Bristol Archive Records Blog

Archive for May, 2016

The McAllisters

Monday, May 30th, 2016

Folks check out these three great albums just released via the Archive from the mighty McAllisters

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-levitation-day-letters/id1104576206

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/knucklehead-reduction-strumming/id1104596444?app=itunes&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/shakedown-for-the-territory/id1094712862?app=itunes&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

McAllisters biography/history…..
Knucklehead Reduction Strumming

Life’s all about 2nd chances innit? Or 3rd. Or 4th even……Being perfectly positioned (puberty = glam, post-puberty = prog, post-post-puberty = punk) in the late-boomer/early-bloomer demograph, and therefore with a palette of reference almost to die for (really, no-one in pre or post rock history had ever had it so good) we’d all had a few bites at the punk and post-punk-flavoured cherry. Uh, we’d all been in groups before, is what I’m saying. Anyway, this was the 4th or even 5th bite for most of us…..In my (davidthomaskettle) case, 1st school-formed band featured both a future art object with cool-dad-+-Clifton-postcode-cred and a pig-in-embryo with even-cooler-dad-+-Clifton-postcode-cred. Livin’ a hard life in the country/city netherland, I didn’t have a whole lot of cred myself, but crucially nurtured the desire, fuelled by guitar guidance from The Only One (J Perry) himself, to play searing guitar solos based on the blues scale. We named ourselves after an obscure American comic book character, worked up cover versions of Cream’s White Room and the Floyd’s Matilda Mother, wrote a bunch of punk-prog tunes inspired by a close attention to the works of Van Der Graaf Generator, played to some school girls a couple times, and then………A-Levels! Fuck those eh? But we nonetheless felt compelled to knuckle under and hunker down. For we were all, as they used to say back then, and still do now, middle-class. Make of it what you will, but most of the true geniuses who sprouted like magic bean stalks from the art-school soil back then seemed to be didn’t they? Syd was. And David. AND the two Rogers, and Peter. And Don. And Viv. And Peter (Hamill). Not to mention Marc. Also Mark E. HE was middle class too. Even, stretching a transatlantic point, Jim and Lou……Definitely David (nee Crocus)……Anyway, for the sakes of our futures (the no-future thing still being a way off) those A-Levels seemed awfully important, god love us! And God Bless Us too…….
IMG_1753

So, the next time I’d see any real action (after a detour up to the grim north, where I’d begin a life-long love affair with northern grimness and poetry and witnessing many a hero – including the legendary secret PiL performance in ’79 – at the Russell Club in Manchester’s grim modernist-designed Hulme district) was in a group featuring those whom God had indeed blessed, but also, crucially, those for whom God was already dead. A little known and barely remembered (even by its own members) noise outfit, we were the short lived Atmospheric Walkers who, in the halcyon summer of ’82, nonetheless headlined the legendary Dinner With Franco event at the Clifton Hope Chapel, which ended explosively in orgiastic scenes of mayhem and none too subtle violence. As with the celebrated Lesser Free Trade Hall Sex Pistols Manchester gig, many of those present to this day toil in workaday jobs, and probably a few were inspired to form other short lived bands. Chris Bonnington is also rumoured to have been present. This particular MAP (bless him) to the palace of excess was, though, subsequently lost somewhere along the Cumberland Basin Road. But cassettes were made. And exchanged. And then re-cycled, in early eco-minded deference to future generations. And that same DIY ethic was still abroad well into the mid-80s…..others in this group (including future McAllisters) were also, slightly later, to appear in another short lived but crucial group, the delicately nurtured and amusingly named noise merchants, The Six Poisons…..
Click on link to open pdf: Mc4 God botherers

Gathering our thoughts, drinking in the Old England, sloughing off the reactionary 2nd term/post-Falklands lethargy, signing on, and in face of New Romantic and pop tosh of all stripes, the embryonic McAllisters began to move, stir and feel the rush of life upon their keel in the post-post-punk dog days of ’85. I was the only Bristolian (allegiance: Rovers) among us…the rest of the group hailing from as far afield as Wakefield (via Tirana), Southampton (via Andalucia), Birmingham Alabama and Toronto. Wham were top of the charts, Labour was irretrievably enmeshed in the long long process of disintegration, the miserablists were lording it in both main and indie stream, SEX was still a distant staging post in the career of the rapacious Madonna, and charity rock was beginning to gather its defining Geldoffian and Red Wedge-head of steam…….
IMG_1754

So, pretty much a wasteland. And, it seemed to us, very much an open field of a wasteland. Shakedown. For the Territory. And the glittering prizes would be ours for the taking. Or so we conjectured. Initially a Cotham-garage-band two-piece – dtk guitar/vocals & markstevenaldridge (Rovers) on drums, our initial impulse, as dyed in the wool van vliet fans, was to give free vent to those good ol’ beefheartian inclinations for a delirious minute, or month, or two………before accepting that the good ol’ captain could best be saluted by avoiding that kind of inevitable pastiche-effect entirely. Exhibit A – Stump. Exhibit B – Bogshed. Fire Engines, Gang o’ Four etc etc etc……one can reel off the names of the books n bands……and it seemed everyone in a raincoat with a sort of bog brush or floppy fringe haircut appeared to consider it a birthright to essay a sort of 2nd/3rd gen scratchy guitar relationship to the Magic Band…..but for us, purists (if not puritans) at heart, that way, the way of emulation, lay the worst kind of pretence. Or so we judged. So no itchy, angular intertwining guitar figures, odd stop/start structures, field recordings, surreal/dirty lyrics or freeform Ornette Coleman type blowing for us…..and definitely no animalian white funk – we wanted punters to move to the rhythm, not dance (a nice distinction, but a real one nonetheless)……instead we went downwards, and inwards, below the designated line, in search of the lost Avonmouth delta blues…..the lost estuarian sound. Heavy on the riffs…….and pre-grunge grungy…..until, a bit later on, the onset of the grebo sub-genre reminded us to steer well clear of that particular mess, and to massage our postpostpunk sensibilities in another direction entirely. One vaguely sign-marked rockabilly, post-fall ramshackle hooks, intensified and riffed into heavy stooge-repetition, leavened with hyper-romantic washes of melody.
Click on link to open pdf: Mc1 Live reviews

But with the limitations of the guitar/drum line-up becoming all too apparent, we then became 3, joined on bass by Frank Hoxha (City) from Tirana (via “the north”) and began to hone the dirty, estuarian/swampy style reverb-guitar sound and the heavily repetitive riff thing……and in this 3 piece form, we suited up, braved the crusty element, the dogs on bits of string, and played our first ever gig in early ’86, opening for the Idiot Sideshow at the Montpelier Hotel. The punters appeared to love it, and expressed their enthusiasm in forthright manner. Yet things were still not quite right. I was quickly forced to admit (like many a strummer before me) that I was quite incapable of simultaneously playing the guitar and singing. I could do a bit of one, and then a bit of the other. But not convincingly. Nor at the same time. So a guitarist (David H Ryman – also from north of “the north”) was added and our sound rapidly coalesced into something, as we played more and more gigs, that journalists began to characterise as both hypnotic and compelling. And brutal. The thudding and tight-as-fuck rhythm section augmented by a guitar that seemed distilled from an essence of gut-rot Lynchian unease, Hieronymus Bosch phantasmagoria and a precognition of Hideo Nakata’s Ring cycle, but played with the exquisite yet esoteric precision of Richard fairy feller cracking his big nut….
IMG_1755

This then was our first signature sound. Approaching the well-established (revered, even) Bristol funk/punk nexus with a degree of abandon, we had eschewed the funk, and more or less by default embraced the punk. Or at least the post-punk. We felt at that moment we were the rightful post-post-punk heirs, and were ready to claim our birthright. So we didn’t dilly-dally. We didn’t shamble, shimmer or gaze at our shoes. We went on the attack. And played a hateful of gigs, responses varying in degree from profound indifference to wildly expressed enthusiasm. And demo’d a series of songs that, on the face of it, followed an apolitical course (as far as such a thing was possible in an era when Thatcher was really starting to get on peoples’ wicks big time – at the same time, paradoxically, as consolidating power in a manner that convinced most of us that there’d never EVER be another reality) but that accurately documented, as far as we were concerned, yer actual mid-80s dysfunction and anomie.
Click on link to open pdf: Mc2

Elsewhere, most contemporary groups and the punters who followed them lost no time in nailing their colours to the designated mast, but we preferred a less overt line of attack. We flirted with our audiences who were mostly, let’s face it, proxies for the alternative consumer society (proxy itself for the BigCorp actuality of life as lived then that we all affected to despise). But we felt a sort of solidarity nonetheless. And after our own fashion, we loved our audiences. For this was when there really WAS, or seemed to be, an alternative society of sorts, before hindsight was to confirm the precognition of Mark E Smith, the horrible reality that the mainstream IS now the alternative. And vice-versa. Nothing is hidden any more. Click, and it’s yours. Never mind the bleedin’ dark web. And we’d like to be able to say that we’d foreseen this all along, but we’d be fucking lying if we did. And we all of course felt jolly self-important in our hermetic enclaves and self-curated, self-sustaining, mutually supportive, semi-autonomous structures-for-living. As you do…..if you feel you’re onto something secret, something non-mainstream. Anyway, these songs went out of their way to celebrate non-mainstream (over)consumption of that which was always anyway readily available. Also celebrated, in true Dionysian style, were irruptions of JGB-style existential and automotive excess, noir films reimagined/sound-tracked with thrash feedback, Cary Grant morphing into Eraserheaded Jack Nance (Bringing Up Baby X 2), numinous pre-dawn river walks that might as well have been, and indeed soon would be, the inspiration for yer Machen and Lovecraft type tales, and none too numinous night time hospital visits……
IMG_1756

Despite having co-authored this unique (signature #1) sound, David H left us – to concentrate on his own project (the oddly compelling and frankly fantastic ReVega channelling God Bless U) – so Frank H shed the bass and took up the discarded Hofner violin-body guitar, adding depth and soul, honing and refining the previously reverb-heavy cellar-sound into something relentless, grinding, exoteric. We began to feel the need, however, for a further melodic edge to cut against the remorseless homogeny of the sound, so I began sticking in some atonal keyboard melody daubs, like ice shards cutting through the waves of the wine dark sea of sound. Soon after, the group mutated into a 5 piece, growing a bass player – Dave Britton (City – and Bristol boy #2) to replace Frank, and a 2nd guitarist, Andrew Wallace (unknown allegiance – skinny trousers/Gibson SG/Southampton) to further augment the sound with harmonics and precisely calculated harmonies. And so we began to fashion what we, and others, notably the late, lamented Marc Crewe – our principle champion at the time – regarded as our 2nd, but not ultimately defining, signature sound. A churning, melodic, repetitive, rockabilly-inflected, ice-cold, guttural, quiet-fire soundtrack to the established neuroses of the age.
Click on link to open pdf: Mc3 Record reviews

With this line-up came a slew of new demos, including embryonic versions of our pseudo-hits, “Mother Confessor”, a paean to the hypnotic effect that the reigning female demiurge appeared at this time to have on ally and enemy alike, and tally-ho hunt sabs workaround “Grey Suit Rebel Search”. Other songs fingered the C of E hostage to fortune and self-defined destiny, city road street life, more numinous Machen-inflected bloody stories, and among other snapshots of the orgiastic and the excessive, a sort of quasi-cover of the Madonna’s Like a Virgin – we weren’t big on covers, our only other stab in that direction being a rattle-along version of Devo’s “Sloppy (I Saw My Baby Getting)” that we used as a stage livener……
Click on link to open pdf: Mc5 EP promo

At this point, like Nic Potter leaving Van Der Graff Generator due to the crushing psychic unease induced by the burden of continually sharing a stage with Pete Hamill and cohorts, Dave B decided he’d had enough. He had been tight, and very efficient, his bass lines unerringly precise and to the point. His replacement, chrisbuffalomartin (Toronto), was a shoe-in. The Buffalo selected himself. Equally tight, he also brought the kind of propulsive energy that feels no pain and the drive to succeed that it’s possible we might otherwise have lacked. Plus, as owner, and experienced Visconti-o-typed bassist/chief engineer of the studio where we recorded (E-Plus, later “The Facility”) we didn’t need to think twice. Chris and Andy, with their relentlessly upbeat personalities, added a kind of can-do positivity that wasn’t always necessarily apparent in the demeanour of the original group members. Certainly on stage, where the brand of intensity they both favoured manifested itself as manic and hyperactive, in contrast to the static, or at most occasionally strolling, and certainly back-turning indifference of the singer and rhythm guitarist. This visual schism, amplified by a neurotic mix of fashions and hairstyles (Oxfam chic as well as standard issue leathers and mascara, pre-bald as well as standard issue punk style) appeared to have a mesmerising effect on most reviewers, whose thesauri continued to seek out synonyms for “hypnotic” and “brutal”, while at the same time drawing attention to our propensity to smile unnervingly.
R-3643443-1423929520-6148_jpeg

So in terms of the skakedown, the presence of Chris and Andy, it might feasibly be said, represented the last piece of the jigsaw, the group’s final transition from artful but work shy bastards into potential contenders for a slice of whatever action might be going. Finally galvanised us, in other words, into some real-world action. More gigs, including a collection of London dates, followed. Inevitably, these ranged from the 3-men-and-a-dog scenario (the George Robey in Finsbury Park/Greenwich Tunnel Club stand out in the memory) to established club nights at Dingwalls and Jon Fat Beast’s Bull & Gate (Hype) set-up, plus the likes of The Cricketers at the Oval. And we finally got around to recording for release.
Click on link to open pdf: Mc6 Venue feature

Under the auspices of the gvt Enterprise Allowance Scheme/Scam, a label (Jolly Good Records) was hastily founded, a distribution deal was done with Revolver/The Cartel and we went for it. “Mother Confessor” and “Grey Suit” were joined by “Sooner or Later There’ll Be Fallout” (disarmament talks re-imagined as failing love affair), “Lamentable” (noir nightmare on city rd), “Spy-Poet’s Corn Holer” (in vogue spy-boy memoir fantasy), “T & J Will Eat Each Other” (their final words) and released (minus Sooner or Later – eventual lack of vinyl space) as “Too Much Money Propaganda”, a 12″ EP whose title was appropriated from stream of consciousness local busker Aston L Henry. The record was reviewed dismissively by Jane Suck-Solanas in the NME, but more positively, and importantly, by (among others) the Bristol Evening Post, and very positively indeed in the esteemed local listings mag, Venue. Our most oft-quoted claim to some sort of fame, though, was that several tracks from said EP were played by John Peel (representing, therefore, an almost literal 15 Warholian minutes). Attempts to secure a Peel session, however, were bafflingly unsuccessful.
Click on link to open pdf: Mc6 Venue feature

Whatever, even without the patronage of the Margrave, we immediately attempted to capitalise on this relative (by the standards we’d set ourselves) success, and lost no time in recording another EP, comprising 4 songs – “Oh Yeah” (cock rock shaker, with frenetic electric violin and harmonica a nod to the rock-ist mythology just below the surface), “Down and Out on Chickenly Blues” (thumbs down jaunty rundown of charity rock meme), “You Are What You Will” (high-speed Crowleyan buffoonery) & “Rag The Holy Man” (sort of Doors-without-the-leather-trousers-PiL’s-Religion-for-late-blooming-poetry-stoners) – which we believed expanded on and furthered the TMMP envelope. Sadly, however, we’d run out of money, so these songs were never released. Honing our art with the welfare state picking up the tab, like virtually all other bands of the era, but with various enterprise allowance enabled schemes going tits up, meant we lacked the funds to self-release again, and in the absence of actual record company hard cash, there the matter unfortunately rested…..we were running out of money, time and patience.
Shakedown for the Territory

We’d finally had enough. Well fucked and out of puff by this time, and in our mid-late twenties, we bit the bullet. And after a particularly enervating affair at the Cricketers supporting some horrid indie band or other, we toasted the embers and went our separate ways. The group returned to Bristol in morose silence, pausing to drop me off on the corner in a Neverwhere-type London with which I was still unfamiliar. A transit van door may even have been slammed.

At the height of McAllistermania, in late '87 after the release of the EP, there were rumours of major label interest, but these rumours never amounted to anything, impetus was lost as group members started in on family rearing, and the group eventually folded under the weight of frustrated ambition, nerve-shreddingly desperate support slots, and the need to seek satisfaction elsewhere. The tide in the time of men, late '87 into the beginning of '88, when belief was unlimited and expectations high, had certainly not been taken at the flood, and the time was now categorically over. Frank, Andy and I continued to “jam” occasionally, in a vain attempt to re-discover the magic/re-animate the corpse, but the truth is that the corpse was already cold. However, on the plus side, offspring were appearing, other priorities/opportunities/escape holes were manifesting themselves for some, probably all, of us…….
size-medium wp-image-947" />
The Levitation Day Letters

Only one of us (Frank) still occasionally lives in Bristol, returning enriched from Tirana having cleaned up in property speculation after the fall of communism, and is now a watcher of the skies as well as a producer of esoteric radio programmes for the BBC. Mark translates technical manuals (and erotica) from Polish into English and back again in Kraków. I still dabble in music, using computer technology to make up tunes, and when not balling the ute down the wide open roads, write postcards from the edge in Perth WA. Andy has been rumoured (for the last 25 years) to be living in one of the old anarchist communes in Andalucia, though no-one will say anything definite about it, while Chris was, at last sighting, rumoured to have gained his PhD in the doctoring of noize (sic)……

Stormtrooper Interview – Vents Magazine

Friday, May 27th, 2016

Can you talk to us more about your album “Pride Before A Fall”?

Yeah, it’s an album that unfortunately never saw the light of day. We had ‘Pride Before A Fall the single’ released on Heartbeat Records in 1980, and it did quite well, we made two further visits to studios in Bath and Bristol and recorded a cross section of our stuff that we thought would secure us a record deal, 10 tracks in all. Heartbeat were based in Bristol as well, but they were primarily a punk and new wave label. They mainly produced singles and unfortunately passed on the idea of releasing an album. So we had to look further afield. We had no manager. We were musicians, we had no management skills and we found it difficult to promote the band and our music outside of Bristol. And just two months after we recorded our last two tracks, things fell apart and our 5 year journey came to an end.

stormtrooper-resized

How did this album get lost in the shuffle and how did you find it?

Bob and I paid for the studio sessions and the masters. The band were given cassettes at the time, we should have had access to the 2″ masters that were kept at the studios and copies of the 1/4″ tapes. The 2″ masters were destroyed when the Studios closed in the late 80′s. And we had no idea what happened to the 1/4″ tapes. About five years ago I was approached by a German label, they were aware of the band through the single and heard a couple of other tracks I had uploaded to YouTube from one of the old cassettes. On the strength of that alone they were very keen in releasing an album. We sent them what we could, but they kept asking for better quality raw material which we didn’t possess at the time. I also felt a bit precious about my songs and dealing with a company in Germany wasn’t an ideal situation regardless of how much money they were offering up front and things just petered out.

Enter Mike Darby and Bristol Archive Records?

Yeah, I got a call out of the blue from this bloke who had the original 1/4″ tapes which contained 4 tracks from the first session at Crescent Studios in Bath. He had got them from Simon Edwards who owned Heartbeat records. I was astonished! He asked if we had anything else, I said we did but I didn’t know if it could be salvaged. Within a couple of days of that telephone conversation by pure coincidence Bob was clearing out his attic and came across a pile of unlabelled 1/4″ tapes. We borrowed an old reel to reel player, and amongst other things they contained 4 tracks from the missing second session from Crescent Studios and a further two tracks recorded as SAM Studios in Bristol. Mike Darby picked up the tapes along with an acetate and a cassette I had. And we waited with anticipation. The restoration and remastering incidentally was carried out by the same guy that engineered the original session at SAM 35 years earlier! The results were incredible it was like stepping back in time, I swear they sounded better than they did all those years ago. And only one track from the three sessions didn’t make it. We now had a brilliant album and a locally based Record company we could work closely with. Happy days.

How was the recording and writing process?

We didn’t have a lot of money and we needed to get things done quickly. The songs were supposed to be and to a certain extent still are demos. The album was recorded in just two Saturday mornings and one Sunday afternoon. I’d say out of the nine tracks only two were second takes and one of those was because of a technical issue! The rest were all first takes. I think maybe Bob overdubbed a little feedback on one track and we had a bit of wind and thunder added on another track. But it was basically a live recording in a studio environment. Apart from a little tidying here and there, there’s not a lot more we would have done to them anyway, In fact I love the spontaneity and urgency found in the tracks. The songs were written over a 5 year period with two different vocalists. I was a little bossy when it came to writing. The longer tracks I wrote, were quite complicated and I would present them to the band in sections at rehearsals sometimes over a period of several weeks. No internet then! There are a couple of tracks on the album born out of Bobs riffs, I would then frame them musically and Paul or Nigel would do their thing and write the lyrics. I was quite lucky to be given a free rein, I’m sure they would have kicked me if I’d got it wrong though.

The album plays with different styles – does one tend to shine the most depending on the lyrics’ theme?

As I said the songs were written over a period of time and obviously as a writer and as musicians we were evolving and improving all the time. Our musical tastes were heading in different directions as well. And subsequently our music is not easily categorised. That’s why this album is so brilliant. It’s so diverse but nothing is out of place. There are commercial songs and songs with such weird time signatures and structure it would take a good musician a month to work them out and there’s everything in between. It’s got everything. But as a collection it really holds together, because of our approach and delivery. I love every aspect of it.
Bob4
What role does the 70s plays in your music?

To answer that question I really need to go back to the 60′s melody was everything then, I loved The Beatles and The Beach Boys. But The Kinks and The Small Faces, combined attitude with melody, which was something at a tender age and coming from a rough neighbourhood I latched onto. The first band I ever saw was Montrose with Sammy Hagar in 1974 and a little later that decade Zeppelin and Rush. All three bands had an affect on my thought process when it came to writing.

Any plans to hit the road?

We are all doing different things musically now, but if the album does well who knows?

Anything else happening next in Stormtrooper’s world?

Yeah, we have a dozen or more songs from the Stormtrooper days that didn’t make it to the studio, and we are at present rerecording them. We’re also trawling through live recordings of the band with a view of putting out a live album. It all depends on how ‘Pride’ is received, but the recordings deserve to be released one way or another and I’m sure they will.

Interview conducted with ‘Boggy’ Bond – Bass – STORMTROOPER
(Taken from the forthcoming Interview in Vents Magazine)
boggy2

Mojo 4/5 album review for Rita

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Rita Lynch Anthology 4 out of 5 Mojo album review

Stormtrooper’s press guy speaks

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

Here’s what Stormtrooper’s press guy had to say about the forthcoming ‘Pride Before A Fall’ album to be released in August via the Bristol Archive Records imprint:
“It’s a little bittersweet. Such a shame that the band didn’t pick up the recognition that they deserved. But it’s a killer record. I was a bit surprised to hear the more proggy aspects. The album spans from Rush to Dio to Zepplin and back again, great stuff!”
You can order in advance now from the record shop
boggy-paul-bob

Bristol Roots and Culture Wire Magazine

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Bristol Roots Explosion Wire Mag June 2016

Louder than War album review ‘Rita Lynch’

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Rita Lynch Story To Tell 7 out of 10 Louder than War album Review May June 2016

Interview: Rita Lynch

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

If you’re a fan of great music and have a modicum of knowledge about the local scene then Rita Lynch should need no introduction. A highly regarded live performer she has a new anthology covering her career so far (Story to Tell (Anthology 1988 – 2011)) brought to us by those splendid people at Bristol Archive Recordings. The album is being launched at the Thunderbolt on Friday 6th May and Rita took time to answer a load of questions for us prior to the show.

What was the first record you ever bought and where did you buy it?

The first record I bought was Slade. Merry Xmas Everybody from Woolworths.

What was the most recent record you bought and where did you buy it?

I can’t remember the most recent, it’s been years since I had a record player.
What record do you stick on the deck to sooth your soul?

I don’t play records any more but the song I play a lot lately to soothe me is Peggy Seeger, Swim to the Star.

Have you bought a record on the basis of a great single and then been disappointed by the rest of the album? If so, tell us all about it…
Rita Lynch Photo one

Yes, Oasis with Wonderwall and the album was terrible, I loved their first album, Definitely Maybe, but the second was very disappointing.

What record do you turn up to maximum to get in to that party mood?

It changes a lot but recently has been The Saints, Know Your Product.

If we had the ability to land you at the recording of one classic LP so you could witness the whole recording process, what would you choose and why?

Patti Smith recording Horses, I’d love to hear what she had to say in between recording those songs and just to watch her would be amazing.

Ever bought a record solely because you liked the sleeve? If so, what was it and did it delight you or disappoint you?

No.

Oh no, your house is burning down and you can only rescue one record! What would it be and why?

I have so few records that I wouldn’t bother with them, but I’d try to get my Telecaster guitar out if I could.

What’s your favourite record sleeve? Tell us all about it (and whether or not the music gives you as much pleasure as the sleeve).

One of my favourite record sleeves is The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan and I love the songs as well; it’s an all-round absolute hit.

Morbidity alert: what record(s) would you like played at your funeral?

The End, by the Doors (the beginning bit only) and a couple of songs by the Brian Jonestown Massacre from Revelation and Amazing Grace; one of my own: It Feels Like the End of The World.
Rita Lynch photo two
Looking back, what were both the best and worst things about being a musician when you started out?

One of the best things was my own youth and belief that I could really “make it”. One of the worst things was my own lack of knowledge of the music business and how to go about making it happen. Also one of the best things was my belief in music itself as a worthy and moral useful thing to do with my life. One of the worst things was the sexism towards women at that time.

And by contrast what are the best and worst things about being a musician right here, right now?

One of the best things now is I have confidence in what I do. I find it easier to write songs but no longer have absolute faith that there is a whole lot of point in song writing any more when so much about the music world is not about if your songs are any good but how well you can promote yourself and “big yourself up” to get attention. It’s become a “bragger’s paradise”, but then the whole social media thing is a great platform to show people your work and the “open mic” thing is a great way for anyone to demo their songs.

How important do you think artwork is for bands in these digital days?

Artwork is always important.

The N.M.E., Kerrang!, Mojo, Classic Rock – how important is print media to a working band in the age of social media?

Absolutely as important as it ever was, anyone can be a bit of a star on social media but getting something in a magazine is a true commendation.

Speaking of the digital world: vinyl, CD or download – what’s your preference?

I think it means more to have a physical album on CD or vinyl with the artwork as well. But if you want to hear a certain song then it’s by any means possible. I still use tapes and record on a tape machine so whatever it takes really.

How does it feel to look back over your career as anthologised on the new recording?

I am really happy that Mike Darby has put out this Anthology. I feel proud of my staying power and the fact that I have written so many songs over the years. I have enough songs to do an Anthology 2 and 3 and I have nearly finished recording a new album to be released later this year. I hadn’t quite realised how many songs I’d written over the years. It’s not bad for a life’s work and I continually write songs at the moment – it’s a bit like a CV. Also I’ve written a longer biography for this album, with much more detail than any before. It is very honest. It has made me remember the days of punk and the young woman I was then; of how important it has always been for me to be myself and find my uniqueness even if it is not currently trendy or fashionable. And has reminded me, again, of why I do music.
RITA Lynch Story to Tell packshot
If you could hop back in time, is there any single key choice you’ve made that you’d like to change, and if so, what & why?

I wish I had been more confident when I first started. There are things I regret but, I’m still here writing songs, doing music and still gigging. I love singing, especially since stopping smoking. It still feels new and exciting, I am more hopeful now than I’ve been in a long while.

Women in the music business have come a long way since Billie, Janis & Aretha; do you think women artists now have true equality with their male counterparts?

Women artists do not have true equality with men. They have the equality that men allow them. The same as in every other aspect of life. A lot of changes still have to happen. Both men and women have to look in to their own hearts, to be open and honest about these inequalities. It is not an easy task but I am hopeful.

What’s the best thing about the Bristol music scene…?

The best thing about the Bristol music scene is its diversity. Having lived in St Pauls for over 30 years I really appreciate the mix of cultures and ethnicity that is reflected in the music here.
…and keeping it positive, what would you say needs the most improvement in the scene?
I think more cheap venues would be good with bands playing every evening.

How has the music scene in town changed since you first started out (assuming it has changed in any significant way)?

It has changed and evolved as everywhere has in the last 30 years. I think there are more bands in Bristol now than there used to be.

Do you think Bristol is a good place for a band to launch a career, and if so why…and if not, why not?

I think Bristol is as good a place as anywhere to launch a career. With computers these days it’s not so important where you are located as long as you have a strong presence on the internet. And, as in so many other areas, it’s not so much where you are as who you know.

What have been some of your most memorable gigs in town?

One of my most memorable gigs in town was Sound City in about 1993 or 1994. I played on Castle Park; it was exciting – John Peel was there. Playing at the Fleece as part of Ladyfest in 2003 or 2004 when the Gossip headlined; playing at the Bierkeller when I was filmed for Channel 4. All these gigs stand out but there have been so many. Playing at Ashton Court Festival was always great.

We’ve lost some great venues over the decades (the Granary, Western Star Domino Club, the Dugout etc.); anywhere that you particularly miss?

The Western Star Domino Club was totally great, a really cool venue, The Malaap was great for a while.

Outside of town people have a perception that it’s all trip-hop round these parts; but Bristol has always had a wildly eclectic scene (the Brilliant Corners to Onslaught; the Seers to the Blue Aeroplanes), what’s your take on outside perceptions of the Bristol sound?

People always will focus on the bands that gain success and fame because they’re the bands they hear about. The Blue Aeroplanes have been very successful as well but don’t tend to get the same recognition.

Building on that question, is there anything that you think makes the scene here unique?

I used to enjoy the squat gigs, they were always so exciting and allowed many people a platform to start from. My first band ever, Rita and the Piss Artists, played mostly squat gigs. There was always such an air of excitement and possibilities at those shows. Maybe it was the same in other cities, but at the time I felt it to be unique to Bristol. It’s a shame it’s all become quite corporate now.

Would you care to mention a few of your favourite local bands – new outfits to check out, under sung acts from the past and any defunct groups worthy of resurrection?

So many bands, too many to mention but, from the past, God Bless You were brilliant – intense and dark, brilliant melodies. They were like the Bristol sound before the Bristol sound was invented.

So we’re finally getting an arena…probably. What’s your view…what impact do you think it will have on the musical landscape?

Artists on my level rarely get to play in big venues like the proposed Arena. I suppose it will make a few rich people even richer.

Pix: Jens Holm
Taken from and © http://www.bristol247.com/channel/culture/music/interviews/interview-rita-lynch-part-2