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13 Questions

13 Questions with Candy Opera

Candy Opera are making plans. Despite the lockdown and the lack of gigs, with all its attendant threats to the future of venues and the people who work in the industry, the band have released new single These Days Are Ours and are readying for the release of their new album, The Patron Saint of Heartache .

As fans of the band will already know, these releases represent the first new music from Candy Opera in 35 years. For fans of smooth, superior pop/rock this is good news indeed.

These Days Are Ours is a wonderful song and tells us that The Patron Saint of Heartache is likely to be one of the events of 2020. We all need something to feel good about at the moment, and Candy Opera are here to do just that.

Before the album’s release, Sun 13 caught up with singer Mal and bass player Frank and subjected them to a set of our 13 Questions, Read on to find out more about bunking in to the Liverpool Empire, quitting social media and getting legged as a hobby.

1. Where are you and what are you doing and how is that working out?
Mal: “
Making things out of wood… not quite sure what… just discovered sawing, sandpapering, screwing in, nailing… my new interest. I never thought 2-by-3 could be so interesting and as for tool kits well, that’s just sex.”
Frank: “I’m lying in bed recovering from a heavy week of golf fishing and drinking in Scotland with my mates.”

2. How have you been coping with the lockdown situation?
Mal: “Been working right the way through it so, not much changed for me. I live a very frugal life and ten o’clock shutdowns I thought had been in place for the last 20 years.”
Frank: “Lock down is driving me crazy, lots of conspiracies. Not sure what I believe anymore.”

3. Who is the nicest ‘celebrity’ you’ve met?
Mal: “I’m in love with Paul Simpson, he’s been a hero of mine for years. Also, Phil Jones… funny man, really nice guy… love to spend an afternoon in the pub with him.
I must say, my next door neighbour, Pete Best, is hard to beat. Also, my brother-in-law was in Frankie Goes to Hollywood but he’s my brother-in-law so it doesn’t count. How many names can you drop in one question?”
Frank: “Paul Simpson of the Wild Swans is the nice guy music.. very warm and sincere.”

13 Questions with Paul Simpson: “I’m drinking a celebratory glass of red because I have just signed a contract with a famous literary agent.”

4. When did you last get into an argument?
Mal: “I argue every day in work. I upset people very easily. It’s an art. I think I’m funny but only in my world. Let’s move on.”
Frank: “I get in to arguments every day such is life and my job. Never with the band as we all grew up together.”

5. When did you last shout at the TV?
Mal: “My god, I do this a lot nowadays. When the Salvage Hunter drives across the country, picks up two lamps and a chair to put in his new shop, then says, “That should pay for the trip!” That makes me shout. I’m thinking, I’m in the wrong game… should be selling s*** to the rich, telling them it’s all in the patina.”
Frank: “I’ll be shouting at the tv today when Liverpool play Leeds United.”

6. When did you last consider quitting social media?
Mal: “That’s a question. I find it difficult… promoting myself as a product. I don’t really use social media for myself, mainly for the band, and it makes my skin crawl saying, “look at me! look what I do!””
Frank: “I consider quitting social media every day as it gets a bit boring seeing pictures of peoples dinner and cats.”

13 Questions with Come in Tokio’s Phil Wylie: “I was told off last week for being too considerate a lover.”

7. Did you have any hobbies as a kid?
Mal: “Hobbies were a no-no when I was a kid. If you made something somebody would stand on it and say, “Don’t be doing that”, making a fool out of me. Getting legged by gangs of lads became a hobby.
I got in the Anfield Comp. cross-country team, then ran for Liverpool Harriers. Proper Forrest Gump. Maybe that’s why I’ve turned to wood work in later life.”
Frank: “My hobbies as a kid were drawing, collecting match boxes and beer mats.”

8. What was the first gig you went to?
Mal: “Twisted Nerve, a local punk band. First proper gig was The Boomtown Rats at The Empire but that was just a warm up for The Jam at Deeside Leisure Centre… changed everything. I thought about music, the atmosphere, the fear, the emotion… just great… got battered but even enjoyed that.”
Frank: “My first ever gig was Hawkwind at the Empire 1978 or 9.. I never had a clue who they were. My mate Bob Collins was into them and persuaded me to bunk in with him.”

9. When were you last told off?
Mal: “My kids tell me off all the time… mostly for breathing.”
Frank: “I’m married so I get told off every day. Don’t know how my wife Sandra puts up with me.”

10. What’s your first memory?
Mal: “
Getting lost in Stanley Park and the police bringing me back home… and I remember going to St. Domingo Church which was the home of Everton and Liverpool Football Club… I remember a daffodil garden inside.”
Frank: “My first memory was playing in my cot catching a ball.”

11. What’s your guilty listening pleasure?
Mal: “
Candi Staton, Young Hearts Run Free… love that song. Gladys Knight and the Pips, Leaving on a Midnight Train to Georgia.”
Frank: “My guilty pleasure is country and western. I never liked it, but it reminds me of my dad who was my hero. He passed away in 2015.”

12. Vinyl, CD, MP3 or Streaming?
Mal: “
Two friends set up my record player years ago, put it in the back room, but for the last few years it’s become a kind of clothes maiden so, only buy CDs but want to get back to vinyl. Mp3s and streaming… what is the point?

The greatest thing about vinyl was the feel, the writing on the sleeve, the lyrics inside, being able to hold it, putting it on the record player, waiting to hear the first notes above the crackles.”
Frank: “Vinyl.”

13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Mal: “
Thank you for listening to the ramblings of an old man. Next up in the therapist chair is… John Cooper Clarke springs to mind… I’m not your psychoanalyst. I’d rather talk to mice. Cheers.”
Frank: “These days are our. Thank you x”

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News

Candy Opera release new single These Days Are Ours

While some bands get a fair slice of the cake, others seem to be denied a place at the table for no discernable reason.

Just last night, Sun13 towers had a soundtrack of Thomas Lang to go with our Saturday night Malbec and the discussion turned to why, in a world where Sade can be massively successful and amass a 50 million pound fortune, is Thomas Lang not a household name.

The answer is as cruel as it is true – talent is not always enough.

In the music business, the cream does not always rise to the top and success seems to be as much down to lucky breaks and prevailing fashions as it does to talent or quality.

One band who have suffered this more than most is Candy Opera.

Taking their cue from the likes of Pale Fountains, Love and Aztec camera, Candy Opera made smoothly superior 80s pop music with soul.

Other bands loved them and Candy Opera supported the likes of The Pogues and The Go-Betweens. The media loved them, with great reviews in Sounds and Jamming magazines, along with a slot on Granada TV.

But for whatever reason, none of this seemed to stick, and Candy Opera split up in 1993, leaving only a few demos to prove their existence.

An astonishing 35 years later, Firestation Records heard these demos and fell in love with them. A long overdue phone call was made and Candy Opera’s debut album, 45 Revolutions Per Minute was finally released.

The album sold out almost immediately due to their legend growing in their absence.

Now Candy Opera are ready to release new album The Patron Saint of Heartache and lead single These Days Are Ours can be heard below.

The song is a classic slice of epic, widescreen pop music. It is also proof that talent does not disappear when we grow older.

These Days Are Ours starts with the line “All the best things of your life will pass you by in the blink of an eye“, a line made more poignant given the back story of the band.

The song casts an atmosphere of summer and, listening as the sun streams in through the windows, is as perfect a song as we’ve heard since, oooh I don’t know when.

If the rest of the album is as strong and skillfully executed as this, then Candy Opera’s indian summer could be just around the corner.

If this is the case, there would be a sense of justice being done and a wrong being righted.

These Days Are Ours and Candy Opera deserve a wider audience. Let’s get behind this record and demonstrate that sometimes talent can win out and the good guys can win.

Personally, I hope we see Candy Opera finally get their place at the table and get their slice of cake. They deserve it.