Posts Tagged ‘bristol’
Recorded in a basement studio, Ghosts is a manifesto of work spanning a five year period.
The band were in no hurry to produce your average throw away sing along but, rather hell bent on making a record that would stand the test of time. The four piece group from Portishead, near Bristol in the UK, definitely contributed to shaping what is now known as the Bristol sound with their domineering live presence and stellar reputation as professionals in their field.
Airbus take you on a vivid dream-like journey through unpredictable, surreal twists and turns to arrive at ultimate clarity and realization.
Yes, guitars, bass and drums tastefully back the velvet vocal tones to create melancholic harmony but, like the chameleon, the band’s multi instrumentation is also ever present as they push and pull the boundaries of contemporary British rock music.
They had cut their teeth in Bristol’s blooming music scene during the early and mid 1990′s and were fortunate to be invited to reconstruct a song by their critically lauded and commercially successful contemporaries, Portishead, for a USA release showcasing the band’s unique style.
Having spent a lifetime’s career, at that point, of playing live shows, Airbus then embarked on what would become a five-year marathon in the studio. They were meticulous about preserving the original ideas for each song written. There were several studio engineers that came and went but, Airbus’ attention to detail resulted in them becoming four very competent recording engineers themselves along with a huge catalog of quality compositions.
Ghosts is a refined and complete album that sits at the top of a mysterious, creativity-crammed volcano, that is active and bound to erupt at any time!
Airbus are : Nicholas Davidge – Vocals & Guitar, James Childs – Guitar & Vocals, Simon Hedges – Bass and Christopher Fielden – Drums
Additional instrumentation : Glockenspiel, Korg micro preset synthesizer, Fender Rhodes, Hammond organ, upright bass, Roland Space Echo and acoustic guitar.
STAMPEDE, LAUTREC and STORMTROOPER
Plus the Andy Fox rockshow
THE EXCHANGE, OLD MARKET, BRISTOL
SATURDAY MARCH 11TH 2017
In aid of ‘Save the Children’
Three of Bristol’s most legendary heavy rock acts are getting back together for a special charity show, offering local fans the opportunity to see them on stage for the first time in decades. Stampede and Lautrec will be joined by the city’s pioneering New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) act Stormtrooper at the Exchange on Saturday, March 11th. Helping to recreate the authentic vintage Bristol rockin’ vibe, the Andy Fox Rock Sound System will be pummelling eardrums with carefully selected classics.
Staged in aid of Save the Children, the gig comes hard on the heels of the commercial and critical success of Bristol Archive Records’ latest compilation The Bristol Heavy Rock Explosion. This was described admiringly by Classic Rock magazine as “a welcome antidote to the simplistic official narrative” of Bristol music.
Stampede were one of the most musically accomplished melodic rock bands to come out of Bristol. Founded in 1981 by vocalist Reuben Archer and his talented guitarist stepson Laurence, they signed to Polydor and played the prestigious Reading Festival, where they recorded a live Official Bootleg album. This was followed by the excellent Hurricane Town. After a long period of inactivity, Stampede reunited in 2009 and released a new album, A Sudden Impulse. Back in December, they played at the Hard Rock Hell NWOBHM festival with fellow Bristolians Jaguar.
Formed way back in 1977, Lautrec was Reuben and Laurence’s previous band. They toured with Saxon and are fondly remembered for the single Shoot Out the Lights/Mean Gasoline. The band also initially featured the young Clive Deamer – later of Portishead and Radiohead – on drums. A demo of Mean Gasoline can be found on The Bristol Heavy Rock Explosion. www.bristolarchiverecords.com
Stormtrooper were one of the unsung greats of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. They’re now finally receiving the appreciation they so richly deserve following the belated release of the ‘lost album’ Pride Before a Fall on Bristol Archive Records. Indefatigable band founder Bob Starling went on to form the classy Hunted in the 1990s. Their Fallen Angel collection has also just been released by Bristol Archive Records.
Digital album released today.
Sometime in the mid 1990’s just before a rash of bands that became known as ‘GFB’s’ (girl fronted bands) appeared I picked up my guitar and wrote some tunes, Some proper tunes. The kind of songs that last three minutes, are played on bass, guitar and a drum kit and have verses and chorus and a middle eight. This collection is most of those songs. At the time Deb’ Haynes, ex singer with the wonderful Flatmates and I were living together. Just around the corner lived drummer and multi instrumentalist Jez Butler (Groove Farm, Beatnick Filmstars, The Twelve Hour Foundation) and Rupert Taylor (Groove Farm, Girl Boy Girl ). We were CAKE!
After some encouraging noises from local promoters (thanks to Dave Brayley and Merv Woolford) and a nice mention by John Peel in his Guardian review of Sound City in Bristol 1995, we spent some time in the rehearsal room and did some recordings. You will hear hints of The Small Faces / The Kinks / The Who / Neil Young and that’s no accident. We were happy with the results and duly sent of our lovingly prepared C60’s to labels / press / agents etc. Guess what happened. Nothing. Zilch. Zero. Oh well never mind.
We carried on swapping bass players several times until we found Ian Green (Fuzz against Junk). We played some great gigs. Some not so great and have the songs here to show for it. Listening back I think they still sound good. I hope you enjoy them.
(Howard Purse – May 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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