April – June
The first release on the new Planet Dog Records was the incredible, bouncy techno of Eat Static and their album ‘Abduction‘. I had been sending promo copies around for review and it was going well. Both the ‘N.M.E.’ and ‘Melody Maker’ now had dance pages, written by the two Bens. Turner at ‘Melody Maker’ (who would later manage Rob Da Bank and be partly responsible for setting up Bestival) and Wilmot at the ‘NME’. The crusty, dance, indie, dance scene was strong.
Merv and Joie of Eat Static, were also in the psychedelic Somerset band, Ozric Tentacles. When I wrote the press release, this auto corrected to Ozric Testicles which I noticed, unfortunately after photo copying 200 sheets but luckily before posting them out.
Lisa’s diary (Sidi Bou Said’s manager)
Bull & Gate gig – Elle Interview – Liz 7pm – Andy, Maurice, Jo, John Kennedy (DJ) on guest list
The Werefrogs released ‘Potvan’ (Topp 15) on 7″ retailing at 99p, in a wrap round sleeve and on pink vinyl (or ‘limb coloured vinyl’ as the ‘NME’ called it in their review).
Tues 6 April – Elle Photo shoot 10am. Metro Studio 44 Pear Tree Street EC1 (Old St) also with Lovecraft and Voodoo Queens. Jo and I had terrible trouble finding this place, a warehouse studio, and were therefore rather late.
Submarine had gone to Elephant studio in Wapping, to record their debut album with Keith Cleversley producing. It was a very intense session, Keith and the band made a pact that they ‘would spend every day completely wasted on something’ according to Neil Haydock, main songwriter and singer. This could be Bombay Sapphire Gin….or stronger if called for. ‘We did twenty one days. No day off. Fucked. Ha ha ha’. Some nights the band slept in shifts on the floor of the studio. They drank at the Prospect of Whitby pub where bass player Rob got mistaken for Ricky Ross (Deacon Blue) by a London tour guide who came over specifically to tell him how much she’d enjoyed the show at the Hammersmith Odeon!
Ricky Ross not Rob
Submarine borrowed gear from Jem from The Pogues, and my Fender Jaguar ‘We wanted deliberately shit guitar sounds not massive fuck off Les Pauls through Marshalls‘ explains Neil.I had organised Submarine their first Peel session which they recorded a few weeks earlier. It was broadcast while they were at Elephant on 24th April. Neil remembers listening to it ‘in the studio, standing on a grand piano. Peel got Keith’s surname wrong and called him Keith Clemenski and he was then and forever will be, that’
This was released on 5th April
Newly signed Senser had been in the studio recording their debut, soon to be released single, ‘Eject’. Here’s what their producer / band member Haggis recalls:
‘It was the first time any of us had been in a proper studio. We tracked the demos in a friend’s house in Cirencester and I mixed them in some little place in Camden. Can’t remember the name. We sold the demos as a cassette EP called “ Phut.” We were booked in for 2 or maybe 3 days at Loco Studios in Wales. I have no idea why the van- driven by Andy – had to come from deep South London to pick me up in Tufnell Park, but that was the plan. It arrived 4 or 5 hours late and I was fuming. We didn’t get down to Loco until really late that night and I think the lovely engineer- Robin – had been waiting all day for us. We recorded ‘Eject‘ and ‘Don’t Lose Your Soul‘. I was completely green, so Robin pretty much ran the session- I think we got all the instruments down in one take pretty much and then took the next day to get the vocals down. I mixed the tracks with Brian Pugsley, who I knew through my old band Sleeping Dogs Wake, at Protocol Studios in Holloway. I’d got him in as he knew his way around the studio stuff really well and had a bank of samplers and outboard effects that I wanted to get my hands on. I’d already programmed up the tracks for the industrial remix of ‘Eject‘, with samples from the Waco David Koresh massacre and a Carlos The Jackal airplane siege (all light and fluffy stuff), and we sampled and flew in the vocals from the single version. I think we did a remix of ‘Don’t Lose Your Soul‘ too, but I don’t think it made it to release..?’
Early Senser photos kindly sent to me by bass player James Barret, (sitting on the right hand side of the van roof).
Lots of the bands I was working with were in the studio at this time, including Dodgy. They re recorded the song that had originally got them noticed on Gary Crowley‘s Demo Clash and released it as a single on Bostin’ / A&M.
Takes me right back as soon as I hear the intro….the fabulous ‘Love Birds‘.
Our American signing, The Werefrogs, continued to play live to promote their ‘Swing’ album, which had been released early in the year. They played this great gig, one of the London Calling series, at the Paradiso in Amsterdam. Nice line up, also featuring The God Machine and Moonshake.
24 April Danny and I decided to walk back from a night out at the Gardening Club in Coven Garden. It was chilly, but the early morning sun was rising and we were still in high spirits from all the dancing and talking. We lived about a forty five minute walk from Central London, in King’s Cross / St. Pancras, WC1. and were surprised to see our road, Judd Street, cordoned off with a few policemen standing around. The I.R.A. had hijacked a cab driver and got him to leave his taxi outside the newsagent’s on the corner of Alexandra Mansions, where we lived. It had a bomb inside and there had been a small explosion a couple of hours before. No one was injured, but the windows of the nearest flats had blown in and we saw the blackened road and burned out cab. We talked to the police who let us through and up into our flat.
On the 2nd May, I went along to The Falcon in Camden, with Matt from The Werefrogs to see Mark Eitzel‘s band American Music Club. The venue was heaving, they had played there the previous month and would soon be headlining the far larger Astoria in London’s West End. It was incredibly tense. Mark Eitzel is a very raw, honest performer and when someone shouted something he didn’t like in one of the more intimate songs, he actually started crying as he kind of told the guy off. I really didn’t know what to make of it, I felt upset on his behalf, but also felt it was a somewhat over the top reaction. Matt said he’d seen the exact same thing happen when he’d seen them live in the States the previous year. I was more baffled – fake or just ridiculously sensitive? I decided the latter. An incredibly passionate performer, digs deep. I feel lucky to have seen American Music Club live.
The excitement in the office had been building. Senser had finished their first recordings and I had been sending out promos to press and radio. It had been going down really well, this band were going to be very big, it was obvious.
‘Eject’ by Senser (Topp 16) was released on 4th May 1993 Heitham had shaved his head and looked amazing.
‘You can sue me for malpractice…’
Wed 5 May in studio, also Lime Lizard Interview 2-2.30pm. And Jo + Sidi Bou Said meeting 1pm
Blur released ‘Modern Life Is Rubbish’. Here they are performing ‘For Tomorrow‘ on Gary Crowley‘s show ‘The Beat‘.
Danny and I were both working at great indie labels, Ultimate in my case and Cherry Red in Danny’s and we were able (with a little help from my parents) to buy a basement flat in Highbury. Extremely exciting.
Martin and Jess helped us move all our stuff over from Alexandra Mansions to Highbury. It took much longer and was much harder – up and down stairs, in and out of the small lift, into the car, back up – than we all expected and I am forever grateful to them. When we had got everything in the new flat – we had no furniture so we sat on the floor and Danny and I got some Indian food and wine for us to share. It felt wonderful. Our own, very cool, basement flat. The first thing we did the next morning was, of course, set the record player up. We played the Rolling Stones loudly as we unpacked boxes. We got asked if we could turn it down when we bumped into our elderly upstairs neighbour for the first time. Sorry Sheila.
I loved Highbury. We had the Highbury Barn pub and a row of lovely shops and small restaurants along from where we now lived.
Terry Bickers announced his departure from Levitation onstage at the Tufnell Park Dome in north London on 14 May 1993.
‘Abduction’ reviews were starting to come in:
“Optimistic, easy access, out-of-body Techno – this is one flying saucer that cannot be wheel-clamped” – Roger Morton, NME 8/5/93
“They have a knack for uniting opposing moods: dance delirium and tripped-out tranquillity for instance. Try it on the sofa, try it on the sound-system” – Andy C, DJ Magazine 20/5/93
“Boundaries are being dissolved by records like this” – Ben Turner, Melody Maker, 8/5/93
Sidi Bou Said -Mon 10 May Lime Lizard photos 5pm Johnny Greg Deodar Road SW15 -Sun 16 May video 9am (garden of house in Marsala Road, Lewisham. where couple of SBS lived)
Here is the gorgeous angular pop of Sidi Bou Said ‘Three Sides’ (Topp 17) which was released on 24th May.
Also on 24th May 1993, Dodgy‘s debut album was released. Among a host a brilliant reviews, Iestyn George gave it an 8/10 half page review in the ‘NME’. Happy days indeed.
Here’s another fab clip of ‘The Beat’, with Dodgy playing live.
Sidi Bou Said Sat 29 May . Radio Thamesmead session. (John Kennedy)
Tues 1 June – Vox interview Paula. Lee’s house 11.20am. Lee & Claire. Also SBS 93 in Gallup chart, 10 in NME, 12 Melody Maker.
Ultimate Records was based on Royal College Street in Camden, just opposite The Falcon. There was a rehearsal studio near by and a squat where various bands hung out round the corner. As such, lots musicians would wander passed or into our offices all the time. I often used to bump into Justine and Donna and heard about their new band, Elastica. Justine stopped for a chat one day and said they were about to play their first gigs and could they play The Buzz Club? I knew she used to be in Suede and that she was currently going out with Damon from Blur but most importantly knew she was cool, I liked her and so of course said ‘yes’. I offered them the support slot with Kinky Machine on 12th June 1993.
Although Kinky Machine had a bit of a following, (we had around 125 people in), historically, this night was all about the support band. John Mulvey from the ‘NME’ came down to give them their first live review, and he got it spot on.
Here are Kinky Machine, recorded again on ‘The Beat’, a couple of week’s after their Buzz Club appearance.
Lisa’s diary –
Fri 18 June SBS headlining Powerhaus , +Animals That Swim + Bandit Queen
We were still going clubbing loads, either at The Gardening Club or one off events like, Sign of the Times and Pushca.
This tune is a classic.
This Indie Chart run down from ‘The Chart Show’ was pretty exciting, Sidi Bou Said at number eight (part of a scene with the Voodoo Queens, also in this run down) and Senser at number one! Also featuring Bang Bang Machine, who would later sign to Ultimate, at number six. A great Saturday morning watching this! I had sent the various betamax tapes during the week but still didn’t know for sure if they would be shown or what their chart position would be.
And as June came to a close, it obviously meant it was time for another Glastonbury adventure. In 1993, both Dodgy and Senser played.
I had to stay and man the office on the Friday, so went down after work. Andy had phoned me and asked if I could bring the petty cash tin contents with me – £75.
Danny and I arrived late but still managed to go out into the darkness and mayhem of the festival and enjoy ourselves. The weather was mixed. It was sunny when we arrived but the next day was cooler and wet. This meant I wore my leather trousers and left my cut off denim shorts in the tent. After another day and night of revelry (oddly including watching The Orb from the top of a hill, where the lazers were but the sound was too far away, before deciding it would be better to head down so we could actually hear it. Stawberries were popular at this Glastonbury) , we returned to the tent when the sun was already warm and in the morning sky. Something instantly felt amiss and as I unzipped the front and looked inside, I realised everything had been stolen. It was an awful feeling. I had been so looking forward to washing my face and hair and getting some sleep! The one bit of luck was that my denim shorts were gone and not my leather trousers, plus I’d handed Andy the £75 cash that morning. If we had been robbed on the previous night, that would have been an awkward situation. We walked around, looking for our stuff, not really knowing what to do. We found some of our clothes chucked away and trampled on and eventually followed the trail to a huge, mountain of rucksacks thrown into a pile by one of the fences. That year became famous as the one where thousands of people broke in (we saw loads coming in through a hole in the wire that afternoon) and ran amok, stealing. There were stories of Stanley knives getting used to cut into tents, with people in them, thieving hands grabbing and running. The next year the festival put up a huge fence and some of the hippies thought it had ‘lost the vibe’.
I sat in the heat of the breaking June day, in the midst of the vast campsite with a friend who had just split up with her boyfriend and wept, as did she. After a while, we knew we had to carry on, so went to the General Store, purchased skin cleanser and shampoo (‘time for a freshen up?’ the lady selling them to me said, which made me cry again) and headed back down into the festival.
Senser were playing the ‘NME’ stage, so that’s where I headed. The sun was beating down by now and poor Johnny Cigarettes, the ‘NME‘ journalist, had some factor 50 sun cream – everyone seemed to notice and asked for some, his container soon ran dry – luckily not before I was able to cover my face with it.
Senser were on fire and everyone went crazy. My troubles were soon forgotten.
This is a great Senser interview with Paul King / MTV plus some of the gig –
These 1993 images are from the Glastonbury website.
I found this lovely footage on YouTube.