) with Nostalgia 77 (with Keith). How would you describe the main differences in approach to structured song and improvisational singing?

JULIE: I love music… My privilege has been, being open enough to be part of many genres. I feel comfortable in composed or spontaneous music.

13: In 1975, you recorded Sunset Glow, a recording that in parts evokes for me works like Tim Buckley’s Starsailor (1970), Robert Wyatt’s Rock Bottom (1974) and Linda Perhac’s Parallelograms (1970). For those who love your 1960s work, could this LP be the gateway into your more experimental work, perhaps the one they could relate to most?

JULIE: I don’t think so really. For me personally, I can’t possibly make that statement. I have loved every limb of the body of work I have produced or been part of producing. It’s all part of the same journey. How people conceive it, or accept it, is part of their journey.

Julie Tippetts, Sunset Glow (1975)

14: Keith, during the 1980s and 1990s, you actively promoted the Rare Music Club in Bristol, an arena for experimental and collaborative music, based in part around your group Mujician. What were the major successes of that and did the experience make you optimistic about future music in Britain?

KEITH: The Rare Music club put on a programme of improvised music/jazz/20th century/contemporary western classical music/ and folk music from various countries. At least 3 different musics per night. Wonderful idea. I thought it would be commercial. I was wrong. Mujician was the house band and we were subsidizing guest artists. There was no profit whatsoever. Even with a hard-working committee raising small amounts of money, we could only sustain the club by the musicians’ good will. We had some headline, internationally known artists, and prosperous Bristol (a University city) did not have interest enough – particularly local musicians and students. The future of non-commercial music is in more danger now in the UK than it has ever been (with the exception of contemporary western classical music, which the establishment funds)… Thank God for Europe… ps…I worked more in Tokyo last year than my home town Bristol!!

Mujician (Paul Dunmall, Keith Tippett, the late Tony Levin, Paul Rodgers)

15: Keith, teaching has been important to you and you include many younger musicians in your improvising groups and write scores for younger musicians to perform. When you perform, you always seem to be interested in how they respond to your musical cues and suggestions…..

KEITH: Younger musicians are the future of course… musical cues and suggestions are of course discussed and rehearsed. I also am still working with many of the older comrades who were first-generation creators of improvised music.

16: Are you hopeful about the future of jazz and improvisational music?

KEITH: I am hopeful to an extent. However Europe (East and West) is where the work place is. The audiences also seem to be more knowledgeable.


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James Thomas

James Thomas was born in Bristol just the wrong side of 1970 (1971). His first encounters with the 1960s were his two-year-old elder brother’s reminiscences of the Moon Landing (since deleted by the BBC) and an afternoon in 1975 listening to the Beatles with his parents. He remembers 2-Tone and the ’79 revival, but was the one in his primary school still wearing flares until he persuaded his mum to buy him a black Harrington jacket (a stylish-enough copy by Burtons) and asked a hair stylist to make him ‘look like Suggs’. In the 1980s he became obsessed with almost every aspect of the 1960s, whether it were Star Trek, the length of George Harrison’s hair in March 1965 or the first colour TV broadcast of a cricket match (he thinks it was 1968). After being side-tracked by progressive rock (an ongoing guilty pleasure), James came to his senses in 1986 on seeing footage of Booker T and the MGs and Otis Redding on a programme celebrating the 60th anniversary of television. A flirtation with ‘indie pop’ (in the bowl-cut and anorak days) led to too much introspection, but also a new interest in the psychedelic sounds of the 1960s that seemed to go hand in glove with a liking for The Pastels and The Razorcuts. A summery afternoon in the jazz tent at Bristol’s annual (and long gone) Ashton Court Festival in 1989 opened his mind to the sounds of Lee Morgan, Horace Silver, Art Blakey and most forms of modern jazz. In 1990, James attended his first proper 60s club night, the revered Kaleidoscope Pop! in Leeds. On his return from the North in 1992, he developed a new commitment to Mod culture. He recalls early Untouchables Brighton New Year rallies and in 1994 moved to London. A real education for him (in so many ways...) was a period in Barcelona (1997-2002) where he helped out with the Magic in the Air club for a year or two and where his IQ was permanently reduced by a record dealer who made him clean vinyl for four weeks in a windowless room. After a decade or so in the West Country, he is now living again in London, where he plans to write about jazz, meet like-minded people and study the history of the cravat.

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September 29, 2016 By : Category : Bands Front Page Interviews ModJazz Music UK Tags:, , , ,
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Hey! Mr DJ Lee Miller

We caught up with Leeds based but Kent born and bred, DJ Lee Miller recently to talk about his life as a DJ and collector.

01. How and when did you get into music and what were you listening to then?

I started listening to music from a young age. Mum & Dad had quite a large collection of 50’s & 60’s R&R, with a bit of pop thrown in. Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Bill Hayley, Gene Vincent & Bill Fury, but my favourite, that I used to do the air guitar & hairbrush routine too was a lesser known “B” side by The Attack – Any More Than I Do – which I still have today. They don’t know how they came to have that 45, all we can assume is that they thought they were getting Jeff Beck’s – Hi Ho Silver Lining.

02. Where was your first DJ slot?

I first started playing records at my local youth club, in the early 1980’s, at the ripe old age of 11 or 12. Playing a selection of sounds that I deemed to be Mod – 2 Tone, The Jam, Small Faces and The Who, and as my knowledge grew, Tamla Motown, Stax, John Lee Hooker and Kent Compilations. Forward to 1985/6, Rob Bailey and I used to run local nights, using two hi-fi systems and speakers. Playing a mix of original 45’s, Kent & Charly Compilations. I think my first “big” Mod club spot was somewhere like Drummonds in 1988. But prior to that would have been one of the Hidden Traces AMSC events around Bracknell, or a lunchtime session at a CCI Rally.

03. What was your most memorable DJ spot?

There have been so many, really great experiences, and I have been honoured to DJ at so many events and clubs over the world, over the past 25 years. Each one drawing a different reaction, whether it be a basement club or a large dancehall. To pin just one down, that’s hard. But, for the euphoria, that has to be the opening set for The New Untouchables Motown Review, at Modstock 2014. Followed closely, by the round of applause I received, at Brighton 2008 at the end of my set which was at the Saturday night. I had been seriously ill and this was my “return” to the decks.

04. What so far, has been your worst DJ experience?

It’s very difficult to say really, because you make the bad become good. But there is one incident in the early 1990’s – I was playing a set and this guy comes up and complains that I’m not playing “Mod Music” … So I announce over the microphone that if this isn’t Mod music, I’m in the wrong place and sorry for wasting your time, and proceeded to play Lou Donaldson’s – Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky (From Now On). Like a smacker o’blueidy, the guy’s punch catches me unaware and he runs off.

05. Your favourite scene DJ’s and why?

There are many “scenes” under the umbrella of Mod, Soul, Blues, R&B & Jazz. My main influences come from the MOD Scene.

Pid, Alan Handscombe, David Edwards Andrew “Mace” Mason & Chris Dale, sounds lame, but they have always been there, can read a dance-floor/crowd, keep them dancing and always create the atmosphere, and bring new exciting sounds to the turntables

Ady Croasdell & Roger Banks, both I have known for many years, and again never fail to deliver the goods.Discovering those un-issued Soul Jazz & R&B tracks which become dancefloor dynamite.

Paul Molloy & Mikey Collins, two Mod stalwarts! These guys cover all angles on time, everytime.

DJ’s Soup & Bread Or Mark & Ollie, from Leicester. Young, enthusiastic and mindful. These guys are the scenes next dynamic duo. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, well they have.

There are many more DJ’s I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside and many I’ve admired from afar, each one bringing listening pleasure to my ears and tapping to my feet; Mark Ellis, Jon Godden, Neil Henderson, Mocky & Alvaro Dimples, Roberta Pompetti, Andrea Mattioni, Mark Stewart, Joe Dutton (RIP), Mik & Gav @ POW WOW, James Parker, Gav Needham, Axel, Hoss & Mark Thomas.

06. What has shaped your DJ sound and why?

I play the music I like, mainly black American sounds, Soul, Jazz & Blues. The Mod scene has gone through many musical phases* in my time so I take a little from each and mix it all up. The “job” of the DJ is to keep the floor dancing and not just play what he / she likes. *by this I mean, the popularity of one genre of sounds alone is the “fashion” ie: Soul R&B or Jazz for a length of time.

07. What was your best ever find/discovery?

If we’re talking the best 45 at the cheapest price, then there are far too many to mention. I do have some unreleased acetates, that I would file under both finds and discoveries. Some have been played out and others will hopefully have their first airings this year.

08. Who was your biggest influence musically and your favourite artist(s)?

There are two main label stables that have influenced me for 20+ years, Chess Records & Berry Gordy’s Motown Empire. Favourite artists, too many to mention, as many of the greatest tracks were one-off’s.

9. Do you collect specific labels/artists/genres?

Yes and no. I used to be a collector and felt the need for every release on various labels and of course in Mint condition, and the lesser ones for DJ’ing. But in the end I sold 60% of my collection as there were too many I couldn’t ”use”, like ballads, country, rock & roll.

10. Where can folks currently catch your DJ set?

Shiver & Shake, Manchester – 20th August 2016
Brighton New Untouchables Weekender – August 2016

11. What is the record you would most like to own?

That’ll be the record I still don’t know it exists.

Current Top 5 Tracks:

J.J. & Lilly – My Baby Done Left This Town
Jimmy Smith – Uh Ruh
Lonesome Sundown – My Home Ain’t Here
Oliver Miller & The Quinlans – Rock The Boat
Hector Rivera – Be On The Lookout

Top 10 Tracks of All Time:

Top Ten – in no particular order

The Capitols – Cool Jerk
Billy Hawks – O’Baby (I Think I’m Losing You)
Herbie Goins & The Nightimers – Crusin’
The Untamed – My Baby Is Gone
B.B. King – Think It Over
Bobby Bland – Farther On Up The Road
Dionne Warwick – Walk On By
Junior Wells – Snatch It Back, And Hold It
Jimmy Smith – Stay Loose
The Mohawks – Beat Me ‘till I’m Blue


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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July 28, 2016 By : Category : DJs Front Page Interviews UK Tags:, ,
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Strange Cages (Newbreed)

Strange Cages are based in Brighton, UK featuring band members: Charlie McConnochie (Guitarist, Singer) Elliott Loughridge (Bass player) Ellis Dickson (Drums), we caught up with them recently for a nice chat.

01. How long have you been active for and how did you get together?

Just over 2 years. I found Ellis in a ditch. His legs were sticking out. They’re far too large for any ditch.

02. What influences do the band members have in common?

We have many influences in common. Some examples are: The Cramps, T Rex, The Jesus and Mary Chain.

03. Are there any other bands you’d recommend from your area? Why?

Wax Machine are a great band of groovy freaks with good solid tunes. Skinny Milk is another band worth checking out too, they are a two-piece bass and drums combo with a great sound (they’re much better than Royal Blood).

04. How would you describe the style you play?

Noisy rock and roll for reptiles. Music that makes you want to run around in the woods downing wine, smoking and dancing until you pass out.

05. What are your live shows like?

There is a lot of sweat. We recently played Green Door Store at 2am and things got quite wild. There was a woman swinging her jumper round, then she knocked the mic over and tried to get on the stage. At first, I thought she was really enjoying the gig, but then realised she was trying to get on stage to kill me. A bouncer had to stand with her for the rest of the gig.

06. What are your main influences in music? Who do/would you play covers by? And who do you despise?

We like to occasionally play ‘Jack the Ripper’which is an old garage song, covered by a lot of artists like Screaming Lord Sutch and The Horrors. We’re inspired by The Horrors’ version mainly. There’s not a lot better than howling “Jack the Ripper” down a microphone. I don’t like boring bands who play boring music and look bored whilst playing it. What is the point? Do you not feel anything? Do you want to be the same as everyone else? It baffles me.

07. What’s your favourite song in your repertoire currently? What’s your favourite song by another artist?

In our set: I like to play ‘Ego-Killer’ because I get to make a lot of noise. It’s usually our last song and it will be out on the EP next month.
Another artist: I keep listening to Autumn’s Child by Captain Beefheart because it’s just so so right. As is the rest of the album “Safe As Milk”

08. How would you describe the current underground scene? Do you participate?

It’s great, there are loads of great things going on Brighton. We’ve recently started a new night called Strange Cages’ Deadbeat Disco. We’re getting our favourite bands to play in a tiny space and it’s all free. It’s once a month, so come down and do a little dance.

09. What has been the biggest challenge to date?

The hardships of having to work and play music. It’s a bit of a nightmare working until 4pm, travel to a different city to play a gig and then leave straight away to get to work at 8am. Of course it’s worth it though and it obviously takes a long time for anyone to make money from music – if ever.

10. What do you think of the music coverage in the media?

It’s okay. There are plenty of good sites etc. I wish there were better magazines on paper. The NME has clearly gone downhill, a good example of this is that Chris Moyles was on the front cover. I also wish people would write more honest reviews of bands rather than just throw in superlatives.

11. Do you rate any current mainstream or underground bands?

I watched Goat live at Field Day festival and it was incredible. I didn’t know what the fuck was going on but loved it. If you don’t know who they are you should go and see them live as soon as you can.

12. Who/Where would you most like to record with and why?

I’d like to record with Josh Homme in his desert studio. I think we’d quite a lot of fun if that happened. I’m also looking forward to recording at Hermitage Works Studios with producer Margo Broom again. It’s where we recorded our upcoming EP and I don’t know if there’s anywhere around that’s better.

13. What should we expect from you in the future? What are your plans and ambitions? What interesting gig dates have you got coming up?

Our first EP will be out late July/August. We’ll be doing an EP launch at our Deadbeat Disco. I can’t wait to play 1234 Fest in September with Jesus and Mary Chain and Gang of Four. We plan on recording and releasing stuff at a much better rate in the future.

Discography:
Free download – Desert (2014)
Single on Strong Island Recordings – Pony (2015)
Free download – Catharsis (2016)

Web Links:
facebook.com/strangecages/

Updated Releases and Tour Dates 2016:
6th July – Shacklewell Arms, London
17th July – The Lock Tavern, London
28 August – Sticky Mikes Frog Bar, Brighton Psych Fest


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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July 5, 2016 By : Category : Bands Beat Front Page Fuzz Garage Interviews Music Psych Scene UK Tags:, , , ,
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The Beatniks (Newbreed)

The Beatniks are based in Southend-On-Sea, Essex, UK, featuring band members: Andy (Hammond/Keys), Tony (Vox/Harmonica), Sean (Bass/Groove), Paul (Guitar/Fuzz), Heather (Drums/Beats) we caught up with them recently.

01. How long have you been active for and how did you get together?

We started with the official line-up at the beginning of 2015, with our first gig together being Valentine’s Day at The Railway Hotel for Dandy Bloom. Sean and Andy were the original members with a different drummer and singer, and once they left Heather and Paul joined shortly after. The four of us were trying out different singers for quite a while. We really wanted to find someone who not only suited the style of music we play, but was fully immersed in the scene too and then we found Tony!

02. What influences do the band members have in common?

Musically speaking, we’re all into the general mod/sixties vibe but we all have specific genres that tie in together quite well. For example, Tony is more of a 60s psych man, Andy is into his acid jazz, Sean is more classic mod/scooter, Paul loves his funk and garage and Heather loves a bit of a northern soul. This dynamic works really well, especially when it comes to writing songs. We’ve got 4 new tracks in the pipeline that are completely different from the next, but they all fit in with the ‘mod’ scene.

03. Are there any other bands you’d recommend from your area? Why?

Tuppenny Bunters are a fantastic husband and wife duo, really energetic and simply amazing to watch live. They’re also owners of our favourite local pub (and DJ residency) The Railway Hotel. Mo Fingers are a brilliant Hammond driven band (similar to us but more instrumental based). There’s so many, more though! Just off the top of our heads… The Scarletts, The Ends, Howling Black Soul and Rollin’ Machine. It goes on and on!

04. What’s the 60’s/underground scene like where you’re from?

We usually head up to London for that sort of scene (mostly for your nights Rob!) but you’ve got Almost Grown at Saks, they also do a mod weekender in May which we’ve played at twice now and the only other one would be Dandy Bloom, both usually play Northern Soul/R’n’B sort of stuff. We’re actually thinking of starting our own local night which we can DJ and play live at. Because of our eclectic interests (as mentioned previously), we’ll have a mix of genres that we reckon could get a good crowd in. It’s just a case of coming up with a name and getting a venue sorted!

05. How would you describe the style you play?

It’s a mix of all the different styles of music we like collectively. Hammond stuff, garage, soul, acid jazz, psych and even a bit of indie thrown in. We don’t sit down and think we are going to come up with a Northern Soul or an instrumental track or whatever. We just jam it out and it ends up how it ends up.

6. What are your live shows like?

They seem to be getting better and better. Now we have a few gigs under our belt and working more originals into the set list, it’s getting more exciting and fun for us and we hope that reflects onto the crowd.

07. What are your main influences in music? Who do/would you play covers by? And who do you despise?

Again, it’s the mod scene in general. We started off doing covers by bands like The Small Faces, Brian Auger, The Kinks, Shocking Blue, Terry Reid and various other bands and we are not against cover versions, but is so much more satisfying playing our own songs. Who do we despise? Bono is pretty much universally despised and with good reason, so probably him… and Coldplay too. There are many to pick from.

08. What are your main influences outside of music?

Generally speaking. it comes back to music, but if we had to pinpoint specific influences we would say the fashion that comes with that 60s era/vintage clothes and the scooter scene too.

9. Who writes your songs and what subjects do you deal with?

We are all involved in the writing process. One of us might turn up with a riff, a chord sequence or idea and we just jam it out. Tony has written pretty much all the lyrics so far, but that’s just how things have worked out. Any one of us can come up with a lyric or riff and if it sounds good, then we will use it.

10. What’s your favourite song in your repertoire currently? What’s your favourite song by another artist?

Our newer songs (Seven Suns, Soul Jive, Inspector 71) are probably more fun to play purely because they are the newest. By another artist, and it changes so very often, but we would say at the moment, ‘Dude’ by Pappy’s Haunted House or ‘If I Could Only Be Sure’ by Nolan Porter.

11. How would you describe the current underground scene? Do you participate?

We’ve noticed in the last few years there’s a younger generation trickling through the scene who seem to be influenced by the 60s Mod look and that seems to be growing. We do tend to go out as a band, whether we’re playing or just participating we try to get out to various venues within the scene.

12. What has been the biggest challenge to date?

Probably finding a singer. Since Heather and Paul joined we were rehearsing for about a year as an instrumental band, but really wanted a front man or woman. We had a few people come down to audition, but for one reason or another wasn’t right or didn’t fit. Then we met Tony through a friend of the band and he came down and it all seemed to work. Maybe it was fate as we sort of knew one another through friends of friends and we all seem to gel really well as a group and really got on. We knew he was the man almost instantly.

13. How often do you Rehearse? Play Live? Record? Anything interesting coming up?

Well, we try to get at least one rehearsal in a week, but twice a week leading up to a gig. We book our own gigs at the moment, so it’s really when we are able to sort one out. We have had a few people contacting us now though and that always helps. Coming up, we are on a compilation called Dirty Mod which is out through Well Suspect Records with a launch party at Pretty Green in Carnaby Street, we are really chuffed with that. We would like to put an EP or album out this year, but on CD and vinyl, this time as our debut was vinyl only.

14. What do you think of the music coverage in the media?

Not great in the media is it? They focus too much on what makes a lot of money instead of what actual talent is. There’s still a lot great bands about, but you have to dig a little deeper yourself. There isn’t much coverage of the stuff we like in the media, but the internet is a good source of information, as are recommendations.

15. Do you rate any current mainstream or underground bands?

Fogbound are really good. We played with them at Crossfire last year and they were excellent. Great band, great tunes and a really nice bunch of chaps too.

16. Who/Where would you most like to record with and why?

We could mention dozens of people, but I think we all agree that Steve Marriott would have been great to record with. I think we would all be in awe being in the same room as him, let alone record with him! They don’t make ‘em like that anymore sadly.

17. What should we expect from you in the future? What are your plans and ambitions? What interesting gig dates have you got coming up?

We have been coming up with quite a few new songs and ideas and recently recorded a few tracks that we are hoping to put out on an album or EP a bit later in the year. It all depends on how many songs we have got together and how quick we want to get them out. Getting signed would be amazing, but we self-financed our first single and would go that route again to get the songs out. Would love to play 100 Club or the odd gig abroad. Amsterdam or Spain would be really cool. We have Village Green, which is a pretty big festival in Southend we’re all looking forward to that. Other than that, we have a few local gigs lined up, but the Brighton Mod Weekender is the big one that we are really, really excited about. So see you there and hope you enjoy our set.

Discography:
Single: 2016 – AA 7” ‘CC (Love Surprise)/Ball & Chain’ (Self Released) – BNR001
Compilation: 2016 – ‘Dirty Mod’ (Well Suspect Records) – SUSSLP07/SUSSCD07

Weblinks:
Main Site: thebeatniks.co.uk
facebook.com/The-Beatniks
twitter.com/BeatniksBand
soundcloud.com/thebeatniksband


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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July 13, 2016 By : Category : Bands Beat Front Page Fuzz Garage Interviews Music News Scene UK Tags:, , ,
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Dr Robert – Hey! Mr DJ

This entry is part 2 of 20 in the series Hey! Mr DJ

A short profile of New Untouchables Head Honcho and globe spinning DJ Dr Robert 

1. How and when did you get into music and what were you listening to then?

Through the kids at our school and one of our teachers who used to DJ and played ‘Green Onions’ at the Christmas disco (quite sure they don’t play that anymore). Mum and Dad’s old vinyls – mainly 60’s pop and the odd Motown and Ray Charles record. We also had some great local bands in the Medway area including the Prisoners and Milkshakes.

2. Where was your first DJ slot?

Along with old pal Lee Miller at our local ‘Cool Running Scooter Club’ nights held at Ditton Community Centre. The system comprised of two old 70’s record players from our homes hooked up to two speakers.

3. What was your most memorable DJ spot?

Wow, tough one! So many great experiences in the last twenty-five years.

4. What so far, has been your worst DJ experience?

My worst experience has to be the trip to the Wilderbeat Festival in Canada. After a long travel by airplane and then a car ride from Toronto down to the lakes. An hour before I was meant to start the festival was closed down by the Police for noise problems.

5. Your favourite scene DJ’s and why?

Another tough question! So many good DJ’s on the scene that are easily identifiable for particular songs or sounds that contributed so much. Ady Croasdell as the first ten Kent albums had a profound influence on getting me interested in buying the rarer Mod club sounds. My DJ team Pid, Chris Dale, Speed and Lee Miller for so many fantastic performances over the last twenty years and also the great variety of Mod sounds. International DJ’s like Philippe Golbert, Michael Wink and Frantz who have contributed many great discoveries, I could go on and on.

6. What has shaped your DJ sound and why?

My sound has changed naturally over twenty-five years and I genuinely enjoy a wide variety of Mod and 60’s sounds which is why I’m still able to enjoy it after all this time. When I started DJing at the weekenders and London clubs it was a mix of Northern/R&B/Jazz/Ska and some British sounds. After a few years, I wanted to do something different as hardly anyone in the UK played Freakbeat and then Psychedelic and Garage music soon followed. In 2004 the NUTs Organisation started the Le Beat Bespoké LP series and the annual event. I still buy all the styles of music I love and play different choons at different venues.

7. What was your best ever find/discovery?

One that comes to mind is the Gene Latter – Holding a Dream on UK Spark which has a super blend of Soulful vocals, fuzz guitar with funky drums.

8. Who was your biggest influence musically and your favourite artist(s)?

The Beatles, as you can’t deny the consistent quality and the very same artists they themselves idolised and covered at the start of their career, ended up covering the Beatles songs a decade later.

9. Do you collect specific labels/artists/genres?

Never fallen into that trap. I’m a DJ, not a collector. I buy records with the dance floor firmly in mind. It’s become such an expensive habit now, especially if you draw records from more than a couple of genres like I do.

10. Where can folks currently catch your DJ set?

At numerous New Untouchables events and clubs like Mousetrap, Le Beat Bespoke, Brighton, Margate, Crossfire, Blues Kitchen and International weekenders and festivals. Keep an eye on the website and my facebook page.

11. What is the record you would most like to own?

Soul record: Gwen Owens – Just Say You’re Wanted (And Needed)
Groovy Record: The Pretty – Moustache in Your Face

12. Please give us a top 10 all time favourites and a current top 5 spins?

Top Ten

1. Mike Leslie – Right or Wrong

2. Caleb – Woman of Distinction

3. The Paragons – Abba

4. David Bowie & Lower Third- Can’t Help Thinking About Me

5. Rebel Rousers – As I Look

6. Eddie Jefferson – Psychedelic Sally

7. Billy Hawks – Oh Baby

8. Hold Back The Sunrise – Ron Gray

9. John Lee Hooker – Money

10. All My Loving – Prince Buster

Soulful Sounds

1. Charles Spurling – Just A Minute

2. Bo Junior – Coffee Pot Part 1

3. Vivian Reed – The Shape Of Things To Come

4. Jesse Slaughter – I Had a Dream

5. Utee – Rosa Lee Brooks

Groovy Sounds

1. The Cords – Too Late (To Kiss You Now

2. I know – Dan Nix & The Teen Sounds

3. Oedipus & The Mothers-  How It Used To Be

4. Travis Pike’s Tea Party – If I Didn’t Love You Girl

5. The Tears – Rat Race

 


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Eron Falbo - EDITOR

Brazilian polymath Eron Falbo came to London in 2009 after leaving his band ‘The Julians’ to pursue a solo career and become a cosmopolitician. Falbo began writing at the age of 11 for the school newspaper. By the age of 16 he had got his first job as a journalist. His experience in other magazines stretches from film critic to travel writer, passing through much but never leaving the culture spectrum. Apart from writing, Falbo is also an emerging singer. He was invited to record an album in one of the best studios in Nashville, Tennessee by none other than legendary producer Bob Johnston, who recorded the best material by the likes of Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, Leonard Cohen and Johnny Cash (all acclaimed writers). As of yet he’s only released one single, ‘Beat the Drums’ which was featured on Dermot O’Leary’s “Go Buy Monday” (single of the week) for BBC Radio 2, among other media. Currently, Falbo fronts the band ‘the Kyniks’ in venues in London and around the UK and can be occasionally spotted prowling the scene of the New Untouchables taking notes.

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February 14, 2017 By : Category : Articles Clubs DJs Events Front Page Interviews Music Scene UK Tags:, ,
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Jazz for Modernists 8 – Interview with Julie Tippetts and Keith Tippett (Part 1)

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series James Thomas on Jazz

Julie Tippetts and Keith Tippett have been at the forefront of improvisational British music and composition for over 45 years. Considered “one of the foremost vocalists in the field of European contemporary jazz and improvised music”, our readers will, of course, be familiar with Julie’s wonderful, soulful singing in the 1960s with Brian Auger and Steampacket. Since 1969, she has worked with Keith and many others in the fields of free jazz, poetry, improvisational music and, occasionally, soul and r ‘n’ b. Keith has led various ensembles such as Centipede, Ark, Tapestry and Mujician and collaborated with dozens of musicians across the fields of contemporary jazz, rock, improvisational and classical music since 1967. His brilliant piano playing can be heard on recordings made with, among many others, Louis Moholo, Stan Tracey, Howard Riley, John Tilbury, King Crimson, Robert Wyatt, and Shelagh Mcdonald. Julie and Keith kindly agreed to talk to Jazz for Modernists about their long musical partnership, thoughts on music-making and plans for the near future.

01: What projects are you both currently working on, separately and together?

KEITH: Plans for another CIS (Couple in Spirit) album. Masterclasses and solo performances in Australia this year. Incidentally, a new solo album has just been released, Mujician Solo IV Live in Piacenza (Dark Companion Records, 2015). Working with Pino Minafra’s Minafric at festivals in Italy…working at the Ravenna Festival as a duo and future work with the Archipelago Orchestra in Europe.

JULIE: Keith and I are planning a new “Couple in Spirit” CD. We’re performing in Italy with the duo and Pino Minafra’s Orchestra. Martin Archer and I are preparing CD number 5 and have put an ensemble together which has been invited to perform in Canada in May.

02: A couple of years ago, Julie read her poetry at the Vortex in Dalston, London, to improvised accompaniment from Keith. How do you both conceptualise the relationship between poetic sound/meaning and the piano and other instruments?

KEITH: There is a big difference between the spontaneous composition of CIS (with or without Julie’s poems) and my accompanying of Julie’s poems. In the latter, the words are the primary focus. The poems that Julie decides to use/or not with Couple in Spirit are part of the whole sound world. Actually, we have only ever done one poetry/music concert. Perhaps as it was so well-received, we should do more.

JULIE: As long as I can remember, I have written thoughts down in the form of poems or lyrics, whether fabricated imaginings or drawn from true-life experiences. Several years ago I compiled an anthology of selected poems which I began to take on stage to recite, sing or half-sing during improvisation performances. Total improvisation is completely unprepared and ‘plucked from the air’ with no preconceived structure or landmarks. A selection of my poems is treated in the same way as my various small percussion instruments. They are there to draw from, either partially or in completion, or not referred to at all. Sometimes I have a table prepared on stage and never use anything, but they are there if I hear a place for them. Many of my poems, or parts of them, seem to work well with other instruments, and Keith is a master at colouring and creating atmosphere, so there can be many such inclusions in our duet performances.

03: Poetry enjoys a long association with jazz. In Britain, for example, Michael Horowitz, Pete Brown & the New Departures crowd in the 1960s, Michael Garrick’s collaborations with Norma Winstone and John Smith and, of course, Stan Tracey’s Under Milk Wood suite, based on Dylan Thomas. Other than Julie’s work, Keith, have you ever set a poetic work to music or been inspired by a particular poem?

KEITH: The short answer is no. However, sometimes I put the music to the words (eg “Sun-the Living Son” (from Mary Wiegold’s Songbook), the last song of From Granite to Wind etc.). But more often than not, the words are sculpted to the music (for example, “The Monk watches the Eagle”, “Film Blues”, “A Song”).

04: Julie, how long have you been writing poetry? What and who are your poetic inspirations and what are your aims when writing?

JULIE: As with music, my love of poetry covers many types and styles of writing. Reading a wonderful poem can trigger off your own thought forms in streams of imaginings. Likewise, certain states of mind or moving situations or observations can start the unstoppable flow. When writing poetic forms to music, it is the music which tends to dictate what to write. It’s unexplainable really.

albums_comp

05: Can you tell me a little bit about how you both met and started making music together in the late 1960s?

KEITH: Julie came to a gig at the 100 Club, Oxford Street. She was managed by the late Georgio Gomelsky who had just signed myself and the Sextet. I, of course, was well aware of who she was, and a few days later was excited to be asked to play and write some arrangements on her 1st solo album 1969. A fantastic album, with some fantastic musicians performing on it.

JULIE: We had the same manager for a while, and he introduced us. He played me some of Keith’s recordings, and I remember thinking…”I’ve been waiting to hear music like this, without even realising it”. I was preparing pieces for the 1969 album, and it became obvious that Keith would be ideal to do some arrangements for it. Luckily, he agreed, and it became our first collaboration. I loved, and still love the outcome. That album was my first solo in my own right. The musicianship was fantastic, and I can’t really fault it to this day. It holds so many memories and opened so many musical doors.

06: Keith, you were born and raised in Bristol. What was your introduction to jazz and did the city have many modern jazz clubs or venues when you lived there?

KEITH: My introduction to jazz of any sort was Kenny Ball and his version of the Russian folk tune known to the record buyers as “Midnight in Moscow”. All the music I had heard up to that point (1962) had been western classical music and church choral music. I was studying piano, had been a chorister, was playing with the Bristol Youth Brass Band and was to go on and study the organ. However, this was pre- television (in our house) and it was the radio that delivered this wonderful music to me. I formed a ‘trad’ band with friends at school and performed traditional jazz at weddings/care homes/1 radio broadcast (BBC Bristol)/cabaret at weekends (at Talk of the Town nightclub) chaperoned by the banjo player’s dad. We were not allowed to attend pubs or jazz clubs as we were too young.

07: Julie, you came to improvisational music and freer jazz singing styles after a career as a successful rhythm and blues singer with Steampacket and Brian Auger’s Trinity. During that period, did you listen to or see much free jazz in London, perhaps Ornette Coleman or Albert Ayler?

JULIE: I was working constantly with Brian Auger for 4 years and seldom had the chance to hear other performers unless they were on the same bill as us. I remember there was a festival with Pharoah Saunders playing, which enticed us to try our set beginning with an unprepared “free” improvisation. Not sure how it worked at the time, but it was a taster of what was to be later developed on my own musical journey. As a band, we all took our favourite types of music on the road with us, and jazz was always one of the choices. My dad, being a trumpeter and band leader, who I sang with when I was 16, introduced me to many different musical forms, including jazz, Latin American and also Caribbean calypso. My mum loved Nellie Lutcher, Louis Jordan, Frank Sinatra etc, so my musical hunger was well fed from a variety of recipes. My own particular passions were Ray Charles, Tamla Motown, Oscar Brown Jr, Nina Simone and the Blues greats like Howling Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee etc, and lots of African music and Flamenco guitar.

08: Keith, your first two LPs as leader of the Keith Tippett Group were you are here…I am there, recorded in 1969 and Dedicated to You, But You Weren’t Listening, from a year or so later. Both feature the brass triumvirate of Elton Dean (alto/saxello), Marc Charig (cornet) and Nick Evans (trombone). Were these records the summation of ideas going back to 1967?

KEITH: They were not the complete spectrum of the various music we were involved in during this period. But it would be true to say that at that moment Dedicated to you was typical of what the sextet was playing at that time.” You are here was released so late after the actual recording (a problem between Giorgio and Polydor) that we were not playing that material anymore and as young musicians, we were maturing rapidly. Also, we were working with many other musicians and ensembles.

PLEASE VISIT THE WEBSITE HERE!

PART 2 coming soon…

 


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James Thomas

James Thomas was born in Bristol just the wrong side of 1970 (1971). His first encounters with the 1960s were his two-year-old elder brother’s reminiscences of the Moon Landing (since deleted by the BBC) and an afternoon in 1975 listening to the Beatles with his parents. He remembers 2-Tone and the ’79 revival, but was the one in his primary school still wearing flares until he persuaded his mum to buy him a black Harrington jacket (a stylish-enough copy by Burtons) and asked a hair stylist to make him ‘look like Suggs’. In the 1980s he became obsessed with almost every aspect of the 1960s, whether it were Star Trek, the length of George Harrison’s hair in March 1965 or the first colour TV broadcast of a cricket match (he thinks it was 1968). After being side-tracked by progressive rock (an ongoing guilty pleasure), James came to his senses in 1986 on seeing footage of Booker T and the MGs and Otis Redding on a programme celebrating the 60th anniversary of television. A flirtation with ‘indie pop’ (in the bowl-cut and anorak days) led to too much introspection, but also a new interest in the psychedelic sounds of the 1960s that seemed to go hand in glove with a liking for The Pastels and The Razorcuts. A summery afternoon in the jazz tent at Bristol’s annual (and long gone) Ashton Court Festival in 1989 opened his mind to the sounds of Lee Morgan, Horace Silver, Art Blakey and most forms of modern jazz. In 1990, James attended his first proper 60s club night, the revered Kaleidoscope Pop! in Leeds. On his return from the North in 1992, he developed a new commitment to Mod culture. He recalls early Untouchables Brighton New Year rallies and in 1994 moved to London. A real education for him (in so many ways...) was a period in Barcelona (1997-2002) where he helped out with the Magic in the Air club for a year or two and where his IQ was permanently reduced by a record dealer who made him clean vinyl for four weeks in a windowless room. After a decade or so in the West Country, he is now living again in London, where he plans to write about jazz, meet like-minded people and study the history of the cravat.

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July 9, 2016 By : Category : Bands Front Page Interviews ModJazz Music UK Tags:, , , , ,
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Rat Race Interview

I caught up with Laurence the owner of Margate’s premiere Mod clothing shop Rat Race for a chat about his passion for fashion.

1. When and how did your passion for fashion come about?

As a young man growing up in Thanet, I experimented with many different styles of clothing. As I got older, I got more into stylish clothes but also wanted to wear something other than what could be found in regular department stores. I was fully aware of Margates’ role in harbouring the youth subcultures and styles from the 1960’s to 80’s and I loved looking at old photos of my father and his friends wearing their crombies, boots & braces.

2. When did you turn your passion into your profession?

I accompanied a friend to a trade show in London and spotted some classic Harrington jackets with an embroidered badge ‘Keep the Faith Margate’ on the sleeve. I thought the people of Margate would love them, the jackets were well made and in the original 60’s style. I opened my first fashion store in Margate in 2010 with the classic Harrington jackets, sta-prest trousers and traditional button-down shirts amongst other styles. This is where my passion for Mod and classic styles developed. I did not see the Mod trend as a sub-culture revival; I knew the style had never really gone away.

3. When and where did Rat Race first open?

During the Spring/Summer of 2014 and after experimenting with opening other stores in the South East I decided my passion for Modernist menswear was much better suited to Margate. I joined our two high street shops together internally, re-named and re-branded the stores to open as Rat Race and solely as a classic British clothier. Towards the end of 2015 my partner Bonnie and I expanded further, occupying our third neighbouring shop, which became Rat Race Girl, a store which stocks Mod, Skinhead, Rockabilly and Vintage girl styles .

4. Rat Race is a very popular amongst the Modernist fraternity, please tell us more about the clothing range available in the shop?

We’re a 21st century take on the 20th century’s finest subcultures, Mixing up mod clothing, skinhead style, a touch on the fifties and then adding a contemporary twist. We are official stockists of Merc, Art Gallery, Knightsbridge Neckwear, Brutus Trimfit, Trojan Clothing, Dr.Martens, Delicious Junction, Ikon Originals and many more. Rat Race also stock many other iconic brands, plus Rat Race Girl holds collections from Freddies of Pinewood, Collectif, Lindy Bop and Dolly & Dotty.

5. Are all the items sold in the shop available online?

We opened our online shop only at the beginning of 2016, a lot of our core items are available on our website. We’re growing our website all the time and new collections are added regularly. We always like to hold a few pieces back just for the shop-floor and for our not so web connected customers, so you’ll always find something which isn’t available online – I believe you still can’t beat that moment of stopping into the street to gaze at something in the window.

6. Any famous clientele dropped by the shop?

We’ve had a few well-known customers shop at Rat Race including Neville Staple, Dave Barker & Buster Bloodvessel. Our most recent being Paloma Faith, Preston and surprisingly enough the chatty man himself Alan Carr.

7. Any plans for a Rat Race clothing range in the future?

We have lots of plans and ideas we’re working towards. Our next project will be working in partnership with the 60’s Suit Co. to develop an off-the-peg range of suits designed exclusively for Rat Race. We work closely with the 60s Suit Co. and we would both be involved in the design process to create and release a range of suits, tailor-made for the Margate mods & skins. We are also going to be doing four types of trousers, all in different fabrics, and something to appeal to the Mods, Skinheads and Suedeheads.

8. Do Rat Race cover men and women’s fashion?

We certainly do, we have three high street shops conjoined to make one large shop. Within Rat Race you’ll find ‘Rat Race Girl’ which is our latest addition. It’s great to have a space solely for the girls but also where men and women can shop together.

9. How important to the Rat Race philosophy is it to have local people who know their onions about Modernist fashion working in the shop?

It’s very important to have knowledgeable staff, our Rat Race team certainly know their onions and they also have the same passion and enthusiasm as myself for what we do. I also think it’s important that our staff share the same vision and drive for Rat Race and help create something unique that will stand the test of time.

10. Why do you think the sixties style is still revered, respected and revisited with each new generation?

People from every new generation want to look good and find a style that suits them. When you look good, you feel good, it gives you confidence and young people look at the sixties style and see that un-apologetic swagger. They want to emulate that feeling, they want to know that they look good enough to stand out from the crowd. There is nothing better than Modernist fashion for a clean-cut style and sharpness.

11. What are your favorite vintage and modern fashion brands?

That’s not too easy to answer, there are many brands that I’m into. I love the stories behind the brands and how they have become popular, for example: Brutus Trimfits’ story of Keith Freedman’s visit to Hong Kong’s in 66’ to discover a shop selling half sleeve button-downs shirts for off-duty American soldiers. The shirts were not available in the UK and so with a few adaptations he ordered them in 12 different colours and to this day they still fly off the rails! There are many stories like this and it’s all part of the history of the brands we sell and love.

12. Where do you see Rat Race heading in the future and any exciting projects coming up you want to tell us about?

We hope to continue as we are doing, finding new brands to offer our customers and building up our online shop. We have a meeting with Gabicci this month and hope to become a Gabicci stockist before the coming Margate Mod and Sixties Festival. You can also find us at Folkestone Skabour in September, this will be our sixth trade event for Skabour. It’s a great Ska weekend where we meet many customers and friends, both old and new. Check our website or pop in to see us if you get a chance.

13. With the Mod/Sixties festival coming up at Whitsun where can we find you in Margate and what are the opening hours?

You can find Rat Race and Rat Race Girl at the lower end of Margate High Street, just up from the piazza and harbour. We’re open 7 days a week until 5.30pm and 5pm on Sundays. but check the links below and our website!

Now in-store & online at www.ratracemargate.co.uk // Spring/Summer 2016 Collections from Merc, Art Gallery, Brutus & Trojan Clothing.

Classic British mens & women’s wear.
Open 7 days a weekly 10-5.30 (10-5 Sundays)

Main Site:  ratracemargate.co.uk

Social Networks:

facebook.com/ratracemargate
twitter.com/ratracemargate
instagram.com/ratracemargate
pintrest.com/ratracemargate


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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May 4, 2016 By : Category : Fashion Front Page Interviews News Style UK Tags:, , ,
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UK Tamla Motown singles Part 2: Stateside

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Collectors Corner 2

“In my lonely room – UK Tamla Motown singles Part 2: Stateside”

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After beginning to make bigger leaps into the UK record buying markets in 1963, the Tamla / Motown / Gordy group found themselves under the umbrella of the EMI subsidiary label, Stateside in October of the same year. Stateside was formed in mid 1962 by EMI to release singles under licence from American labels such as Swan, Wand and Vee-Jay in a similar style to Decca records very successful London American imprint. Licensing tracks from many independent USA labels ensured Stateside released a whole slew of great current rhythm’n’blues and soul releases, and the label soon endeared itself to mods and soul fans on this side of the Atlantic. As well as having hits with Freddy Cannon and Gene Pitney, early releases included such stellar names as The Isley Brothers, Jimmy Reed, Chuck Jackson and The Shirelles. When Oriole’s UK contract with Motown ran out the previous month the new distributor launched its first release on Stateside on 11th October 1963 with Martha and the Vandellas all time classic “Heatwave” (SS228). When sales were quite brisk, the label then released three more singles the following month by Little Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells and Marvin Gaye’s fantastic “Can I get a witness” (SS243).

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By January 1964 Motown was causing quite a stir on these shores, being regularly name checked by the UK’s biggest pop combo, The Beatles, who took Mary Wells on tour with them and mentioning Motown artists numerous times in interviews. Add to this the burgeoning underground mod and soul club scene which was hungry for the dance floor friendly sounds coming out of Detroit and it wouldn’t be long before Stateside had a bona-fide hit single on their hands. Between January and April 1964, no less than twelve 45’s were released in the UK, including tracks by The Miracles, The Marvelettes and debut UK releases from The Temptations, “The way you do the things you do” (SS278), and the group that would soon hit the top spot, The Supremes “When the lovelight starts shining thru his eyes (SS257). On May 8th 1964 Stateside released a hook laden single written by Smokey Robinson, and it was sung by Motown’s number one lady of the time, Mary Wells, “My Guy” (SS288). Two weeks later, on the 21st May 1964, “My guy” entered the UK charts at number 37, finally hitting the heady heights of number 5 the following month. Berry Gordy’s company had now scored their first of many big hit singles in Britain.

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Between May ’64 and March 1965 Stateside issued a further 30 singles, including debuts from The Velvelettes, Earl Van Dyke, Four Tops and Kim Weston. Most of these were steady sellers, with titles by Marvin Gaye, Martha and the Vandellas, Mary Wells and The Temptations all scoring top fifty placings. On 28th August, and eight months after their initial flop, The Supremes “Where did our love go” (SS327) was released to an impressed public, who bought the single in droves, sending it number three in the chart. Less than two months later, and capitalising on the nation’s newfound love with the sounds from Motor City, “Baby love” (SS350) was released and hit the top spot soon after, with the group actually having two songs in the top ten at the same time for one week in October! Unfortunately not all releases were massive hits and some are now hard to find. These always sell for good prices when they appear on the market, especially in mint condition. Martha & The Vandellas “In my lonely room” (SS305), Brenda Holloway “Every little bit hurts” (SS307), The Tempations “Why you wanna make me blue” (SS348), Earl Van Dyke “Soul stomp” (SS357), Kim Weston “A little more love” (SS359), Four Tops “Without the one you love” (SS371), Carolyn Crawford “When someone’s good to you” (SS384) and Tony Martin “Talkin’ to your picture” (SS394) are probably the hardest to find, especially the last two. Also coming with a ridiculous price tag, all the Stateside EMI singles were sent to pluggers and radio DJ’s as red and white label demonstration discs and all are extremely collectable, and valuable too!

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EMI was also loved to release EP’s and hundreds of them were released across their labels from the early ’50’s to the late ’60’s. After no EP releases on Fontana or Oriole, Stateside bit the bullet and released no less than five of them in the time they were licensing material. Little Stevie Wonder was afforded the only single artist EP, “I call it pretty music but old people call it the blues” (SE1014) which is ridiculously hard to find. There were also four editions of a cracking new EP series, concentrating on material otherwise unavailable in the UK on 45, “R & B Chartmakers”. The series featured some great tracks, including two stellar previously USA only releases from Eddie Holland, “Just ain’t enough love” and “Leaving here”, all came in amazing picture sleeves too. Although steady sellers they’re hard to find in great condition nowadays, expect to pay between £50-£100 for each of them. By March 1965 the label was as big, if not bigger than Atlantic over here in the UK so it came as no surprise that, with a little help from super fan Dave Godin, Berry Gordy signed an exclusive deal with EMI to set up a brand new record company in Britain, Tamla Motown records. On 19th March 1965, clad in an iconic orange and white company sleeve, record stores took release of a new disc, TMG 501, “Stop! in the name of love” by The Supremes and the rest, as they say, is history.


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James Clark

Loves collecting records. My main loves are 50's rock'n'roll, 60's soul and r'n'b, beat, mod and psych and hopefully will be sharing some nuggets with you over the next few months. Apart from being a vinyl junkie I'm a Arsenal obsessive and a hopelessly romantic drunkard, but don't let put you off, we all have our faults.

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May 4, 2016 By : Category : Articles Club Soul Front Page Music Picks Reviews UK USA Tags:, , , ,
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Margate Tips & Treasures

“…the skies over Thanet are the loveliest in all Europe.” – JMW Turner… bit of a painter he was. One of Margates’ claims to fame for sure, over a hundred of his paintings were of Margate and the surrounding area, and especially of those skies, sunsets as beautiful as the Northern lights, they certainly take your breath away. The building of the Turner Contemporary art gallery and it’s opening in 2011 , saw the beginning of Margates rejuvenation, and is right opposite the venues for The Mod and 60’s weekend in the heart of the old town, yards away from where Turner lived and worked.

The Turner Contemporary was the catalyst to a number of new businesses for sure, mainly based around the old town but gradually spreading out, wonderful cafes, restaurants, art galleries, vintage clothes shops galore, quaint and quirky shops… we’ve got new indoor markets , record shops and my personal fave, micro-pubs and breweries a plenty, I can’t even keep up with them.

The main thing is, there’s a buzz about the town. Eight years ago I hated the place so much that I left, seemingly for good. I was glad to see the back of the crumbling, run down wreck of a seaside town. When it came to moving back, two and a half years ago, it was with fear and trepidation. Those worries were soon put aside, I’ve fallen in love with the place all over again, so much to do now. Great club nights and music of all styles, and I am lucky enough to be a small part of it, regularly Dj’ing at three different nights at The Black Cat Club, in the heart of the old town, which back in the sixties was called The Dugout. Owned today by Eli, as is The Westcoast which is soon to be renamed Olbys Soul Cafe and one of the venues for the weekend’s fun, Eli was one of the visionaries that could see what the town has to offer, and a lover of fine soul, Ska, reggae and Latin, a damned fine musician too.

So what of the Sixties and in particular the mod scene around here? Margate of course is famous or infamous for its Bank Holiday run ins between the mods and rockers. Newspaper headlines of the times include ‘Wild ones beat up Margate!’, ‘Charge of the mods at Margate!’ amongst others. There’s normally a good exhibition of these events in the town’s museum in the centre of the old town. Troubles rose again with the mod revival of the late seventies and early eighties, this time Margate seeing fights with mods and skinheads, not just at bank holidays, but at many other weekends. The seafront arcade area was seen as skinhead territory. The Continental Cafe in Cliftonville along with The London Tavern pub in town were the biker hangouts. You really took your life in your hands riding past these places on your scooter, oh I’ve got some stories about these times… another time maybe.

Back to the sixties. The Mods didn’t just visit the town, some were already here, forming bands and playing at different venues, one of which were a local R&B outfit, called The Lower Third. They’d been playing a while before being joined for a short time by a young Mr Davy Jones (David Bowie of course). They played together at The Lower Third’s residency at The Cliftonville Hall. The Beatles played for a week at The Winter Gardens. The Who played at Dreamland as did many more big names. Talking of Dreamland, it’s open again, and it’s now retro central. With guidance from Wayne Hemingway, a lot of money has been spent – a matter of opinion as to whether it’s all been in the right places, but check it out and its future plans which are exciting let alone interesting to those of a retro mind. It could be a big help to the rising of Margate’s fortunes if run correctly. Check out this video on YouTube, made before Dreamland reopened, which talks about Margate’s past and the vision for the future: Watch Here.

There have been a lot of articles recently in the mainstream press, headlines like ‘How Margate Became The New Hipster’s Paradise’, which have included lines like ‘Welcome to sunny Margate’. Once emblematic of the sad decline of the English seaside resort, the Kent town is now being talked of as a sandy ‘Shoreditch-on-Sea’ this is true…ish, and we have seen an influx, as I’ve said before, of some great little businesses, some of which are very strange to us locals, but at the end of the day, all welcome!

It’s a bit worrying about the increase in rents and property prices though, so get in quick. This can be said for hotel rooms too, a severe lack of these, so book early.

Other things to see… if you fancy something trippy, check out one of Margate’s enduring mysteries, the Shell Grotto, which was discovered in 1835 and is decorated with around 4.6m shells, spooky caves, 70 feet of passageways, before arriving at a chamber featuring a 2000sq ft mosaic. Why it’s there is a mystery, a cult headquarters, a pagan temple or just a folly. Tudor houses, the second oldest working Theatre in the country, loads of other amazing buildings, aforementioned galleries, all the shops in Margate and Cliftonville too, (where you’ll find Northdown road, with TASS for all things Lambretta and Vespa), second-hand shops galore.

Don’t forget the wonderful beaches and views, a lot of which you’ll see if you’re bringing your scooter, as on the Sunday there will be a rideout around the island (yes we still call Thanet an island) around the cliff tops and bays through Victorian Broadstairs and Royal Ramsgate Harbour. Those that took part last year loved it, a big thanks to the local scooter club South Coast Pirates for their help.

Yes, there are still some rough bits here and there , still a lot needs to be done , money still needs to be spent , but I feel it’s an exciting time to be here, and to come and visit.


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Richard Llewellyn

Previously known as Dickie, old frequenter of all things Nuts , Mod and Sixties scene , International jet setter retired. Vinyl/music lover , Red wine , Ale and good food enthusiast, Artist and Dj , These days living a slightly quieter existence on the Kent coast, where i'm enjoying life with my lovely wife Jo, but still spinning the vinyl at three regular club nights in Margate's old town at The Black Cat Club . Check out my website link for more info.

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April 20, 2016 By : Category : Front Page Reviews UK Tags:, , , ,
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Hey Mr DJ – Callum Simpson

This entry is part 19 of 19 in the series Hey! Mr DJ 3

1. How and when did you get into music and what were you listening to then?

I got into the mod/scooter scene at 15 years old. I bought my first scooter, a Vespa 50cc Special and joined a scooter club called High Moderation. My older brother and cousins were into the mod scene which influenced me massively. I started to take more of an interest and hang around with some Mods who were a year above me at school. Once into the fashion it was only a matter of time before I discovered the music. I started listening to bands such as Paul Weller, The Jam, Small Faces and The Who. My brother had a big part to play in my musical taste progressing, as he was listening to bands like The Specials, Madness and was listening to lots of soul and Motown compilations. At 16 I was able to start going to clubs like Brighton Beach, local soul nights and the occasional scooter rally. I was hearing records like Mel Torme – Coming Home, Sandi Sheldon – Gonna make me love you and Sam Dees – Lonely for my baby. As you can imagine I was blown away by which made me to start delving a little deeper into the music and vinyl records. I bought my first record from Boogaloo Records in Leicester when I was 17 for £6 and it was Ray Charles – Go on home.

2. Where was your first DJ slot?

My First DJ set was in Birmingham at a night organised by Pid. By now I was hooked and lived for the weekends by travelling up and down the country regularly attending mod/soul nights. Through attending nights on a regular basis Pid asked me to DJ along with a couple of close mates Soggy and Gibbo. I was so nervous but managed to get people dancing so it went relatively well. Records I was playing at this point were tunes like JJ Jackson – O Ma Liddi, Artisitcs – Hope We Have and Joe Tex – You Better Believe it Baby, all great tunes!

3. What was your most memorable DJ spot?

My most memorable DJ set has to be in Barcelona at the Boiler Club. The city is amazing enough but the Boiler Club is how clubs should be, exciting, vibrant and a full on party from start to finish. I have so many great memories of this club!

4. What so far, has been your worst DJ experience?

If ever you get asked to DJ at a wedding Don’t Do It! I was asked off the back of running a club called ‘Shoutin the Blues’. One of the bar men liked the music and asked me to play at his wedding. At the time I was about 18 or 19 and thought that I could make a few quid. I made it clear that I only had Soul, Mod, R&B, Latin records and that he wouldn’t be getting the usual type wedding DJ. The groom was adamant that he wanted something a bit different and that his guests would enjoy the music. I agreed to do it and for a price of £150, which I thought wasn’t bad for a few hours work! How wrong could I have been!

To cut a long story short only 1 person danced throughout the whole night and that was towards the end of the night… funnily enough it was probably the rarest record I played all night ‘Billy Hawkes – Oh Baby’.

5. Your favourite scene DJ’s and why?

Mik Parry – Forward thinking, has a great ear and is very knowledgeable! Check out his Youtube channel ‘Pow Wow Mik’. The second is Mr Karl Heard, he is what I call a proper DJ! This man has the ability to create an atmosphere like no other. Hopefully I’ll get to see Karl DJ again soon, I hear he is back and still unearthing new tunes!

Gav Arno – he’s a dark horse! Gav has a passion for unearthing quality unknown records like no other, he finds tomorrow’s big records today!

6. What has shaped your DJ sound and why?

The three DJ’s I have mentioned in question 5 have helped me shape my taste, especially Karl Heard, over the last few years. Another is by regularly attending club nights and hearing DJ’s spinning new (to me) interesting records. The thing I love about Mod nights is you get such a varied taste of music from Soul right through to Jazz. The internet is also a great way to hear new records and other DJ’s from around the world. Shows such as Jester Wild and YouTube channels are a great way to hear new stuff. Over the years I have collected all sorts but now I am much more selective about what records I buy.

7. What was your best ever find/discovery?

My best discoveries are records I have recently posted on YouTube, Lil Archie & the Majestics, Leave my Girl Alone & Victor Lane – There’s something about you. A few copies have turned up since but they are both extremely rare records!

8. Who was your biggest influence musically and your favourite artist(s)?

I honestly don’t have a favourite artist, I love Marvin Gaye but not sure I could call him my favourite. I would relate this back again to question 5 and say that in my time as a resident at The Pow Wow Club, Mik and Gav were massive influences over me musically. The stuff these guys were playing was unreal! Imagine being 19/20 and hearing The Jokers, Jonathan Capree, The Fads, Young Jessie etc. Both well ahead of their time and two great DJ’s.

9. Do you collect specific labels/artists/genres?

Not in the slightest, if it’s good and I like it I’ll buy it!

10. Where can folks currently catch your DJ set?

I am a resident at the Pow Wow Club in Sheffield and I’ve recently joined the NUTS DJ team.

11. What is the record you would most like to own?

Another tough one, it would have to be either Eddie Parker, I’m Gone on Awake or The Hopkins Bros, Shake Cherri on Magnetik. I first heard Eddie Parker in Sweden at the Soulastic All-nighter when Ginger Taylor was playing. When the first few notes came in the reaction and atmosphere was something that I will never forget. I first heard Andy Dyson play The Hopkins Bros at Lifeline a few years back and again the place went crazy. Only a handful of DJ’s had it at the time (Dyson, Butch, Ian Wright, Mick H etc. Again the place went mental and the dancefloor was rammed!

Unfortunately both are well out of my price range and probably always will be, I’m hoping I’ll get lucky and find a copy in a charity shop or record fair. The chances of this happening are doubtful but never say never where records are concerned.

12. Please give us a top 10 all time favourite’s and a current top 5 spins?

Top Ten Favourites:
1. Eddie Parker – I’m gone
2. Hopkins Bros – Shake Cherri
3. Jonathan Capree – I’m gonna build me a mountain
4. Mel Williams – Groove my mind
5. Ray Agee – I’m losing again
6. Billy Hawkes – Oh baby
7. Volumes – I ain’t gonna give you up
8. Otis Lee – Hard Row to Hoe
9. Gene Toones – What more do you want
10. Tobi Lark – Sweep it out in the shed

Top Five Spins:
1. Pat Lewis – No One to Love
2. Wayne Champion – Don’t Panic Baby
3. King Carl – Everybody’s feeling good
4. Jokers – Soul Sound
5. Sal Davis – Makini


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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May 4, 2016 By : Category : DJs Front Page Interviews Music Scene UK Tags:, , , , , ,
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Little Barrie

Little Barrie are a trio originally formed in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England, who since relocated to London. Their sound is a mixture of Garage Rock, Rhythm & Blues, Surf and Psychedelia. The trio is behind the opening theme to ‘Better Call Saul’. Fronted by vocalist/guitarist Barrie Cadogan who has been a touring member of Primal Scream since 2006 and has also worked with artists such as Anton Newcombe, Spiritualized, Paul Weller, Pete Molinari and Scott Asheton. Drummer Virgil Howe is the son of Yes guitarist Steve Howe.

We very much look forwards to seeing them at Le Beat Bespoke 11 on the Saturday night! Darius Drewe caught up with them recently.

Over the last ten years, we have definitely seen a resurgence of musicians with similar inclinations, from Jim Jones’ numerous bands to the Stone Foundation, Cat Black (featuring your ex drummer Billy Skinner) Lynne Jackaman/Saint Jude, Miraculous Mule, Marcus Bonfanti and Vintage Trouble (USA). It seems like a “vintage rock” explosion. But do you see it as a scene? Or is it merely a simple case of several individual bands happening to be in similar places at similar times?

I don’t think some of the bands you mentioned have much in common musically. In cities there are always people making all different kinds of music at any given time. There’s also been an interest in rawer, stripped down forms of rock music for many years. There are bands and musicians that we have a camaraderie with like Jim Jones and Gil De Ray, either through gigging and working together or just liking each others music and having in interest in similar music, but I don’t see it as a scene.

How important is it to have clubs such as Blues Kitchen, What’s Cookin’, Heavy Load and of course our very own NUTs been to establishing it and encouraging musicians and music lovers to combine? And, conversely, now that venues all over the capital seem to be closing every day, how do you think it will be affected? Is there ANYTHING that you think should be done to prevent this wanton destruction?

Music venues, bars and clubs are hugely important to any cities music culture. Some new venues have appeared, but there are so many we’ve played over the years that are now sadly gone. Places where we also saw great gigs, heard new music and met people who have been important to our lives in many ways. These places should definitely be preserved for future generations. The social and cultural cleansing going on in London right now seems to be purely in the name of profit. The people at the top simply don’t care about places of artistic importance or encouraging creativity in the artists of the future. Central London is becoming more bland and boring each year. London could end up just being a giant dull shopping centre no one wants to hang out in, with only Disneyfied versions of its old cultural haunts aimed at the tourist market. The power of change lies with the money men, but I don’t think they give a shit.

On saying that though, the public shouldn’t be underestimated. People will still want to play and listen to music, go out and have a good time, you won’t stop that. Maybe folk will get more guerilla about things and get creative. It’s also easier for people to communicate now through technology and get their heads together.

Lewis: – I feel the  scene / atmosphere in London since I moved here in the early nineties has changed massively. I moved to London excited about music old and new, there were so many outlets for me to DJ music I had already collected and find out about and hear new things I was yet to discover. I genuinely felt I was in the middle of something really vibrant. I used to go to clubs and if I heard a song that was good but unknown people would react positively and now new things seem to clear the dance floor unless they have been on a major advert or radio campaign of some kind. I feel now that there is very little outlet for a scene to develop. Nothing is hidden or underground these days it seems so it doesn’t seem exotic or special. There are a very few venues such as the Blues kitchen that keep what I remember as a night dedicated to a certain quality of music rather than chasing the pound and playing it safe.

As a vocalist and guitarist, who would you say influenced you (Barrie) the most? I can hear traces of everyone from Steve Marriott and Robert Plant to Van Morrison, John Lennon, Dave Berry and even Duffy Power in there: I can even pick up a few traces of Brian Setzer and Gene Vincent!! However, all these could just as easily be accidental…

I’ve had so many influences over the years. As a vocalist I’m pretty limited but I was first drawn to more rhythmical singers like Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan and Lee Dorsey. I do love vocalists like Steve Marriott and Van Morrison but they’re leagues above me. As are all of my favourite singers like Sly and Rose Stone, Iggy Pop, Roky Erickson, Tina Turner, Gene Clark and the mighty Howlin’ Wolf to name a but a few.

My sisters record collection in the late ’80s was a huge influence on me guitar wise. My first big influence was John Squire, followed shortly by Johnny Marr, J Mascis, Jimi Hendrix (from my dad’s records), Ray Hanson from Jim Jones’ band Thee Hypnotics. From there everything opened up and over time keeps going. I’ll keep this short but I love Steve Cropper, Hubert Sumlin, Jimmy Nolen, Magic Sam, Neil Young, Michael Karoli, Ron Asheton, James Williamson, Tom Verlaine & Richard Lloyd, Stacey Sutherland, Danny Kirwan, Steve Jones, Link Wray, Wayne Kramer & Sonic Smith, Cliff Gallup… Better stop!

Though the band’s name is taken from your frontman, the sound is very much the combined work of three people. Do you think listeners sometimes have difficulty remembering that, and tend to not give Lewis and Virgil enough credit for what they bring to the table?

I can’t speak for other people but I think Lewis and Virgil’s presence on Little Barrie recordings and onstage is incredibly powerful. People definitely pick up on that at our live shows. Although the guitar can be upfront in our music and the sound has evolved over the years, it’s always been very rhythmical and beat driven. So much of that comes from the bass and drums. They have their own sound and groove. I do write alone a lot but it’s only when the three of us play together do the songs become what they should be. They’re brilliant musicians.

Has having a drummer with a world-famous father also been in any way advantageous to you, or might it be actually something you perceive as a bit of a millstone? Or do you reckon many people aren’t that aware of it anyway, and simply judge your music on its own merits?

Over to you Virgil: Virgil declined to answer!

Although you’re a contemporary band, your sound is undoubtedly rooted in the classic period of soul, blues and rock 1965-75: a song like Precious Pressure, for instance, sounds like it could easily have been lifted from an album of that period. When recording and playing, therefore, is there any particular guitar amplification, drum kit, bass cab, vocal mike, strings or even choice of instrument you would consider essential to achieving this sound?

We do like a lot of music from that era but we’ve never been on a mission just to replicate old records, we’re not purists. We just want to make music that sounds exciting to us and captures the feel we’re after. The aim is to find sounds we like and try to use them in our own way. Although I love a lot of old guitars and amps for their tone and character, they’re not essential. The key to capturing certain sounds in the studio or onstage has a huge amount to do with how the sounds are being recorded and who’s playing the instrument. To find engineers who understand the difference isn’t always easy. Two people I think are fantastic are Mike Burnham at Lovebuzz Studios in Bermondsey and Seb Lewsley who has worked with Edwyn Collins for many years. They know how to get great sounds. A lot of modern recordings involve over clinical by the book techniques which can kill the soul out of any performance. And for some reason some people nowadays seem reluctant to break those rules. Twelve high spec modern microphones on a drum kit and into a state of the art digital mixing desk won’t help you get a filthy sound like The Sonics. You’re better off with a cassette 4-Track or recording the band in one go on your phone and adding the vocal after.

How important is the bands image and how you present yourselves?

Image is important to us in our own ways. We all look different from each other and dress a little different too. I’m not really a flash dresser, but I do really like clothes and it’s always been important to me. I love old denim, vintage sweatshirts, military and motorcycle leathers and simple slim cut smarter jackets etc. and 60’s style boots. I wear a lot of ladies shirts.

Lewis: I have very little interest in following current trends unless something vibrant and vital has cropped up, most of it is the same old crap being regurgitated or some random baseless idea invented by people desperate to keep their job at a fashion / music mag. A lot of classic styles that I’m personally interested in are because they are things that have been generated by and represent attitude toward how you personally choose to live your life.

As a guitarist, you, Barrie, have played with some of music’s most legendarily “awkward” frontmen, such as Morrissey, Bobby Gillespie and Anton Newcombe, while the entire band has backed Paul Weller (also perceived as being slightly ‘difficult’ on occasion) Are these people the enfants terribles that their legends would suggest, or is it mainly press speculation and exaggeration?

I can only speak from my own experience. These people have all been cool
with me.

One of the biggest influences all three members share is obviously the blues, and a few years ago, two of you got to “live the dream”, as it were, when you went to New York to play for Hubert Sumlin. Tell us a little about that experience.

We opened for Hubert at a gig in 2005. We first met him the year before when we were both on the same US label for a few years. We’d asked if there was any chance of meeting him but didn’t expect anything. So we were in New York for the first time on a promo ‘meet and greet’ trip and had to do this awkward lunchtime showcase gig in the label office in front of the staff (about 15 of them) playing through little amps. We were just setting up and Hubert walks in and sits down right in front of us. I was half over the moon and half shitting myself because now we had to play in front of him. It seemed to go ok although it was nerve-wracking as hell, he was the guitar on Killing Floor! Hubert was a lovely guy, very kind mannered and charismatic. He spent quite a lot of time chatting and took a few pictures with us. He was very encouraging. The following year we were recording in Brooklyn with Russell Simins playing drums. The label had brought him to the studio with the idea of us doing a song together but we never got chance to get stuck into anything. But a week or so later we got a gig opening for him in Manhattan. Towards the end of his set he called me up onstage to play Got My Mojo Working with him. I couldn’t believe it was happening. It was one of the best moments of my life, a true privilege. We hung out and talked with him longer that night. He told us some amazing stories, about him getting his first guitar, him leaving Wolf’s band for a short while to play with Muddy Waters and also that he thought his brother was a better guitar player than he was. It means even more now he’s no longer with us. We were all grateful to have met him.

We couldn’t go much further without discussing your highest-profile recording to date, the theme to the hit US TV show Better Call Saul. How did this come about?

We were approached by Thomas the music director for the series. He was into the band and had all of our albums, which was bizarre to us as he was based in LA and we hadn’t played there much at all. He asked if I could write 17 variations of a short guitar piece for the main title theme of the show and get them recorded in three days. I scrapped all other plans, got them done and we recorded and mixed them on day three and sent them off to him that evening. A few days later he got back to us and asked for 12 more variations, so we did the same thing. Other people were pitching for it too. A few weeks later we found out they’d chosen our theme, which was really cool. It was nice surprise – I’d never even seen
Breaking Bad.

Your new album has seen you experimenting with Krautrock influences- is this something you’ve always been a fan of?

Yes I first discovered Can in the early/mid 1990’s. I’d read somewhere that their sound may have influenced band like the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays who inspired me a great deal. I went out to Selectadisc and bought the Ege Bamyasi album – It totally blew me away. It sounded so modern still and it was from 1972 or something. It was mesmerising, they had a fairly regular rock band set up – guitar, bass, drums & keys but played nothing like British or American rock n roll or R&B. The core of it being that amazing hypnotic rhythm of Jaki Leibezeit’s drums. I got to play with Damo Suzuki a few years back in Paris with a few friends of mine. It was great. He’s an amazing guy, he had some stories too. About his adventures traveling the world solo in the late ’60s. He came to see us when we played in Cologne and took us a Russian bar after the show. A gentleman, a hero and a great host.

You’re already onto your fourth album, in what seems like a short space of time, and each has been a progression from the last, suggesting immense longevity for the future. But where do you see Little Barrie in two decades? Will you still be touring and recording?

To be honest I think we make albums fairly slowly, but some of that can be down to other commitments and financial constraints. We’re writing a new album right now. Little Barrie in two decades??! Who knows… It would be cool if we still played together though. I want to play for as long as I can.

I’m actually doing what you did in reverse in a few months, and decamping from the South to the East Midlands. How would you describe the music scene up there, and are there any clubs or venues you’d particularly recommend, particularly with regard to psych, garage, freakbeat, prog or vintage rock?

I’m probably the worst person to ask Darius… I’ve been in London for 15 years now and am very out of touch with what’s happening in Nottingham these days. I don’t get to go back very often and when I do it’s all about seeing family and a few old friends if I can. But I’ll try to ask a few people and get back to you if they have any ideas. Quite a few of my old friends are music fans and big record collectors. There’s some good record shops there – Look up Rob’s Records and Big Apple for second-hand stuff. There’s also a Rough Trade and probably others too. They could be good places to meet people.


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Darius Drewe

Darius Drewe was born in East London in 1974. As a small child, both parents inflicted their musical tastes, from The Beatles and The Moody Blues to Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis, on him, and he was never the same again. Despite being born and bred a 'Cockney tosser', Drewe actually spent his teenage years in and around Birmingham, attending his first 60s/50s-themed nights there at The Ship Ashore, before "coming home" in 1993 to the South, where, with the exception of three years spent in Glasgow between 2007-2010, he has remianed ever since. In the almost two decades that have passed he has trod a strange meandering path from a shy 60s/70s-obsessed teen with no 'scene' to speak of to a Metalhead, sleaze-glammie, Goth, indie kid, glam-punker, garage-rocker, eventual Mod and psych freak (first attending Mousetrap in 2000) In that time he's also written for Shindig! Britmovie, DarkSide, Black Velvet and Get Ready To Rock, promoted various vintage and veteran acts at Camden Underworld, Glasgow Ivory Blacks and several other venues, DJed everything from psych, garage and soul to Metal at practically every well-known club in central London. Drewe is trying to build a time machine that will enable him to visit any period between 1960 and 1980 but still be able to use a mobile and Facebook. His ambition, aside from directing films and building said machine, is to morph into a cross between Jason King, Timmy Lea, Jerry Cornelius and Richard Hannay, and drift about the ether having adventures in a kipper tie, pinstriped flares and camel hair coat.

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February 22, 2016 By : Category : Bands Front Page Interviews Music News UK Tags:, , ,
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Bowie in the 1960’s

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Collectors Corner 2

It’s fair to say that most music lovers were shocked and deeply saddened when the death of one of the world’s most revered music legends, David Bowie, was announced early on Monday 11th January 2016. David was an ever-present in most people’s musical tapestry, from his first break in 1969 with ‘Space Oddity’, through proto-metal with ‘The man who sold the world’ the following year, and then releasing a whole series of groundbreaking and innovating albums on RCA throughout the decade. He followed this run with the stadium years of the 1980’s, and then had a creative rebirth in the 1990’s, releasing a fine succession of critically acclaimed albums, ending with the wonderful ‘Blackstar’ which was released only two days before he died. Although the many tributes tended to concentrate on his hit making heyday, most headlines hardly gave a mention to the many wonderful and varied released Mr Jones released before he hit the big time and that’s therefore what we’re going to have a look at in this article.

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Born David Robert Jones in Brixton, 8th January 1937, the family moved to Bromley when he was seven where in the mid 50’s he discovered rock’n’roll and decided music was what he wanted to pursue. He took up piano, ukulele and later saxophone, and like most musical fans of his age, joined and formed various skiffle, then beat groups in his early teens. At 15, Bowie and some friends formed The Konrads, but he soon left and joined The King Bees who were one of many of the British R‘n’B bands playing around the country in 1964. Taken under the management of Leslie Conn, the band were signed to Decca and on 5th June 1964 ‘Liza Jane’/‘Louie Louie go home’ was released on subsidiary label Vocalion V 9221. Both tracks were good but unremarkable British rhythm’n’blues and sank without trace in the busy release schedules of the time. By far the most desirable and expensive of Bowie’s UK singles, this single nowadays can fetch up to £2000 in mint condition. Be careful buying this disc as the record was bootlegged in the 1970’s with a large centre hole, a genuine original would have a four prong push out centre and should come in a red and white Vocalion company bag. A great and cheaper way to own this piece of musical history is the Decca mid-seventies reissue which can be picked up for around a tenner!

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After the failure of Davie’s first single, he left the band and joined another Rythym & Blues band called the Manish Boys. The group was signed to EMI in 1965 and placed under the guidance of the company’s top selling label of the time, Parlophone. On 5th March 1965 the label released a cover of ‘I pity the fool’ backed with a great Jones written mod-jazz track ‘Take my tip’ (Parlophone R5250). Like the release before it the single stiffed badly and is also hard to find, especially as a stock copy. Yet again, copies of this single in mint condition can reach the £1000 mark, that’s when they rarely appear on the market. The B side had the added attraction of being the first Bowie song to be covered when Kenny Miller released his single ‘Take my tip’ (Stateside SS 405) in April of the same year. Also rare but decidedly cheaper than Bowie’s original, this can usually be picked up for around the £100 mark. In August, now firmly encased in the amphetamine filled Soho mod scene and regulars at the Marquee club, Davy Jones and The Lower Third as they were now known released another single on Parlophone, the manic, pop-art masterpiece ‘You’ve got a habit of leaving’/‘Baby loves that way’ (Parlophone R 5315). Produced by the legendary Shel Talmy, it should have been a hit in a chart full of Yardbirds, Who and Them singles but yet again it sold absolutely nothing leaving yet another £1000 rated 45. Both Parlophone singles are essential listening but luckily have all been reissued on EP’s in the last couple of decades, most recently on Record Store Day 2014 with a stunning 1965 era Bowie picture sleeve.

1966 and London was in full swing when Jones decided on the name change (to avoid confusion with future Monkee Davy Jones) to David Bowie, the surname he’d take to the grave. After parting company with Leslie Conn, the newly christened David Bowie and the Lower Third were signed to Pye records and released three fantastic 45’s during the coming year. The first, released on 14th January 1966, was possibly the highlight of his early career, ‘Can’t help thinking about me’, with the almost as good ‘And I say to myself’ on the flip (Pye 7N 17020). Despite plenty of publicity and airplay the song only managed to scrape into the bottom of the top 50 in a couple of music magazine charts. Even though it sold a few copies it’s still an in demand item and regularly sells for £200-300 for a copy. The next release came out three months later on 1st April, ‘Do anything you say’, backed with the jazz tinged groover ‘Good morning girl’ (Pye 7N 17079). Now billed solely as David Bowie this release was not as immediate as it’s predecessor and is the hardest of the three to locate, usually hitting over £500 in top condition. The final release on Pye was released in August 1966, a proper swinging London affair called ‘I dig everything’ coupled with another strong B side ‘I’m not losing sleep’ (Pye 7N 17157). Although this sold more than the second single this still reaches prices of £300+ at auction.

 

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After three great commercial singles that just didn’t seem to click with the record buying public Bowie started 1967 joining the last days of pop-art mod band The Riot Squad. At this time David had come into possession of one the earliest pressings of the seminal Velvet Underground debut album and soon incorporated ‘I’m waiting for the man’ into the band’s live act. The track along a handful of others were actually recorded and finally secured an EP release on Acid Jazz in 2013. Now under the management of Kenneth Pitt who tried to steer Bowie down a more all round entertainer route he was signed to Decca’s new progressive label Deram as a solo artist. The first fruits of this new direction was the lightweight single “Rubber band” (Deram DM 107) which was a surreal mix of Anthony Newley and Syd Barrett. The B side ‘The London Boys’ is a lost nugget, Bowie’s sombre tale of mod London gone wrong. It sold incredibly poorly on release and is by far the hardest single of this period to find, especially as a stock copy. The next release, the novelty track ‘The laughing gnome’/ ‘Gospel according to Tony Day’ (Deram DM 123) released in April 1967 was another flop but this one would come back to haunt him when it hit the top ten six years later at the height of glam-era Bowiemania.

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First pressings are much harder to find, original copies have an upside down matrix number on the label and flat push out centres rather than 1973 double ridged style centres, this is the difference between spending £5 and £50+ on a copy! After three years of non-hit singles, on June 1st 1967 the debut album ‘David Bowie’ was released to the world in both mono and stereo pressings (DML / SML 1007). It’s a mixed bag of English popsike and vaudeville, with Bowie himself later explaining his influences at the time as a mix of Max Miller and Elvis Presley. Unfortunately the music loving kids of 1967 decided to spend their money on another album released the same day, ‘Sgt Pepper’s lonely hearts club band’ and the album sank without trace creating a £700-1000 item nowadays. In July Deram had one last try with the catchy ‘Love you till Tuesday’ being released as a 45 (DM 145) which was one flop too many for Decca causing artist and label to part company soon after. In 1968 without a contract, Bowie, with mime artists Hermoine and Hutch, made a small series of promo films featuring remixed Deram tracks and also an embryonic version of a song that was to finally into the charts in the summer of 1969, ‘Space oddity’… But that’s a whole different story!


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James Clark

Loves collecting records. My main loves are 50's rock'n'roll, 60's soul and r'n'b, beat, mod and psych and hopefully will be sharing some nuggets with you over the next few months. Apart from being a vinyl junkie I'm a Arsenal obsessive and a hopelessly romantic drunkard, but don't let put you off, we all have our faults.

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February 12, 2016 By : Category : Articles Beat Front Page Inspiration Music Reviews UK Tags:,
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