July – September
19th July – Dean Saunders becomes the most expensive footballer to be signed by an English club when he joins Liverpool in a £2.9million transfer from Derby County.
We used to get random people calling in at Ultimate all the time. The bell would ring and I’d walk down the dark corridor to see who was on the other side of the front door. European distribution companies, photographers, the bass player from a band, one of my brothers, someone who used to know Maurice, someone looking for Andy and unsigned bands with demos. The Werefrogs were from Port Chester, New York. They flew to London and went to all the record labels they loved, dropping off this wonderful 7″, ‘Pearl Baby Flower‘. It had been released on their own, Part-Trance label in the States the year before. The three band members came into our little office and stayed for a chat and a few laughs before heading on. Intrigued, we put the record on straight away, and thought it was great. The Werefrogs had lined up a few gigs, including The Falcon the next night, so we all went.
‘Screamadelica’ was still a few months away but the Primal Scream gig at Leicester Square was off the scale. Andy Weatherall djing, Primals in full euphoric mode. So many people we knew were there. Math and the Dodgy boys, Tara from 5:30, Paul Shroeder, Rob and a few of our clubbing friends. Somehow we ended back at Ben from Curiosity Killed the Cat‘s house. We shared a cab with Lawrence from Felt, who Danny knew through Cherry Red. (Martin Duffy, Primal Scream’s keyboard player was also in Felt). All of Primal Scream were there, it was a great party. I had to go home for a shower and some coffee and then straight to work – luckily Andy Winters had also been there, so we knew to treat each other gently all day!
This track in particular always takes me back to seeing them at the Empire Ballroom.
Hearing Weatherall play this was pretty epic too.
8th August – John McCarthy a British hostage held in Lebanon for over five years is freed.
I wasn’t earning much working at Ultimate. About £100 a week. At this stage Maurice and Andy were funding everything themselves. I didn’t mind as I loved the work and it was obvious things were happening. The mixture of Maurice’s keen business sense and Andy’s ear for A&R was working. Maurice also knew when a band was worth signing. He had been the drummer in the Love Affair when he was 16 and had been number 1 in the charts! They were a great team.
Now Danny and I were sharing the flat in Stoke Newington with Shelley and Andy, our living costs were very low. I didn’t have to pay to get into any gigs as I was always on the guest list. I didn’t have to buy many cds as I was usually able to get sent them by the record companies or agents. Danny was earning more than me at Cherry Red and so, between us, we were able to save enough to get away for a couple of weeks in August. My wonderful friend Clare P. came with us and we headed off to the island of Poros in Greece. Landing at Athens and then getting the ferry over.
Sunshine, swimming, eating and no rock and roll!
When I returned it was full on again as it was time for the Reading Festival.
The only band from the label to play in 1991 was The Belltower, who played on the Friday night on the Mean Fiddler stage. Andy and I got the train down from Paddington station.We bumped into music journalist David Cavanagh who Andy knew from their days at ‘Sounds’ together. David was currently writing for ‘Select’ magazine and we shared a table on the 30 minute journey with him. Andy was staying at the Ramada hotel in Reading so we had a drink or two in his room before heading out to the festival. Hall or Nothing did the PR and were in charge of the guest entrance. Sally Johnson was there, it was probably the first time I’d seen her since the Paris trip. We had guest passes and also knew everyone on the gate, so the vibe was already fantastic. I knew loads of other people back stage and Danny joined us later. The Belltower played to a large enough crowd and were on great form. We left after the headline acts and drove back to my parents’ house, about a 30 minute drive. Stayed the night and headed back to London the next day.
30th August – Rioting breaks out on the Ely council estate in Cardiff.
September – Gordon Roddick and A. John Bird launch the Big Issue, a then-monthly magazine to be sold by homeless people in response to growing number of rough sleepers on the streets of London.
3rd and 9th September – Rioting breaks out in Leeds, Oxford, Birmingham and Tyneside.
September started off with the new Levitation release, ‘The After Ever’ e.p., including ‘Firefly’ . If you own a copy of this very limited edition 7″ single – it was me who numbered the sticker and then put that on the sleeve! Once again, we got Single of the Week.
17th September – Neil Kinnock hits out at claims that he is to blame for his party falling behind in the opinion polls, sparking speculation that John Major will call a general election within the next two months.
Dodgy were recording and gigging all the time. They signed a publishing deal (following their record deal with A&M) by making the two publishers – Virgin and BMG – who were desperate to sign them play a game of table football against each other! They signed to BMG.
They released their second single, ‘Easy Way’.
We used to go to gigs at U.L.U. on Malet Street off the Tottenham Court Road loads. I saw a band from Liverpool called Top play there one night and I thought they were going to be massive. We had booked The Frank and Walters who were from Cork and signed to the brilliant Setanta label to headline The Buzz Club in September and I invited Top to support.
Friday 13th September – The Frank & Walters and Top plus my band, Signified played The Buzz Club
Mark Sutherland was a Buzz Club regular and usually enjoyed the music I made. I had a new and very short lived band called Signified who were first on that night. Mark wrote this review for ‘Due South‘ magazine – Mark soon rose through the music journalist ranks, editing ‘Melody Maker‘ and later, ‘Music Week‘.
‘….woman who has had more to do with shaping my musical taste then anyone, except John Peel’ Thanks Mark!
The Belltower also released a new record in September. The ‘In Hollow’ ep, featuring ‘Lost In Hollow’ – again the sticker was numbered and stuck on by me! These releases were all coming out on cd, 12″ and limited edition 7″.
We got another Single of the Week from ‘Melody Maker‘. We were getting plays on the Radio 1 evening shows and on regional alternative shows plus the videos to both releases were getting regular plays on MTV 120 Minutes.
September 1991 was a magnificent month for music releases. First up and about to change modern rock for ever, this came out on the 10th.
‘Nevermind’ followed a few weeks later – amazingly it was released on the same day as this…..
At last ‘Screamadelica’ was out!