Browsing Tag NUTSMAG

Night Beats (Newbreed)

This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Newbreed4

The Night Beats are an American psychedelic, garage and soul group based out of Seattle, Washington. The group consists of  Danny Lee Blackwell (Guitars, Vox), James Traeger (Drums) and Tarek Wegner (Bass/Vox). Night Beats incorporate sounds of early R&B, Texas Psychedelic Rock, Blues, Folk and Soul.

2010 – Single ‘H-Bomb’
2011 – LP ‘Night Beats’, Split Single 10” Night Beats/UFO Club
2012 – Split Single 7” Night Beats/TRMRS
2013 – LP ‘Sonic Bloom’

Tour Dates: 
31/07/2014 Spain, Gijon – Euro Ye Ye Festival

Check our Facebook page for all other dates in August & September.

01. How long have you been playing together for and how did you meet?

James and I since we were 14, in grade school. Tarek in Seattle around 2009.

02. Two of you are from Texas originally, which has a rich history of psychedelic music, and Seattle is of course home to the Sonics. How have these, such important places, influenced your music – if at all?

Both places have been influential. From the R’n’B side of things to the freedom heard in a lot of the Texas psych. But our influences range from everywhere. Not to one genre or era, people listening should know this.

03. What are your main musical influences? There’s an obvious love of psychedelic garage shining through in your music, but your name is taken from a Sam Cooke record? Are Soul and R&B as big an influence as psychedelic music to you?

Both are important. So are movies. Places and people. We try not to focus or put things in order of influence.

04. You’re based in Seattle, are there any other bands you’d recommend from your area?

La Luz.

05. What’s the 60’s/underground scene like in Seattle, is there one? Do you feel a part of it?

60s scene? What year is it? We have our place in the underground yes, but it’s hard to see under the dirt and moss so were not sure sometimes.

05. Night Beats have played with some incredible acts… Roky Erikson, The Zombies, The Black Angels, The Black Lips, The Growlers. You are constantly touring, be it on your own tours or playing every psych festival going. What have been some of the highlights for you?  Do you prefer playing live to recording?

You’ve mostly listed them. We went to South Africa and made good friends down there. That was a big highlight. They’re 2 separate things so I can’t say.

06. Are you looking forward to playing Euro YeYe/in Gijon? You’ve toured quite extensively in Spain haven’t you? I hear their crowds can be pretty wild…

Yes. We love Spain.

07. What’s your favourite song in your repertoire currently? Is there anything you really love, or hate playing live?

Some things were tired of playing. So we give it a rest but maybe bring it back.

08. How do you approach the recording process, I can imagine it’s not very technology heavy – do you take a more, I guess, honest approach similar to your garage influences, using analogue equipment? Is it important to you to have a live sound, so you can easily replicate this on stage?

We generally use tape. Sometimes a little digital. We use electricity and some acoustic instruments. We record live. Some overdubs here and there. Not gonna give away any secrets.

09. Your second album, Sonic Bloom was released in Autumn last year, and showed a real progression from your self-titled debut. Have you already started thinking about recording the follow up? Or have any plans for any singles coming soon?

Thank you. Yes. Stay tuned

10. Between your non-stop touring and own releases as Night Beats, you have various collaborations under your belts already… you seem to be the hardest working band around! Danny Lee has put out some releases with Christian Bland of the Black Angels as The UFO Club, and with Curtis Harding and some of the Black Lips as Night Sun. How did these come about? Are there any more collaborations to look out for, or new projects planned? Will there be any more releases from these bands? Are Tarek or James working on anything on the side of Night Beats?

It happened naturally with each of my projects… Friends coming together with mutual respect and desire to collaborate. Night Sun and UFO Club releases coming soon. Also a jazz record. Tarek is working on a solo album as well.

11. Who are Night Beats listening to at the moment? Who are your favourite artists around right now, and who do you always return to listening to?

The new White Fence. The Oh Sees. An old ‘Sounds of Spain’ record I got for 5 cents. Donny Hathaway, Los Saicos, random hip hop, Love.

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Holly Calder

I’m one half of Eyes Wide Open in Glasgow, where we run a club, a label and now the Double Sight Psych & Garage Weekend, which takes place at the start of October. I love psych, garage, freakbeat, popsike, and have even been known to enjoy a wee bit of R&B! Always enjoy travelling to 60s clubs and weekenders around Europe, whether I’m there to DJ or just to mingle and dance!

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July 25, 2014 By : Category : Bands Front Page Interviews Music Psych Scene USA Tags:, , ,
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Modstock – The Album

Modstock – The Album (LP & CD)

Dubbed ‘21st Century Club Classics’, this compilation is unlike many others. There are none of the ‘usual suspects’ of mod. You know the ones I mean? The dime-a-dozen, seen-it-all-before compilations that tick all the stereotypical mod boxes.

As compiler Rob Bailey says in the liner notes, he wanted to put together ‘future club classics’. It’s fair to say he has achieved his aim with this album. It has obviously had a lot of thought put into it in terms of tracks and running order.

It also provides a platform for most of the bands who appeared at Modstock 3 at Easter 2014.

We kick off with the brilliant ‘It’s Gonna Rain’ by Gentleman June Gardner. I heard this for the first time at a club night years ago and it became one of my all-time favs. Likewise, the Teddy Mack song ‘Hey Hey Gypsy Woman’, Brenda Holloway’s ‘I Ain’t Gonna Take You Back’ and Dean Carter’s ‘Love’s A Workin’.

The addition of songs from current bands slot very nicely alongside the ‘oldies’ in the seemless fabric of this compilation.

The Mergers, Secret Affair, The Apemen and Les Cappuccino all get a look-in, but for me the final track on the CD from Stone Foundation is the pick of the bunch.

‘The Right Place At The Right Time’ can only be found on this collection and it is another example of just why Stone Foundation are one of the best bands around at the moment. I remember hearing this during a Stone Foundation gig last year and I was really disappointed that it didn’t make it on to their most recent LP. I’m really pleased that it has been included here so others can hear it too.

If you are looking for a compilation of ‘modernist’ tunes that looks forwards as much as to the past, you could not find a better collection anywhere right now.

Get a copy here:

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Graham Lentz

Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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July 8, 2014 By : Category : Front Page Reviews Tags:, , , ,
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Modstock 3 2014 Review

Modstock 3, 17 – 20 April 2014

What a weekender Modstock turned out to be! Even those of us lucky enough to be part of the ‘on site’ team here at Nuts HQ had no idea just how great the event would be.

It all began with Squire, The Apemen and Secret Affair headlining on the opening night on Thursday 17th

229 The Venue looked spectacular after its recent makeover. The sound quality in the main room has improved no end and the stage looks even more imposing than it did before.

As the doors opened to the sizable queue that waited patiently outside, you could sense something special was about to take shape. It wasn’t long before our MC and DJ for the evening, Eddie Piller, arrived on stage to introduce the first band.

For those of the ’79 Mod revival era, Squire were just one of the unsung heroes of that time. Their brand of catchy mod-pop may have gone un-noticed by the mainstream at the time, but it certainly gained a large and loyal following throughout the 80s.

Frontman and songwriter Anthony Meynell, got things underway with ‘It’s A Mod, Mod World’ followed by another classic, ‘Face Of Youth Today’.

The crowd didn’t take long to warm up as Squire ran through a selection of their best material. Needless to say, ‘Walking Down The Kings Road’ was one of the highlights for many, but the set was also a reminder of just how good a songwriter Anthony Meynell is. “September Gurls’, ‘Jesamine’, ‘Does Stephanie Know?’ and ‘B-A-B-Y Baby Love’ mod-pop gems one and all and a great way to get Modstock off to a flyer.

Next up, The Apemen from Germany. By contrast to Squire, The Apemen were full on rockin’, rollin’ R&B. They ripped through their set which included ‘Getting Closer’, ‘Mrs Applegate’ and ‘Desdemona’. At one point the lead singer decided to jump off the stage and join the crowd (which is not uncommon with The Apemen), all of which went down very well.

Then it was time for the headline act. I have seen Secret Affair many a time over the years and like all bands, I’ve seen them have good days and the odd not-so-good. This performance, however, was quite possibly the best I have ever seen from them.

There was Ian Page, all confidence and assured vocal delivery. Beside him, Dave Cairns, the electrifying bundle of controlled aggression on lead guitar. Backing them is a very fine and talented band.

Secret Affair’s set was effectively split in two. The first part included tracks from their most recent LP ‘Soho Dreams’ mixed in with a few covers, the crowd-pleasing ‘Do I Love You? Indeed I Do’ had everyone singing along.

As Page and Cairns left the stage, the band played an instrumental ‘Black Cat’ from the aforementioned LP and it served very neatly as an intermission before Page and Cairns returned to deliver the classics of yester-year. ‘My World’, ‘Time For Action’, ‘Let Your Heart Dance’, ‘Glory Boys’, ‘I’m Not Free (But I’m Cheap)’. It was a fitting end to a fantastic opening night of live music followed by Eddie Piller spinning discs until 2am.

After the show I spoke to Dave Cairns;

“We are very happy with the way it turned out. They were a great crowd and we were really enjoying it out there. I think everyone else did too.”

Friday 18 May was quite extraordinary in so many ways. I’ve seen queues outside 229 The Venue before, but not quite like this.

Neither had I ever met so many people, who had traveled hundreds of miles without a ticket, turning up an hour before opening to make sure they got one of the last remaining tickets for the Tamla Motown Night.

Once the doors opened and the main room filled very quickly, the atmosphere was something special. It was not long before the house band arrived on stage. Most of the band were made up from members of a cracking outfit called Speedometer. Joining them was ex-Style Council member Mick Talbot on keyboards.

The glamourous Brenda Holloway was next to arrive on stage, resplendent in her silver sequined dress and opening with ‘Just Look What You’ve Done’.

If there is one trait American entertainers have always been very good at, it is being able to work a crowd. They know how to establish a rapport very quickly and show a certain amount of class in the way they carry themselves on and off stage. They understand what being ‘a star’ means and what responsibilities come with that status. As Brenda’s set gathered pace with hits like ‘Operator’, ‘Reconsider’, ‘When I’m Gone’ and ‘Every Little Bit Hurts’, it was a joy to see a true professional at her craft enjoying the moment as much as the crowd were. She was in fine form and fine voice and she finished her set with an amazing rendition of a song she wrote with her sister Patrice, Frank Wilson and Berry Gordy; ‘You’ve Made Me So Very Happy’.

It was a huge hit for Blood, Sweat and Tears of course, but hearing Brenda sing it, the tune took on a new dimension. It was wonderful.

With barely a moment to catch our breath, the Velvelettes were on stage and more than matched the standard set by Brenda Holloway.

Polished without being corny. Professional without being kitsch.

Norma, Barbie, Cal and Millie gave the audience exactly what they wanted. ‘Lonely, Lonely Girl Am I’, ‘These Things Will Keep Me Loving You’, ‘Nowhere to Run’, Everybody Needs Love’ and of course, ‘He Was Really Saying Something’.

The Velvelettes again showed their presentation skills with a scintillating intro to the final song of their set. I hope the cameras were rolling because ‘Needle In A Haystack’ has to be heard to be believed.

They left the stage momentarily, but returned with Brenda Holloway to complete the finale with ‘I’ll Keep On Holding On’.

Afterwards I asked Mick Talbot for his views on the show?

“It was fantastic and a real privilege to play for these ladies. You know, they and Motown have been such a massive influence and presence in my life, it has been an honour. You never think for a second that one day you will be sharing a stage with people you have spent a lifetime listening to.”

I also managed to have a quick chat with Brenda Holloway. What did she think of the show?

“Oh it was wonderful! I love coming to the UK and singing for you guys. You never forget and you all seem to have such knowledge and appreciation of the music. It really is a special place and it has amazing fans. I would come back anytime to sing in the UK. It’s been just great.”

Saturday 19 April

229 The Venue was a hive of activity by midday as stall holders were preparing for an afternoon of trading in clothes, memorabilia and records.

The Beat Room was getting ready to host the Nutsmag Showcase session and outside, the Bar Italia Scooter Club was organizing the scooter rideout.

It is always an impressive sight watching well over 200 scooters moving off in unison to tour around London. When they completed their circuit, it was time to move into the Beat Room where yours truly was playing a selection of new sounds that have been reviewed on the Nutsmag website.

The two young bands on show have massive potential and Modstock was very pleased to present them. First was Alex Butler and The Opals. This was a rip-roaring set from the Geordie (plus one Italian) line up.

With songs like ‘Turn’, ‘Stole Her Away’, Come Out Of Your House’ and ‘***k it She Will Do’, it did not take long for the audience to warm to them, but Alex and his band got a well-deserved send off as they closed their set with ‘Bye Bye Love’.

The second band was The Turning. Where Alex Butler is more melodic new wave, The Turning are Beat and Rhythm and Blues, but in common with Alex Butler, there is a youthful energy and excitement about The Turning that has lifted their profile in recent months.

Their set included tracks from their debut EP; ‘Stand Clear Of My Mind’, ‘The Painful Art of Dreaming’ and ‘What You Think Is Right’. By the end of the set, the crowd demanded an encore and were treated to a red-hot rendition of ‘Gloria’.

A few hours break and it was back to the main room for the hotly anticipated ‘British Legends’ Night. Getting proceeding underway were the ‘house’ band Stone Foundation who played a selection of songs from their current album ‘To Find The Spirit’.

It is easy to see why they were chosen as the ‘house’ band. They are a very tight unit musically and with their brass section, they can produce an impressive wall of sound. Their brand of Northern, Jazz and Soul influenced tunes really left their mark and set things up nicely for the first of the legends.

Enter Eddie Philips, frontman of The Creation (with bow in hand) to take us through the classics; ‘Painterman’, ‘How Does It Feel’ and ‘Making Time’ among others. From my privileged vantage point, it was clear he was having the time of his life on stage and very humbled by the rapturous reception he received.

A short intermission was followed by the entrance of the one and only Kenney Jones at the drum kit. The man given the unenviable task of vocal duties was Jim Stapley. Having met him earlier in the day, I rather liked him.

However, his arrival on stage was met with some curious reactions as Jim’s appearance and stage presence was more rock than mod. After the first couple of numbers Jim spotted this dichotomy and made light of it with the audience who warmed to him afterwards.

That said, the set was a ‘greatest hits’ selection of Small Faces numbers and Mr Jones was clearly enjoying the experience. As the band left the stage at the end of the set, an encore was demanded and witnessing the discussions backstage was quite something. A reprise of ‘Tin Soldier’ brought the show to a close and the crowd seemed genuinely pleased. See another review HERE! with more videos.

Sunday 20 April

Another ‘early’ start for some of us! At 1pm I was at the entrance to the Pier on the South Bank to welcome those who had booked for the River Boat Party. The weather could have been better, but it didn’t dampen spirits one jot.

Once we were all aboard and underway, our DJs Lee Miller, Carlo Sesto, and Michael Wink got things going right from the get-go. The atmosphere was fantastic with a packed dancefloor throughout the afternoon and after we disembarked, it was nice to see the likes of Norman Jay MBE joining the fun.

With the Boat Trip concluded it was time to head back to 229 The Venue for the grand finale of the weekend.

That wrapped up the afternoon session, but it was not long before it was time to move to the main room for the Fashion Show curated by A Dandy in Aspic.

The assembled audience were thrilled by the show and gave all concerned a rapturous send off, see the fashion show article for in this edition for a in depth review. HERE!

There was a definite air of anticipation in the main hall as the room filled and I had the pleasure of introducing our first live act, The Mergers from Germany. As with all the bands across the weekend, The Mergers gave it their all playing tracks from their fantastic album ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’. Their hybrid sound of The Remains, early Beatles and British Beat made quite an impression on the crowd. They loved them.

Following them on stage were the equally marvelous Les Cappuccino from Japan with their Hammond-heavy grooves and unique visual style. They did not disappoint either.

Within minutes the stage was set for the Crossfire Allnighter. The main room was packed solid for ‘The Story Of Northern Soul’ provided by a line up of specialist DJs that has rarely been assembled before. To say the night was immense is an understatement. The Beat and R&B rooms were equally packed out until the early hours. Crossfire really is one of the great events of the year and this night reinforced that reputation.

So that was the end of Modstock 3, 2014. It was memorable for so many reasons and the highlights were too many to mention. I’ve read many other reviews and comments about the weekend. A small handful pointing out a couple of minor grumbles, but the overwhelming majority were very positive and glowing in their praise about the event.

It was a great weekend, a fantastic effort by Rob Bailey and the New Untouchables Team. Stuart and his staff at 229 The Venue and all the bands, DJs and Bar Italia SC who provided the entertainment and rideout and A Dandy In Aspic for the fashion show.

We hope you had a great time too.

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Graham Lentz

Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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July 4, 2014 By : Category : Bands DJs Events Front Page Music Reviews Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Masters – Nolan Porter

This entry is part 22 of 22 in the series Masters

The song ‘If I Could Only Be Sure’ is attaining something of a legendary status. It has been covered by many bands in recent years, but arguably it was Paul Weller’s interpretation on 2004′s ‘Studio 150’ album that really brought the song to more than just a Northern Soul audience.

The man who wrote and sang the original is Nolan Porter. Thanks to one of the UK’s foremost soul bands, Stone Foundation, Nolan Porter is having an ‘Indian summer’ (for want of a better term) in his career. The much-deserved renewed interest in the man and his work is long overdue and he (along with Stone Foundation) will be appearing at Euro YeYe this August at Gijon in Spain.

Welcome to Nutsmag Mr Porter. How do you feel about the forthcoming trip to Spain?

I’m overwhelmed with joy!! All the things I’ve heard about Spain, the beauty of the land, the history, what’s there not to be excited about! My father spent time in Spain, Madrid mostly. He always said it was one of the best experiences of his life.

Of course you are reuniting once again with the fantastic Stone Foundation. What is it about this band in particular that has been such an attraction for you?

There is a real musical camaraderie between SF and myself. We both really love soul music and SF’s sound really shows that these guys have been raised on soul music and have a deep understanding of its cadence and meaning. Also we have the same warped sense of humor!

I’ve read in other interviews, that you have been very pleasantly surprised by the reception and knowledge of your UK and European fans. Have you got used to it yet?

Every time I travel overseas to sing, I’m always amazed by the warmth and kindness of Northern Soul Fans. “It’s always like the first time”.

I was in the audience for the 100 Club show in 2012 which then became a live album. Listening to it, it’s clear you are having a great time and in fine voice. What can we expect when you hit the stage for Euro YeYe?

First of all, thank you for going to see me at the 100 Club. I hope you had a good time! I’ll bring awe and enthusiasm and a great band, SF. They have some new material some of which I’m singing on and we’re all very happy to perform these songs at YeYe. I’ve only thought of Spain in my imagination and now I’ll be there! I am grateful.

You have written some incredible songs that have legendary status among the Northern Soul fraternity. ‘Keep On Keeping On’, ‘Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum’ and ‘I Like What You Give’ for example, but have you been writing any new material? Could a new LP be in the pipeline?

Yes, I perform originals by other artists some of which I am friends with as well as my own. My wife Patrice and I have been discussing an album we’d like to do together with new material, collected and recorded by the two of us. Also you will be seeing a couple of new releases from Crossfire Productions that I have collaborated on with an old time friend, Forrest Penner of Wild Child fame.

It is fair to say your route into music was not one shared by a great many of your contemporaries, (ie Church-Gospel-band.) and living in LA with its diverse communities had some influence on you. So what was your route from leaving education to recording in 1972?

I’m a typical L.A. Child of the 60′s. The route I took was through my interaction with other L.A. Musicians with a multitude of cultural backgrounds. My first love was classical music. (Something I have in common with Brenda Hollaway who also grew up in L.A. with a classical background in music.) I didn’t go the Gospel route, yet somehow I always found myself in someone’s choir for one organization or another. Singing in choirs around L.A. Was a great way to prepare me for singing my own originals, showing me the basics of music and how to work with a crowd. Growing up in L.A. In the 60′s was great. I sang in soul bands, with Latin Bands and even a couple of rock bands. L.A. was the place to experiment.

It appears much of your early work was caught up in a tangled web of licences and ‘who owns what’ for a long time. Has it all finally been cleared up?

No it has not been cleared up, but I remain positive that it will.

You had some great musicians on that early work, like Larry Carlton, Charles Owens and Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson. How did that band come together?

I have to give Gabriel Mekler of Steppenwolf and 3 Dog Night credit for that. From his time producing many of Steppenwolf’s and 3 Dog Night’s hits, he made contacts and used some of the best musicians, in L.A. I owe a great big debt to Gabriel Mekler.

Brenda Holloway is part of the bill for the Euro YeYe weekend in Spain. I know you and your wife Patrice ‘Candy’ Zappa opened for Brenda in LA a couple of years ago. Do you know Brenda well?

I only met Brenda in 2012 and truly enjoyed working with her, however I was friends with her sister Patrice, in the early 70′s. My mother even knows and  has spent time with Brenda Holloway. My mother is crazy about her and her talent. I do hope this will be only one of several times I get to work with her, she is a truly amazing talent.

Stone Foundation revived another of your great songs, ‘Crazy Love’ for their latest LP. How much input did you have with the arrangement and what are your thoughts on the final product? Both the song and the whole LP?

I’m very happy with the product.  Much of the musical arrangement came from SF. The vocal was pretty much the same arrangement I had used all those years ago. The merging of the two, I feel, was very cool. Also I enjoyed recording it more with SF than when I recorded it all those years ago. Now the present vocal is how I sound at this time of my life. Which makes me happy.

You could say Stone Foundation have kept you pretty busy the last couple of years what with the tours, live album and the resultant dvd documentary about your time here. Have you got any other plans you can tell us about?

I’ve become such good friends with SF. I would like to personally keep it going with them for as long as possible. I owe them so much and we find it mutually gratifying to help each other’s careers.

Nolan Porter, on behalf of The New Untouchables, thank you very much for taking the time to complete this interview. I look forward to seeing you in London next month at the 100 Club again.

Photographs by: © Lee Cogswell

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Graham Lentz

Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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July 8, 2014 By : Category : Front Page Interviews Music News Tags:, , ,
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Introducing James Clark

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Collectors Corner

Good evening fellow NUT’ster’s. James Clark is my name, or Freakbeat James to some. I’m hopefully going to take you on a bi-monthly trawl of the magic 7″ vinyl treasures released in the UK in the magical musical period of the late 50′s to the early 70′s. I’m a complete 7″ vinyl obsessive and hope to share some ramblings and pictures of my vinyl loves with you over the next few months. Some titles you’ll probably know, maybe some you won’t, but I promise it’ll be kept light hearted and informative. My ears prick up at anything from classic 50′s rock’n’roll, r’n’b and doo-wop, through classic 60′s soul and Motown and they’re especially receptive to noisy British beat and psych,both well known and famous. So join me as we have a light hearted trawl through some of the great music of the past including London American R’n’B, The Creation, 60′s Bowie, Sue singles, Motown on Stateside, The Action, LaVern Baker, collectable company sleeves,  Kaliedoscope, Decca freakbeat rarities, and much, much more. Oh, and being a hopeless vinyl junkie myself, I promise there’ll be lots of pictures too!

See you at the record deck.


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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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July 8, 2014 By : Category : Front Page Picks Tags:,
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The Exploding Sound Machine (NewBreed)

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series Newbreed4

We are the Exploding Sound Machine, a machine that has chewed, mangled and spat back out the sounds of the underground acid trips and nightmarish freakouts thrown into a blender of delay and reverb, mix in swirling organ and poundung beats to create something new from something old…

Band Members:
Joey Smiths (guitar, vocals)
Edward Sadowski (guitar, backing vocals)
Sarah Zietz (organ, backing vocals)
Lewis Spink (bass)
Simon Lee (drums)

We’ve just recorded a little digital EP called “The First Twist in the Tale”, but hopefully we’ll be able to put it out as a physical release within the next few months.

Updated Releases and Tour Dates:

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

We had been going as a three piece with guitar, organ and drums for a while, but it wasn’t until early last year when we met our bass player Lewis that everything fell into place. Just recently, we’ve also added another guitar player which has made a massive difference to our sound. If you’re into a specific type of music, it’s always quite difficult to find like-minded people who share the same ethos, so I think we’ve been quite lucky in that respect.

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

Our background in music is obviously quite similar. It’s a mutual love for British Psych, early Prog and Folk that has brought us all together, with Lewis also really being into Soul. I think it’s good if everyone has got slightly different preferences as it doesn’t limit us to one sound which hopefully comes across in the music that we make.

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

Birmingham has got quite a vivid music scene at the moment with lots of new bands emerging, but if I had to take my pick it would have to be Velvet Texas Cannonball. They have been around for a while, but they’re just a great live band with a very early Deep Purple sound.

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

Birmingham and the Midlands have always been quite renowned for their big Mod scene, but recently, the 60s Psych scene has really started to pick up here. There’s quite a good selection of events to go to now with The Exploding Bubble Club in Birmingham, The Perfumed Garden in Derby or Biff Bang Pow and  the Dandelion Club up in Leicester. It’s also so amazing how many people turn up to these events who you’ve never seen on the scene before but who are massively into that kind of music. Great to see!

05. How would you describe the style you play?

A mix between 60s influenced Psych and early Prog.

06. What are your live shows like?

It’s always hard to tell when you’re the one on stage as you obviously experience it completely different to the audience. Our general aim, however, is to capture people’s attention who might have never seen us before and therefore make our live shows as interesting as possible. We’ve tried to progress our live shows by creating an atmosphere using lighting and different sound effects.

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

There are so many bands we feel we’re influenced by, the obvious ones would be Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd, hints of Donovan or even bands like King Crimson. One influence that we chose to cover for a while is The Moody Blues, not only because of their great music, but because it’s a nod to another band from Birmingham. In terms of despising a band, I can’t really say as we never really listen to mainstream radio enough to hate anything that’s out at the moment.

08. What are your main influences outside of music?

It’s hard to say as music has always influenced a lot of other things in our lives, such as the clothes we wear, the books we read, the films we watch etc. It might sound silly, but I think a lot of these things are just connected subconsciously.

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

Joey is our main songwriter and all of our songs have a story somewhere down the line. All the songs seem to have a darker and more mystical edge to them than most standard love songs, something we never really wanted to write. Some of the songs are of course tales of love, but written from a different perspective.

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

I think we probably all have different favourites, but some of the songs that are most fun to play are Brick Faced Man, Olympus Fallen and End Of The Sun. It’s difficult to specifically name another favourite song as there are so many, but we’ve been listening to a lot of The Moody Blues again, The Nice and Neil Young more recently.

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

As mentioned above, the scene in Birmingham and the Midlands is definitely starting to pick up and it’s great to be a part of it, especially with Joey being the main organizer of The Exploding Bubble Club. Sarah used to live in London for three years when she first moved over to the UK and was totally blown away by the scene there. The amount of 60s clubs down there is just amazing as there’s literally something for everyone, no matter whether you’re into Psych, Soul, Garage or anything else. It’s also a great place to meet like-minded people. We’ve met most of our friends here in Birmingham and across the country through the scene, so it’s undeniably playing quite an important part in our lives.

12. What has been the biggest challenge to date?

Definitely finding the right people for the band, especially in a city that was so Soul orientated at the time.

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

Since getting together, there have been very few days we’ve been apart from each other, whether it’s because we’re at our own studio (The Bubble Factory), on the road or recording, which I think has made us a tighter band. At the moment, we try to play at least three gigs a month, but we’re also really keen on getting our first EP “The First Twist in the Tale” out as a physical release.

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

Personally, I think it’s a great time for underground music because it’s never been easier to find and read about new bands. It’s also far easier to reach people thanks to social media and magazines like Shindig.

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

We all really love a German band called The Magnificent Brotherhood who are absolutely mind-blowing.

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

Any studio that Brian Eno would come to and produce us (just in case you’re reading this Brian).

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?

This year, we’ve been trying to get out of Birmingham a bit more and play some other places which has worked quite well so far. We’ve just played Lunar Festival alongside Donovan, Temples and Tim Burgess which was a really great experience. Generally, we would love to get some more support slots and start playing the North of England a bit more, so we are currently working on that.

Besides that, we have some more London shows coming up which we are thrilled about, plus, obviously the New Untouchables Brighton Fuzz 4 Freaks Weekender in August and the One Beast Festival in Birmingham in June which are set to be great as well.

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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: for rare vintage vinyl.

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July 8, 2014 By : Category : Bands Front Page Interviews Music Scene UK Tags:, , , , ,

Los Retrovisores (NewBreed)

This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Newbreed4

Los Retrovisores have been fluttering their sounds around since 2006, back then known as The Cutties. They generated a good impact here and internationally, playing in festivals like Essex Ska Festival or The Cooperate in Plymouth, UK. In 2006 they changed their name to Los Retrovisores after a small change in the band. Since then they’ve been serving the likes of soul, deep beat and luminous pop. String sections, wind and Hammonds. Iberian Mod that follows the tradition after bands like Los Salvajes, Los Bravos, Bruno Lomas or Los Canarios. Young, good looking and well dressed. Tibor Fischer once said “God bless a well dressed man”. Vespas, parkers and one foot side burns. Vitalized attitude, respect for the roots and adoration for the black gods of music. All these references are labels that could easily dress Los Retrovisores. A sixties aroma, that could knock you out like Floïd aftershave lotion. Something with character and personality. A true sixties concept we have to say, because words now a days have to be used with a certain tact, an adjective stuck to any manifestation that smells of Yé Yé or old moth balls. But none of that, here we can find reverence and honour. They search in the past for original sounds, drink from what we already know and admire, generate their own sonority, something identifiable. Something that feels good and sounds great.

Barcelona, Spain

Band Members:
Victor Asensio (Lead Vocal)
Pere Duran (Lead Guitar)
Leo Hernández (Bass)
Quim Cormonias (Drums)
Goncalo Hipólito (Organ)
Hector Fábregas (Tamborine and chorus)
Sergio Sanchez (Bariton Sax)
Edu Polls (Alto Sax)
Alexis Albelda (Trumpet)

2006 – VVAA – “L’Edat Daurada”
2007 - VVAA-“Moderno pero español, vol. 8”
2008 – “Somos los Mods” vol.1
2010 – LP “La nostalgia ya no es lo que era”
2013 – EP “Alma y Pisotón”
2014 – EP “En el surco”

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

Since 2006, most of the members came from a Jamaican music band called
‘The Cutties’.

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

We all are late 60’s and early 70’s dance sounds enthusiasts. We love most of the styles: from R & B to soul, reggae, psych or garage, back to rocksteady, and deep into beat… We’re also very influenced by the 60’s Spanish counterpart of that styles, as you could tell listening to our compositions.

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

There are so many cool bands in our area: Rubén López & The Diatones (reggae) Penny Cocks (punk 77), Mambo Jambo, The Excitements or Los Fulanos (Latin Soul) to name a few…

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

Barcelona has several bands, clubs, promoters, collectors and festivals… Some clubs we highlight: The Boiler Club, Movin’ on, The Gambeat Weekend, Le clean Cut, Wamba buluba and Pill Box. There you’ll find some of our favorite DJ’s: Xavi Beat, Julian Reca, Jordi Duró and many more.

05. How would you describe the style you play?

We just play the music we love to listen and dance to, without more restrictions. Our style evolved at the same rate we did. In our current set list you can find from Spanish soul to groovy funk, even freakbeat.

06. What are your live shows like?

The audience define it as fresh and fun. We don’t like the bands that make a script for live shows. We improvise and always try to be ourselves. Our repertoire is compact, short and straight to the neck. No time for solos

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

Our influences are as wide as our musical tastes. Mainly spanish sixties bands, that like us borrowed the patterns from their own referents, but projecting their own personality to their songs. We really love Bruno Lomas, Los Bravos, Los Canarios, Los Salvajes, Los Nivram, Pau Riba…
We despise too many people to name it here!

08. What are your main influences outside of music?

Our universe is strongly influenced by the sharp & surrealistic Monty Phyton’ sense of humor. The French nouvelle vague and its evolutions are also one source of inspiration for our lyrics and videos.

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

Everybody does his one’s bit, but to date most of the songs were written by Victor and Pere. This has changed in our last recordings introducing compositions by Leo and Hector.

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

Our favorite song from the current repertoire comes from our EP Alma y Pisotón. It’s named ‘Me olvidé de ti’ wich, by the way, it’s been just released on video in a ‘Horror B movie’ style. Check it out! Our choice by another artist is Fire & Ice’s Music Man. We loved the complex brass arrangements and changing our regular subject –love- to an ode to that DJs that make us dance party over party, and that’s why we covered it (you can find our version at Alma y Pisotón EP too)

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

The underground scene, at least in our city, is in a good shape regarding shows and parties. We all participate in one way or another, Victor, for example, is deeply involved with The Gambeat Wekend & the clubs Pillbox 60’s Club and Bread & Groove.

12. What has been the biggest challenge to date?

To forge ahead the band, beside the financial precarity of our members, the lack of public resources and benefits for empowering culture, and the economic depression that we are all suffering.

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

We rehearse minimum once a week, and play an average of three or four shows per month. More than two years passed between our debut album and our second release “Alma y pisotón”, but we’re reducing the time between recordings and we’ll release our third record on june, one year after than its previous work.

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

In Catalonia the mass media doesn’t give coverage to the bands that doesn’t belong to the mainstream market. For some time now, specialized magazines start to writing about us. We also make an intensive use of the social networks for reaching our fans.

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


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

We’d love to record in London with George Martin and a gigantic strings & brass orchestra, just like spanish duet Manolo y Ramón did back in 1970. We’d also like to record with Ricard Miralles, arranger for Joan Manel Serrat in the album dedicated to Antonio Machado.

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’re still working on consolidate our own sound and our show. We’d like to make people outside the scene dance, without losing authenticity neither selling us to the mainstream culture. We’d like to highlight our appearances at Euro Ye Ye Mod Festival (Gijon, SP) and Festigabal @Festes de Gracia (Barcelona, CAT) In August 2014.

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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: for rare vintage vinyl.

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July 8, 2014 By : Category : Bands Europe Front Page Interviews Music Scene Tags:, ,
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The Dials (NewBreed)

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series Newbreed3

The Dials are a 4 piece band from Brighton in the UK. “Glides effortlessly between the harmonic swoon of The Byrds, the poppier elements of the Velvets and the child-like psych of Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd.” Uncut Magazine
Dermot Watson took some time out to talk to Dr Robert for NUTsMag.

Band Members:
Andrew Taylor (Vocals & Keyboards)
Rich Parrish (Drums & Vocals)
Joe Allenby-Byrne (Bass and Vocals)
Dermot Watson (Guitars)

‘The Dials’ Album (2007)
‘Companions Of The Rosy Album (2009)

Updated Releases and Tour Dates:

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

We started in 2005 following a jam session in Brighton. The original idea was to put a few tunes together and – for a laugh – go busking on the seafront. We never got to go busking but the rest, as they say, is history.

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

We all have far too eclectic tastes, but we do share a taste for psychedelia – from Caravan to early Floyd. Beyond that, we have our individual musical ghettoes we retreat to and introduce from time to time.

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


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

We live in Brighton. It never went away.

05. How would you describe the style you play?

The joy of The Dials is that we don’t have a single style. We’re known for mixing it up, adding our own flavors and coming up with something tasty.

06. What are your live shows like?

We try to mix raw and refined. They rock but they also make you think.

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

Influences range from The Faces and Nuggets garage to Miles Davis. We don’t do covers. Anything with the cynical, saccharine hand of Simon Cowell deserves an expression of distaste.

08. What are your main influences outside of music?

For the latest album – The End Of The Pier – we’ve been thinking a lot about our adopted town of Brighton. You can come for a day and see a certain side of it, but it becomes something else and something strange out of season and away from the tourists.

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

Songwriting tends to be a collaborative business. Subjects range from the release and joy of jumping into sea after a hard week at work to the doubts that possess us all in the wee small hours. It’s all real.

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

Each of us would have a different answer, but as I’m writing this, I’m going to say Over The Fence. It bothers me in a good way.

My choice of favourite song by another artist would be Red Cadillac and a Black Moustache by Warren Smith. It’s classic Sun Records, perfect tune and wonderful, understated guitar (my suggestion for best ever solo). Everything is right. My choice will, of course, change tomorrow.

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

I don’t really know what that means. Not wishing to be awkward, but there’s good and bad music. Whatever works, works.

12. What has been the biggest challenge to date?

Just keeping a band together can be hard. As life gets more complicated so do the demands on everyone. Luckily, we all believe this is a special band and worth it.

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

We usually rehearse once a week with extra song writing sessions in between (they’re coming thick and fast at the minute… I can see another album not too far away. Gigs it depends, a couple a month generally but occasionally a few a week.

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

It’s getting increasingly hard to get noticed by traditional media if you don’t fit a certain mould. Having said that, there are all sorts of new routes to look at now.

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

Some of the chaps like bands like White Denim or Tame Impala. Wooden Shjips are also a big hit with one of us. Another was recently going on about his love for Nick Lowe.

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

That is a very real question to which we are turning our attention to right now…
I would suspect we’re going to hire a cottage in the country to retreat to and do it all ourselves.

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 want to get in on the festival circuit more… we’ve never really cracked it. Radio play has been really good with Radio 6 and 2 giving us loads of exposure, so we’d like this to continue and build. We reckon there are many more people out there who would ‘get’ us. Finding more of them would be the best achievement. Interesting Gigs - the New Untouchables Brighton Fuzz 4 Freaks Weekender in August, the Bank Holiday

Web Links:

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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: for rare vintage vinyl.

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July 8, 2014 By : Category : Bands Front Page Interviews Music Tags:, , , ,

Masters – Graham Day

This entry is part 22 of 22 in the series Masters

Graham Day, the Medway powerhouse singer, songwriter and guitarist, formed the Prisoners at school in the late 70s and made four albums, including the bona fide classic The Last Fourfathers in 1985, which continue to inspire and thrill today. After a cooling off period following the demise of the Prisoners he headed a succession of bands – the Prime Movers, Planet, the Solarflares, Graham Day & the Gaolers – all tough and uncompromising; his music – granite slabs of his own unmistakable brand of garage rock with tough melodies – eschewing the vagaries of fashion. After the second Graham Day & the Gaolers album, Triple Distilled in 2008, he hung up his guitar until last year when – with long-standing friends and bandmates Allan Crockford and Wolf Howard – he returned, to the delight of his legion of fans, to front Graham Day & the Forefathers, playing songs spanning the whole of his career to date.

What has the reaction been to Graham Day & the Forefathers? Is it what you expected?

It’s been fantastic and pretty unexpected I suppose. We never intended to make it a regular thing but the reaction has been so good we have decided to carry on for a while yet.

You made two great albums as Graham Day & the Gaolers and then disappeared. What happened? What were you doing the meantime?

For me the Gaolers were amazing. I’d sort of retired and had been playing bass with the Buff Medways. Billy [Childish] decided that had run its course and that was that, but my mate Dan from a band called the Woggles was over in England visiting some friends and we met up in London for a beer. He told me I should start a new band with him and the Woggles bass player. Sounded like a great idea so they flew back over a couple of months later and we made the first Gaolers album, Soundtrack To The Daily Grind. There were no real plans to tour as it was a bit of a logistical nightmare with them both being in the USA but it was so good we just had to. It sort of carried on from there. I thought our second album, Triple Distilled, was the best thing I’ve ever done and we did some great tours, but touring takes so much energy and time, and we could never do single gigs as it was too expensive to bring Dan over so we ended up not playing again. I’ve never said it was finished but it sort of fizzled out. What was I doing in the meantime? Retired again I suppose.

What made you get back out there playing again in 2013?

The Prime Movers did our first album, Sins Of The Fourfathers, on a German label, Unique Records. Last year was their 25th anniversary and they asked us to play a one-off show playing that album at their party near Dusseldorf. It sounded like a fun plan but too much effort to just play one gig, so we added three gigs and made it a mini-tour. It also wasn’t interesting or long enough just to play songs off that album so we added a few Solarflares and Prisoners songs to the set. It was so much fun and went down really well so we decided to carry on doing it. But by the end of the mini-tour we’d dropped most of the Prime Movers songs and were playing more Solarflares, Prisoners and a couple of Gaolers songs so it seemed ridiculous to call it the Prime Movers any more. So we came up with the Forefathers because of the Prisoners reference and stuck my name on the beginning just to tie up the fact we were playing songs I’d written in all the bands over the years.

The Prime Movers changed quite dramatically across three albums, most notably with Arc in 1993 which had a strong prog-rock feel. What are your thoughts on those albums?

I love the first album. It’s totally raw and full of energy. We recorded it as a three-piece but never gigged as a three-piece. Fay [Hallam/Day] used to join us on stage for half the set and then started writing songs and was soon with us full time. The band changed pretty quickly due to Fay’s influence. I have no idea what really happened to the sound, it turned into Deep Purple during the next two albums, and live I thought it was great, although pretty self-indulgent and very strange. I was quite happy to go along with it at the time because it was something different but looking back on it I don’t understand it at all. It sounds totally alien and often laughable, like a piss take. When people talk about the Prime Movers I’ve subconsciously deleted those last two albums – Earth Church and Arc – and think of it as nothing to do with me although I’m undoubtedly guilty as charged.

How do you feel about the esteem The Prisoners are held in?

It’s always puzzled me how much people go on about the Prisoners. At the time we did okay in London and France but elsewhere we were pretty unknown and played a lot of gigs to bar staff in mostly empty venues. I never thought of the band as being particularly special; everyone we knew was in a band and it seemed just the normal thing to do. I thought we were pretty good live but never managed to make a record which did us justice. It was the wrong time for our music; the popular thing was New Romantic and recording studio engineers tried to make us sound like the music of the time. We had constant frustrating battles trying to explain what we were about and never getting it. The press mostly hated us and said were out of date and just retro shit.

Have the Prisoners overshadowed your work since?

The adoration people have shown that band over the years astounds me. It’s very touching but has also been annoying at times. Most of the stuff I’ve done since has been fairly well received but totally overshadowed by the Prisoners. Every gig people shout for Prisoners songs and it made me feel like they just wanted a nostalgia trip and weren’t prepared to let me move on. Sometimes people get quite aggressive about it and think I owe them something. Promoters would ring up to offer a gig but they wanted a Prisoners reunion, not the current band. For a songwriter that can be quite damaging, as if my musical career ended at age 22 and has been worthless ever since. There’s no point carrying on unless you really think what you’re doing is the best stuff you’ve ever done and with a couple of exceptions I’ve always believed that. So it has been frustrating to think that no-one else agrees with you.

No chance of any more Prisoners reunions then?

There are still people who want the original Prisoners line-up to get back together, which will never happen again, and it still manages to piss me off. We did some reunion gigs in the 90s and although nostalgic it just wasn’t the same. People have to realise that Johnny [Symons] has never played the drums since so was never relaxed or particularly good when we played and James [Taylor] has made a career out of jazz funk and plays the organ totally differently than he used to; which might be brilliant but unfortunately doesn’t work too well with those songs. Promoters will pay ten times our normal fee to get something which simply doesn’t work, that doesn’t make any sense, and I find it quite insulting that they wouldn’t understand that. The best thing about the Forefathers is that finally I’ve been able to stop fighting against the Prisoners. This is not a new band playing new material; it’s just about embracing the past and enjoying it for what it is. For the first time I’ve been able to appreciate those old songs and have found it quite emotional. Of course we’re now giving the audience what they’ve always wanted so the gigs are no longer a battle and are just one big happy party.

Am I right in thinking you look back at the Solarflares period the most fondly?

I loved the Solarflares. I wrote some of my best songs during that period and also learnt how to sing properly. It started off being quite popular but support dwindled slowly until it wasn’t worth doing it any more. We did some great tours and I look back fondly because we had such a laugh and got on so well together. For the first time we made some records which sounded like the band and I learnt how to produce decent records. I wouldn’t say I look back most fondly at that period; at the time yes, but I’ve enjoyed most things I’ve done and as I said earlier I always believe the current stuff is the best. Following that logic I would have to say the Gaolers was the best period. The happiest period is right now I suppose but that doesn’t count as it’s just a tribute band of ourselves.

If the Solarflares had been your first band in the early 80s and the Prisoners later do you think they’d been judged differently?

Maybe it would be the exact reverse but I’m not sure. There was something really cool about the Prisoners, maybe because we were so young and because of the conflict between me and James which made it explosive at times. I think the Flares were more measured, happier and less cool as a result.

As well as fronting bands you’ve been in Thee Mighty Caesars and the Buff Medways. How was it taking a more back seat role to Billy Childish?

I started playing drums in the Mighty Caesars in 1986 while the Prisoners were still going and I loved it. I was getting pissed off with the Prisoners and loved the freedom to literally take a back seat and bash away on the drums in a cracking rock and roll band without the hassle of singing and feeling responsible for it. Some people got really angry that I did that. When we were gigging one night after the Prisoners split up someone from the audience grabbed me and shouted at me to stop playing this shit and get the Prisoners back together. I never played the drums before but loved it and still do. Same playing bass in the Buff Medways; I loved that for the same reasons. I’m not sure I would like playing guitar in someone else’s band, and definitely wouldn’t sing for anyone else, but on a different instrument it’s great fun.

In what ways are you similar and different to Billy?

Billy and I are very different. We used to live in the same house during the Prisoners days and we’ve always got on really well. He’s much more driven than me, always doing something; be it songs, painting or writing, I’m the opposite and only do something if I’m inclined to. He will record every song he’s ever written and I’m much more self-critical and will bin a lot of stuff before I even play it to anyone else. His life is in the public eye and is a living breathing ‘artiste’ and social commentator; I’m just a normal bloke with a proper job and nothing to say who happens to play in a band for a hobby.

What inspired you to learn to play guitar?

I started off playing bass, playing along to Stranglers and Rezillos songs in my bedroom. When me and Allan started a band in 1978 I found I was too fiddly on the bass and he was a good rhythm guitar player but couldn’t play lead, so we swapped. When I heard Syd Barrett playing guitar on The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn it blew my mind. I discovered how you could make a guitar sound so powerful without being ‘rock’ with loads of unnecessary notes, and it changed the way I viewed the instrument. Similarly with Steve Marriott’s guitar sound and playing, it made me question what a typical guitar player is expected to do.

And to write songs?

I found quite early on that I had some kind of ability to write songs. I suppose it starts off by being inspired by and developing or even copying other people. I’ve found over the years that if you try to do something completely original it’ll be total shit, which is why it’s never been done before. The Prisoners were quite plagiaristic, embarrassingly so at times. Sometimes I did that because I thought a song had a great chorus but rubbish verse or vice-versa and wanted to improve the song. “Midnight To Six Man” is a good example of what I mean. I always loved the song but hated the chorus so I wrote a different one and called it “Be On Your Way”. Generally songs have tended to come to me when I’m trying to sleep at night. I sort of dream about seeing us on stage playing the song and realise I haven’t written it yet. So I have to get up and whisper it into a tape recorder because I know it’ll be forgotten in the morning. If a song doesn’t come together in ten minutes I usually bin it. These days I find it funny to play some of those songs I wrote as an angst-ridden teenager, singing some of those angry misogynistic lyrics now aged 50.

Did you always see yourself as vocalist?

Vocally I struggled for a long time. I never thought of myself as a singer and all the people I loved I tried to emulate to disastrous effect. Phil May, Steve Marriott, all them great soul singers, I quickly realised I wasn’t ever going to be them and had to try to find my own voice. I think I found it sometime during the Solarflares period and I’m only really happy with it in recent years. Just listen to the vocals on Thewisermiserdemelza to hear one of the main reasons I hate that album.

You mentioned about some of the songs you wrote as a teenager. How old were you when you wrote your first album A Taste Of Pink? How do you feel listening back to them?

I think the earliest songs I wrote which made that album were “Say Your Prayers” and “Don’t Call My Name” and I was 16. I still like some of those songs; they have a beautiful naivety and simplicity which can never be recreated. I’ve always been very anal about music and  therefore consequently I’m very narrow-minded. I think that’s why on the whole I was still writing songs with 3 or 4 chords, a guitar riff and a simple melody, recording it in the most basic way possible right up until the last album.

Does song writing come easily now or does it involve a lot of concerted effort? What’s your usual writing method?

I still don’t understand how I write songs. As I said they just come to me. If I sit down with a guitar and say right, I’m going to write a song now, it’ll never happen. I’ve never been someone who always writes songs for fun and have only ever done it when I’m inspired to by having an album or a new band to energise me. I think I’m just essentially lazy. Having said that if we’re recording a new album I’ll probably write a batch of crap first, then the juices will flow and I can normally come up with the music really quickly. Lyrics are another matter completely and I hate writing them. I often used to gig a new song and make the words up as I go along and hope something sticks. The only real exception to that is the last Gaolers album. I had so much fun writing those lyrics as they’re all about touring and past experiences, and some of the best things I’ve written. I absolutely detest some of the shitty lyrics I’ve written in the past particularly about conservation or trying to say something meaningful.

Has the Forefathers got those juices flowing and given you the urge to write any new material?

Not yet. I do have some new stuff I wrote before which was for a possible new Gaolers album and I also started writing an instrumental album but with no real chance of the Gaolers playing again I gave up.

What made you choose “Love Me Lies” as the first single to be released by Graham Day and the Forefathers?

No real reason actually. We recorded the whole set of backing tracks live and when it came to choosing one for a single I just felt drawn to that song.

I assumed it was because you were unhappy with the original on Thewisermiserdemelza. I love that record but you’ve been very critical of it. Why?

Yes I hate Thewisermiserdemelza for lots of reasons. One is the real disappointment with the sound. We had Phil Chevron – rest his soul – as producer; it was the first time we’d had a producer and we had very different ideas about the album. Fair enough but it was our album so he should have listened to us. I’ve already said that at that time studio engineers would try to get you to sound modern and that’s the last thing we wanted. So from the outset we just fought against the engineer and producer. Some conflicts can result in a fiery, energetic battle which can get really good results. This one did the opposite. Secondly I hate the vocals. I just tried to put on some silly gruff voice which sounds completely false. Phil to his credit did try to get me to sing properly but I didn’t listen. It was my 20th birthday during the recording session and I was just pissed most of the time we were there. Lastly I just don’t like many of the songs on the album. I was clearly going through some kind of psychedelic ballad period and just don’t like it.

How has your taste in music changed/developed over the years? What do you listen to now that you wouldn’t have when you were starting out?

I don’t really listen to music that much as I know all my records inside out and I don’t like modern music. I’m cursed by the love of a certain type of recording sound and find it incredibly difficult to like anything if it doesn’t sound like that. I haven’t liked much music since the punk era; although the recording of punk music is really poor I guess I’ve forgiven it because that’s what I grew up with.

What three records have left the most lasting impression on you and why?

Piper At The Gates Of Dawn because Syd Barrett inspired my early guitar playing; The Pretty Things first album because it introduced me to blues, great singing and the ultimate sound of rock and roll; and the Kinks Kontroversy because it showed me how good songs can be.

If you had to pick three of your own albums to best represent your career which would they be and why?

The Last Fourfathers because it’s the best and most representative Prisoners album; That Was Then And So Is This by the Solarflares because we were at our peak then, touring and loving it; and Triple Distilled by the Gaolers because it’s the best album I’ve ever made.

Photos by: © Steve Worrall (

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Mark Raison

I've spent three-quarters of my life wandering the mod path with detours down its side streets and dark alleys. From an enthusiastic youth to a still-enthusiastic-but-harder-to-tell grizzled old goat, I've dabbled in all parts of the scene from writing fanzines 'Round Midnight and Something Has Hit Me; to promoting bands; attempting to manage bands; singing in the mighty garage combo The Electric Fayre; putting on indie, psych and soul clubs including Freak Scene, Orange Sunshine, and Shake!; writing liner notes for Reg King releases on Circle Records; and, in fitter times, tucking away the odd goal for the New Untouchables. I still DJ from my box of R&B humdingers but more often you’ll find me tapping away on my blog at I like the poetry of Charles Bukowski and dislike the taste of cheese.

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July 8, 2014 By : Category : Bands Front Page Interviews Music News Tags:, , , , , , , , , ,
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Modstock 3 Fashion Show Review

Back at Modstock 2 in 1994 Pip! Pip! with the full blessing from Dr Robert at NUTs HQ came up with the novel idea and concept of a Modstock Fashion Show, not as a lecture or guide as to how to be a ‘mod’ but more as a way of showcasing some of the great fashion, style and clothing that is out there now, inspired by the Modernist tradition. That mixed with a nice dose of performance ‘art’,  scene sourced authentique models, onstage scooters and so on, it all rolled into place alongside the live showing of our bespoke Fashion Documentary ‘Ready, Steady, Sew!’ (big thanks to Angie Smith, Pete, Caspar De La Mare, and Sean Wilson & Alex Rupprecht from Boychild and The Gene Drayton Unit Soundtrack) we felt we had a decent shape of an evening that was fresh and fun!

So when Modstock 3 in 2014 came about we thought we would rinse and repeat but with even more fun and games! Enter Caspar de la Mare from Camden vintage clothes shop, A Dandy in Aspic, was given the task of staging the Modstock Fashion Show he knew he’d have to give us more than just a simple catwalk.

We also invited Adam of London whose fine line of British Classic ready to wear was to opening proceedings with a nice classic  no nonsense approach and appeal that rightly displayed the sheer quality of their cloth making experience at its zenith. A few tech hitches aside (our deepest apologies to Adam and his team), their segment of the show set the bar pretty damn high. The mix of pin-through cotton shirts, knitted and silk ties with matching pocket squares, exsquisite cut suits that hung to perfection, the cut and silhouette meant that they simply did not have to try too hard at all to get the message across. Their clothes do the talking, end of! Well done chaps for pulling it off! Their music and visual selections melded nicely into their show and left everyone to seek them out at their stall for more information. A job well done all around! Our thanks to Ritchie, Adam & Jeremy,  a big tip: seek them out for you next round of shopping chaps!

Next up was the longer and much more theatrical and arty approach of one of the scenes’ great characters Caspar and his team of dedicated believers.

After a few exchanges between Pip! Pip! and Caspar by the magic of Skype, he managed to come up with a piece of  true mod theatre. Based around a day in the life of a mod couple who go on a day’s shopping trip to London, the show featured a hand-picked group of models who Caspar knew from in and around the scene, Each who wore a selection of original 60s vintage clothing from Caspar’s own emporium and menswear specialists Adam of London.

“I decided to make the young couple the main focus of the piece with all the other models as extras showing a cross section of 60s styles from the early to the more swinging styles of Carnaby Street as would have been seen on streets of London at the time,” says Caspar. “I was trying to paint a picture of what it would have been like during that time and capture some of the spirit of the era using a fairly minimalistic and stylised approach aided by a carefully chosen projected slideshow and soundtrack.”

“This was a piece of entertainment that seemed to bring back fond memories to many who were watching as it reminded them of what it was like in the early days of the mod scene”

The A Dandy in Aspic segment of the Modstock fashion show was an unexpected (and highly enjoyable) piece of theatre with four scenes revolving around two central characters, a young well-dressed mod couple on a day trip to London to buy some fab new gear, hang out in a Soho coffee bar and then go to a nightclub to show off their new clobber. (A very familiar scenario played out across the decades within the mod scene).

In three of the scenes they remained frozen in time whilst all the action goes on around them with all the other models as extras. Showing off a cross section of fashions as they would have been worn in the 60’s ranging from early styles to the more swinging Carnaby Street variety. And lastly finishing with a simple but, well- choreographed group dance number. In between the scenes whilst the stage was being set we were treated to Jimmy Smith’s ‘Organ grinders swing’.

The show began with a well-lit stage, and a row of eight empty black and white chairs, with a backdrop slide show depicting various images of 1960’s London, a very visual opening. Next came some sound effects, which, slowly became clear as that of a train arriving at a station. Complete with made up station announcements. At this point twelve models, six men and six women, all wearing overcoats in a variety of colours, patterns, fabrics and styles entered the room in single file and stood on stage with their backs to the audience. After a very familiar “mind the gap”, the women turned and sat in the chairs holding up magazines and the men turned sideways and stood staggered in front of them with one arm up in the air as if holding a handle on a tube train, and the scene was set… very very clever indeed!

The voice of a young man came over the PA and a young mod couple then came running onto the stage through the audience and took their place on two vacant seats. The sound of ‘Go-Go train’ by Mike Stevens and the Chevelles filled the room and the models began moving as if on a travelling train with the exception of the young couple who remained frozen though out. At various intervals the name of a made up station was announced and all sound and movements ceased. A model would leave the scene followed by another and then a third.  Each time a catwalk pose was struck at both ends of the stage to show off their outfits, before they exited and disappeared behind a screen. This continued at each ‘station’ until there was only the young couple left. They then left the stage having reached their “destination”, and the lights went down. The audience responded with a very enthusiastic applause and cheering. That was great! Very clever staging

When the sound of ‘Jimmy Smith organ grinders swing’ could be heard, and the slide show changed with the chairs being replaced with other props it became apparent that more was to follow.

The lights came back up and we could see two full clothes rails at each end of the stage, with two mannequins, one male and female each dressed in a stylish long double breasted coat. A simple and very effective way to represent a boutique. After another voice over the young couple entered and made their way over to the two rails and froze into position. The sound of ‘Swinging London’ by The Hazy Osterwald Set then began to play, with each model taking their turn entering the boutique from behind a curtain (dressing room) and admiring their clothes in an imaginary mirror and then walking over and checking out other gear on the rails, to try on. Before coming back to the mirror with another  outfit in hand. The action continued around the couple until the music faded out and the young couple were the only ones left on stage. They each held an outfit and walked over to the mirror before exiting through the curtains. The clothes shown in this scene were mostly of the later swinging period and very colourful. Ladies trouser suits, culottes, men’s dandy jackets, candy striped blazers. In the background a slide show of 60’s boutiques, fashion and mods/people trying on clothes helped add to the boutique feel. Again huge applause and cheering as the lights went down.

The slide show then changed to images of 1960’s coffee bars and girls in mini-skirts .And the stage was re-set. The lights came back up, and we could see four black and white tables with black and white chairs. After a voice over with reference to ‘frothy coffee’ the young couple entered with coffee cups and shopping bags and sat at a table. ‘music to watch girls go by’ (an instrumental version) set the scene and the stage was transformed into the exterior of a Soho coffee bar, with models entering the stage and  sitting down for coffee or disappearing into the cafe. A succession of mini skirted models walked across the stage in a highly choreographed fashion striking poses from left to right. All the while, being admired by two seated male models drinking coffee. Another couple were looking through newly purchased (original) 60’s LP records of soul, jazz and rhythm &’ blues, another model reading a newspaper. Before leaving the stage each model showed off their outfits to the full. A good cross section of mod, beat, and classic 60’s styles with a summery flavour and some classic sunglasses in tow. An extremely stylish scene .One of the best performed segments in the show. It really made you feel like you were outside in the summer sun enjoying a frothy coffee with them. Good job!

The final scene wrapped up the show within a nightclub, to the sounds of ‘The in Crowd’ by Dobie Gray and ‘Burt’s Apple Crumble’ by The Quik in front of a backdrop slide show, of 60’s night life  and dancing. On a stage were six chairs and a black and white chequered dance floor.

This was performed in two parts. Beginning with models walking on stage as couples, to the sound of Dobie Gray, and criss-crossing each other from left to right, striking a catwalk pose at each end of the stage, highly stylised choreography. The men were all wearing Italian cut three buttoned suits in a variety of complementary colours, very sharp, and stood to the right of the stage, as if standing at the bar. The women who were all wearing various evening outfits of silver, gold, black, all sat down on the chairs.

The scene ended with the young couple entering the stage to the sound of ‘Burt’s Apple Crumble’. Wearing the outfits that they had in their hands in the boutique scene. After walking to the front of the stage to strike their catwalk pose. They then start a very simple clapping dance. With each of the other couples joining in until they are all dancing in unison. As the music began to fade out, each couple bowed before exiting and then reappeared through the curtains to line up along each side of the stage. They all turned backstage and gestured for the creator of the show Caspar de la Mare, who then came on through the curtains, took a bow and proceeded with all his thank you’s as he was also the compere too!

This was a very simple story, but presented in a very stylised and stylish way and really gave one the feeling of being transported back to the 1960’s with great attention to detail from the make-up and authentic hairstyles provided by Jenny Green to the props, original magazines and newspapers (Evening News), original 60’s A to Z, coffee cups/saucers etc. and of course all the original 1960s clothes that were being showcased. Judging from the rapturous applause at the end, the audience enjoyed it as much as the models did performing it.

All in all a very entertaining and enjoyable evening was had by everybody. Massive thanks to all that were involved!

Photos by: © Ramees Farooqi

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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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July 8, 2014 By : Category : Events Fashion Front Page Reviews Style Tags:, , , , , , , ,