The New Icons is Liverpool’s Tony Hart‘s latest musical concoction. The name being a cheeky nod to his first band Iconoclast (aka The Icons).
During the Spring/ Summer lockdown, Hart composed, produced and released a ten track album of new material from his home studio under the title Electric Ghost Graffiti.
Work on the follow-up to Electric Ghost Graffiti is currently and is currently scheduled for release Spring 2021.
As lockdown drags on, the prospect of being able to go to gigs again seems a long way off, but with vaccinations being ‘promised’ by July, maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel and bands like The New Icons will be able to make plans and play gigs again. If this is so, we expect this will be like taking the cap off a shook up coke bottle and, after all this solitary existence, we expect them to explode across Liverpool’s surviving venues.
Ahead of all this however, we caught up virtually with Tony Hart and asked him 13 questions. Read on to find out more about play arguments, guilty pleasures and human contact.
1. Where are you and what are you doing? How is that working out?
“Firstly, thank you Sun 13 for having me, I don’t usually do interviews but it’s nice to be asked.
I have this Saturday routine which involves wearing my comfy (scruffy) clothes & watching the days football while noodling about on an acoustic guitar. It’s quite chilled.”
2. How have you been coping with the lockdown?
“Lockdown has been mad hasn’t it!? Generally speaking I’m quite lazy anyway & do enjoy my own company – but too much of anything is never good. I’ve missed hugging other family members most (& going to the local of course).
It’s been quite a productive & cathartic experience for me though, I’ve had the time to write/ record music which I normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to do given the distractions of the outside world.”
3. Who is the nicest ‘celebrity’ you’ve met?
“I don’t really subscribe to the cult of celebrity to be honest. Having said that, I do get a slight child-like buzz on occasions where I’ve shared drinks with former Liverpool FC players. I’m not one for asking for selfies or kissing-arse though.”
4. When did you last get into an argument?
“I get into ‘play arguments’ daily with the Mrs. I’m a big wind-up merchant & my recent theme has been sharing with her some of this ‘conspiracy’ stuff currently doing the rounds. I’m actually middle-ground/ on-the-fence with it all, I don’t really know either way. Some of it is interesting & some of it is bonkers.”
5. What’s your favourite food?
“Lasagne, Salad (with chillis in), Coleslaw, Garlic Bread, balsamic vinegar & a bottle of Shiraz. You’ve made me hungry now!”
6. When did you last consider quitting social media?
“I consider quitting social media daily, but it’s a good way of keeping connected when used in moderation.”
7. What’s the best night out you’ve ever had?
“The best night out I had lasted eight years, from the age of 15-23. I don’t remember most of it but some of the stories I’ve heard sound brilliant.”
8. How would you describe yourself?
“I’d like to think I’m a laid-back calming influence when it matters, quietly passionate, cheeky & good company.”
9. What words of warning would you give your younger self?
“I’d advise the younger me to appreciate my Mam more while I still could (sorry that’s quite heavy, but very true).”
10. When were you last told off?
“Same as the earlier answer to the 4th question I suppose, on a daily basis for the same reasons.”
11. What has been your favourite decade for music?
“I always pick the 60s as my go-to decade, I love absolutely loads from then, deffo my fave era.
I’ve previously always slagged off the 80s but the older I get – the more I’m finding out I may have been hasty (some of the production from then sounds dead cheesy though).”
12. What band or record changed to course of your life?
“This answer can come in four stages:
Sgt Pepper is the main one, it blew me away as a kid that it was all one band doing so much varied stuff. I stole the cassette tape of my Dad’s & played it constantly. Still do, I’ll never get bored of it.
A guilty pleasure was an Aerosmith compilation I asked for at Christmas when I was about 10 years old (maybe that made me want to play guitar initially), probably after being exposed to their videos on MTV – when it was actually a music channel. I listened to it again for the first time in years during the summer & it’s actually alright, silly hair a-side.
Morning Glory was a big one, some great tunes & seeing these fellas who were working-class northerners that you could probably walk past on the street made me & my mates think that we could have a go of being musicians too.
The Stone Roses debut is a really magical one for me – our gang discovered this after it being referenced in Gallagher brothers interviews & reviews. When we first started a band we wanted to be The Roses & would play the album start to finish whilst learning our instruments.”
13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
“There’s no way we can experience another collective shit year like this again is there, so everybody look forward to next year & try to keep a positive outlook.
Hopefully a lot of us have realised what is truly important in life & materialistic things aren’t. Human contact & sharing love is what it’s all about. Look after each other.”
Catch up with The New Icons on Facebook and on their website.
The Ponderosa Glee Boys sprang out of the late 70’s Eric’s crowd and have since achieved a cult status as one of Liverpool’s great lost bands.
Encouraged to start a band by none other than Jayne Casey, Ponderosa Glee Boys emerged as purveyors of fine post punk. Rooted more in the Public Image Ltd school rather than the New York/Velvet Underground influences of much of the Liverpool scene bands at the time, the Glee Boys stood out.
For a while, all was going well. Managed by the inestimable Doreen Allen, gigs at Eric’s, Brady’s and the Royal Court gave people a chance to catch them live and they signed to Inevitable Records, home of fellow scenesters Wah! Heat.
But there the good luck stopped and the band petered out. Unfortunately, Inevitable went bust before any records could be released, their singer left and the Glee Boys soon split up.
However, some high profile gigs and a lack of recorded material proved to be a potent mix for creating a mystique that kept the band in the minds of those involved in Liverpool’s music scene at the time.
Then, out of the blue, The Ponderosa Glee Boys reappeared in 2018, to play a series of gigs in December of that year. This was made considerably more complicated by the fact that singer Carl Eaton now lives in Australia. The logistics involved here are enough to make most bands throw in the towel, but as we have seen, the Glee Boys are made of sterner stuff.
Having got back together, they decided against rehashing their old set, which was now over 40 years old, and instead bravely elected to write and rehearse a completely new set of songs. In three weeks. And then play it live to a crowd of discerning old Eric’s punks.
And, to their eternal credit, they made a stunning job of it. Those songs, once road-tested and worked on were then recorded for their long overdue debut album, Awake.
There is a common enough story that sees bands taking a far too long gap between recording albums; Stone Roses and Stereo MCs can claim five and eight years respectively between debut and their follow-ups, while Guns n’ Roses Chinese Democracy famously came 15 years after its predecessor.
But Ponderosa Glee Boys had to wait a colossal 42 years before their debut album was released. The joy, vindication and hunger was evident in their gigs. They had waited a long time for this and their gigs were a release of pent up kinetic and creative energy the likes of which I have witnessed few times in my life.
Guitarist Mike Mooney is incredible, as his pedigree (Spiritualized, Massive Attack, Echo and the Bunnymen) would lead you to believe. He is able to sound like three guitarists at once and give PGB an enviable wall of sound.
Bass monster Phil Hartley and drummer Mark Robson provide a superb rhythm section, tight and with just the right amount of groove and attack.
2019 saw the band back for another visit to District in what was fast becoming a festive tradition, before the COVID-19 pandemic sadly put paid to this year’s Glee Boys spectacular.
But, all has not ground to a halt for The Ponderosa Glee Boys. Carl has been busy down under creating a set of new songs, meaning we won’t have such a long wait for Awake’s follow up.
After taking such a long time to get their debut out into the world and after starting to again build up some momentum, second album Demigods of Bedlam will be with us as soon as pandemics permit.
In the meantime, Sun 13 can present the fruits of Carl’s labour so far in the form of five demos for album number 2.
The songs are a progression from Awake and differ in tone and ambition.
Carl says that “They sound a little different than if the band were playing on them, and I’m no Mike Mooney but I’m happy with what I’ve played and the overall direction the songs have and where they sit. The second album should see us move forward and keep trying to create a sound that our current environment represents, so I wasn’t scared to try a different approach with them in the studio.”
It looks like the brave attitude that saw Awake take shape is also the driving force behind Demigods of Bedlam, and that can only be a good thing.
Here at Sun 13 we are awaiting this with barely contained hunger. The Ponderosa Glee Boys have come back from the brink to become one of Liverpool’s best bands and we have our fingers firmly crossed that 2021 will be their year.