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Live

Caribou Photo Gallery – Liverpool Invisible Wind Factory 20/10/2021

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13 Questions

13 Questions with SPINN

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News

The Burning Hell announce Ormskirk and Liverpool dates

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Live

Shipbuilders @ Kazimier Stockroom 04/09/21

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Live

Vistas @ EBGBS, Liverpool – 25/08/21

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News

Stephen Cole awarded grant to hold Indoor Toboggan Sessions series

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Lost Albums

Dalek I Love You: Compass Kum’pas – “one of post-punk’s genuine masterpieces”

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13 Questions

13 Questions with The New Icons

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.”

Read our other 13 Questions features here

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.”

13 Albums We Missed in 2020 – Part 1

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.

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Album Reviews

Jettison the Past – Yorkie Retrospective Reviewed

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Albums News

Ponderosa Glee Boys prepare for their new album

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.

Doreen Allen Interview: How did you feel when Eric’s closed down? ‘Oh, destroyed. Many people moved away when it closed down.

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.

Iggy Pop at Liverpool Eric’s: Shock was part of the currency of the early punks and, in Iggy, they had inspiration of sorts

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.

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13 Questions

13 Questions with The Room in the Wood

The Room in the Wood are clever buggers. Their latest album We’re the Martians, Now  is one that will work is way under your skin and into your subconscious and, once there, will stay with you for a long time.

We’re the Martians, Now is an album that repays repeated listens by revealing it’s many layers. Personally, I have always been a fan of albums that grow on you, that have something going on under the bonnet, as I think these have a musical and emotional intelligence.

Happily, they are often the albums that you end up loving the most, something that will certainly be the case with We’re the Martians, Now.

Things get off to a good start with Diamond Clouds, featuring a riff and groove kind of halfway between the Rolling Stones and The Verve.

There is a lack of studio trickery here that places us almost in the same room with these songs. Dave Jackson‘s voice particularly is left bare and quite high in the mix. The result is an honesty that makes the songs more beautiful and more expressive and that provides an intimacy missing from more over produced songs.

This isn’t to say that We’re the Martians, Now is under produced, just that the production sounds as if it was approached with a view to capturing the band as they are.

The Room in the Wood are a band I find it hard to draw comparisons to, to identify where their influences come from. There are a few hints here and there that the band may not have even countenanced. Hints of Johnny Cash or a more pastoral Nick Cave maybe.

It is also hard to pinpoint an era that feeds in their music. Stowaway has a 50’s elegance to it, while Blue has an air of 90s shoegaze.

Album highlight Shimmer is the kind of song that lodges itself in your head and refuses to move.  “Does it get any better? It could always get worse” croons Jackson over a delicate and haunting guitar line.

Other songs such as Fun of the Fair show that The Room in the Wood can take things up a gear and rock out when they want to. There is a vein of rockabilly that runs through their songs when they do this.

Dragonfly takes us again in a pastoral direction, complete with flute intro, acoustic guitar and an almost 60s pychedelia-like whimsy about the whole thing.

We’re the Martians, Now is an album that exists outside of current convention and fads. It is also one that will repay the investment of your time.

Sun 13 subjected The Room in the Woods’ Dave Jackson to a set of our fiendish 13 Questions. Read on to find out more about flat earthers, riding a bike and calling Dominic Raab a cunt.

1. Where are you and what are you doing? How is that working out?
“It’s the morning of 4th November and I’m in my office in the Redmonds Building at LJMU, using a day free from Zoom teaching to finish a chapter for an academic book on Screenplay Adaptation. I’ve got till Friday to complete an account of the development process that went into adapting, filming and editing the 105-minute low-budget feature film that we released in 2017 from my 100,000 word fantasy novel, Violet City.

I’m using this questionnaire to prevaricate and also to distract me while simultaneously listening with trepidation to US election results as they come in.

One of your earlier questions to a previous 13 questions participant was ‘When did you last shout at your TV?’ Before I left for work this morning, I screamed ‘Cunt!’ at Dominic Raab as the smug Tory arsehole refused to comment on or to condemn Trump giving his speech prematurely calling an election victory and claiming that Democrats were committing electoral fraud . The present state of affairs has me in a perpetual state of indignant anger.

I’ve been coming into the largely deserted University building to use my office computer’s webcam for teaching sessions. The zoom sessions, though scary at first, seem to have been going well. But, it’s all a bit weird and I do worry for students unable to interact in anything like a normal manner.”

13 Questions with Pete Wylie
“I’m an artist. And I’m a well educated intellectual in disguise as something else.”

2. How have you been coping with the lockdown?
“My mother became seriously ill in late February and was taken from hospital to a care home just as lockdown kicked in. We were able to have phone conversations with her, a few zoom calls, and one be-masked outdoor meeting during the summer before she took ill again and died in hospital at the end of September. We had to wait nearly a month to have her funeral without most of our family present. 

Being unable to play live to promote The Room in the Wood’s LP ‘We’re the Martians, Now’, which came out just after lockdown kicked in was a pain. It also meant we didn’t get our records into shops, but everyone is in the same sieve as far as that’s concerned.

The early weeks of lockdown went fairly smoothly. I started doing long walks and then I bought a bike. I hadn’t ridden one for about 30 years, and after a few wobbly incidents, I took to cycling like a cat to water.  But I did miss beer and meeting up in pubs and such.

Recently, things have begun to really get grim. News of the deaths of Andy Wilson and Hambi  really hit hard. Both were lovely men. Andy played keyboards with me with John head, and Tim O’Shea and recorded the Red fin Sunset album I did with Robin Surtees and Greg Milton. He also played on several songs on the first The Room in the Wood album.  I’ve know Hambi since the late 70s. 051 played an Eric’s gig with TonTrix in 77 and I made a short film with him in 2004 when he first started getting into filming.”

3. Who is the nicest ‘celebrity’ you’ve met?
“Not fond of the words ‘nice’ or ‘celebrity’. However, nice can mean sharp and, back in the mid-80s, Television’s Tom Verlaine seemed like a famous person to me – does that count? When he agreed to produce songs on The Room’s In Evil Hour album, I was thrilled. He didn’t suffer fools gladly, but he was friendly and helpful with me and the band, even giving Becky Stringer the moniker Boozy Becky for some obscure reason. I seem to recall that we bonded over a mutual love of the works of Raymond Chandler, Dashiel Hammett and James M Cain.”

4. When did you last get into an argument?
“It might be easier to ask ‘when didn’t I?’ Something I should probably curb. When you’re young, it can seem like ‘attitude’. In later life, it can come across as simply bitter and twisted. But I do have a real problem with religion, superstition and conspiracy theories of all kinds. So God Botherers and Flat Earthers beware.”

5. What’s your favourite food?
“Egg, Chips and Beans or Chicken Fried Rice. I can’t decide.”

6. When did you last consider quitting social media?
“Nearly every time I look at it. I started doing it because of the music stuff, really. But once you’re in – you’re in. It’s the only way I know of informing people about my endeavors.”

7. What’s the best night out you’ve ever had?
“If I could remember that, it might not count as the best night.”

8. How would you describe yourself?
“An introverted extrovert, who may have been born a few drinks under par.”

9. What words of warning would you give your younger self?
“Don’t expect friendship and loyalty to be reciprocated in the same manner that you give it. Choose your battles carefully and try not to be so intense in your attitudes when it comes to essentially meaningless matters of taste. Oh, and never eat anything bigger than your head.”

10. When were you last told off?
“I’m telling myself off as I write.”

13 Questions with Paul Simpson: “Be magnificent.”

11. What has been your favourite decade for music?
“1970 to 1980 –  From Ride a White Swan to Atmosphere. T. Rex, Bowie, Roxy Music, Hawkwind, Lou Reed, Television, Patti Smith, Talking Heads, The Only Ones, Wire, The Fall, Joy Division. Glam Rock to Post Punk, if I have to choose. But loads of ace stuff before and since.”

12. What band or record changed to course of your life?
“Marquee Moon by Television inspired me to want to be in a band, and seeing The Fall for the first time gave me an understanding that an anti-showbiz stance and a way with words could be a pathway to a sort of weird transcendence.”

13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.  Is there anything else you’d like to say?
“I might have blathered on enough. But cheers for the opportunity.”

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13 Questions

13 Questions with Pete Wylie

How do we describe Pete Wylie? Maverick? Glorious pop star? Liverpool’s best songwriter? All of these are true but only really scratch the surface of a Pete Wylie’s legend.

He is one of the class of 76, who found his path irrevocably altered by attending Eric’s just as the ripples of punk had reached the provinces. Some of the stories from this time include him turning up to Eric’s wearing a toilet seat around his neck, threatening Julian Cope on the dance floor and being given a guitar by The Clash’s Mick Jones with the advice “pay me back when you’re famous.”

Wylie was part of the ‘imaginary band’ scene of the time, where members of the Eric’s inner circle would meet up and talk about putting band together, but pretty much leaving things at the discussion stage, with some bands only existing in the minds of the people sat around a table in the Armadillo Tea Rooms.

13 Questions with Paul Simpson: “Be magnificent.”

Eventually some of these bands took things further and actually got some instruments and even wrote some songs. One such band was the much talked about, short lived and prophetically named Crucial Three, which also boasted Julian Cope and Ian McCulloch in their line up.

Eventually though, Wylie really hit his stride with Wah! Heat. Wah hit the ground running with their first single being the seminal Better Scream and the classic follow up single, Seven Minutes to Midnight.

Wah’s biggest hit. Story of the Blues, saw Wylie take his epic, widescreen pop to number three in the charts, also scoring chart hits with Come Back and his solo hit Sinful.

Wylie’s voice, songs and ambitions were heroic in scope and have provided us with some of the most perfect pop moments in history.

Sun 13 managed to subject Pete Wylie to one of our 13 questions features. Read on to hear more about the Dunning-Kruger effect, CB radio and being an intellectual in disguise.

1. Where are you and what are you doing? How is that working out?
“I’m at home in Disgraceland, rueing the day my lecky bikes were stolen, and recording a song/video for The Florrie’s ‘feed the kids’ appeal. It’ll be online by the time you read this so, you can decide how that’s working out..”

2. How have you been coping with the lockdown situation?
“There are aspects of the way things are that suit me. Time on my own can be productive, but too much opens the Pandora’s box of the brain. I’m earning nothing either, but that is something I’ve become accustomed too, so will ride it out.

Hell is other people, as Jean-Paul Sartre said. And seeing the conspiracy covidiots skunk odoured shite makes me very angry.

The cosmic right wrong‘uns have a problem with understanding simple stuff. Like: two things can both be true at the same time. Like lockdown is vital AND the people in power can be useless scum at the same time. Dunning-Kruger in full effect.”

3. Who is the nicest ‘celebrity’ you’ve met?

“Who are ‘celebrities’? My definition differs from most. And if someone is ‘nice’, I couldn’t care less if they’re celebrities or not. Same goes if they’re horrible.”

4. When did you last get into an argument?
“I get into arguments every day, both in and out of my head.”

5. When did you last shout at the TV?
“I shout at the telly every single day. The news, the adverts, the crap, the missed sitter…”

6. When did you last consider quitting social media?
“Right now, I’m assessing daily. Facebook will be the first to go, but it’s where I get to talk to people lately, and tell people what I’m doing, so it’s a dilemma.

Where do we go when the online interference gets too much? CB radio won’t replace it.”

7. Tell us a secret.
“I’m an artist. And I’m a well educated intellectual in disguise as something else…”

13 Questions with David ‘Yorkie’ Palmer: “I have a problem with the word celebrity”

8. How would you describe yourself?
“LoudQuiet. Like a Pixies song. {they got that off WAH! y’know. Gil Norton is the mixing link…]”

9. What words of warning would you give your younger self?
“Don’t listen if someone claiming to be you comes from the future to give you a warning. You already know everything…”

10. When were you last told off?
“I tell myself off all the time. But I’m learning not to be so hard on myself.”

11. What has been your favourite decade for music?
“Without a doubt the seventies; for being there, for living it, for learning, for Bowie, for punk, and for all the great music/ films/art, and for the visceral thrill of lived experience.

But I’m glad I’m here now.”

12. What band or record changed to course of your life?

“First Bowie. I’d been into him since Tony Blackburn had Changes as his record of the week on Radio One, but Starman/ Ziggy catapulted me into obsessive love. Saw him and the Spiders December ’72, and that was it for me.

Then The Clash, differently and directly, and especially Mick Jones who was about the first person who ever had faith in me and encouraged me, and I love him for that till the day etc. And Complete Control is one of the GREAT records.”

13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
“Firstly thank you. Secondly, see what you can do to help your fellow humans. finally, my motto:

GIVE A SHIT OR BE A SHIT. PWx”

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13 Questions

13 Questions with Paul Simpson

When punk burst out of London and into the provinces back in the late 70s, a schism developed quite quickly.

 There seemed to be two ways to go when it came to forming a band. Firstly there was the standard thrash approach popularised by the 2nd wave of punk bands, such as The Lurkers, and the UK Subs, and secondly there was a more arty approach, demonstrated by the likes of The Slits, Siouxsie and the Banshees and even Sex Pistols.

Liverpool’s punk bands leaned very heavily in the direction of the latter. The city shied away from the more basic approach, initially at least, and instinctively headed in a more interesting direction.

Echo and the Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explodes and Wah! created music that was imaginative, inventive and intelligent. This soon came to be known as post punk, but it was all just punk to us at the time.

It seems like a very Liverpool thing to do, to take the less obvious path, the path that has more artistic merit , rather than take the easier road more travelled. It is this approach that made the city such a fascinating and vital city when it came to music, it is also something that has filtered down through the decades ever since and has made the city remain such an important place on the musical map.

The Teardrop Explodes and Club Zoo: Success was theirs to lose, but drugs, guilt and mental deterioration seemed to make deliberate failure a much more likely prospect.

One of the creative souls that made this happen is Paul Simpson, as a member of some of Liverpool’s best and most legendary bands, such as Industrial Domestic with Will Seargeant and A Shallow Madness with Ian McCulloch.

He was also a founder member of The Teardrop Explodes, playing keyboards on their excellent first single Sleeping Gas, before leaving to start the indescribably wonderful Wild Swans, as well as finding the time to form Care with Ian Broudie.

The Wild Swans have released three albums and the same number of compilations, and all of you who have yet to hear these records are urged to do so as soon as is humanly possible.

As if all of this wasn’t enough, Paul has also released albums under his own name and as Skyray.

While all the above may be a fairly dry run through the life and times of Paul Simpson, a more colourful and involved account will soon be available in his memoirs, which it is hoped will see the light of day in 2021, along with another Wild Swans album.

Before all this, Sun 13 spoke to Paul Simpson and asked him 13 questions. Read on to find out more about first gigs, getting told off and being weaponized with whisky.

1. Where are you and what are you doing and how is that working out?
“Its 2:22 on a Monday afternoon and I am sitting at my desk in the study at my home in Waterloo, Liverpool. The sun is streaming in and illuminating half a dozen memory sticks and a stuffed crow on my desk.

I’m drinking a celebratory glass of red because I have just signed a contract with a famous literary agent. Only took me 20+ years. If you’d asked me the same question this time last week, I’d still have been drinking a glass of wine, but I’d have been drowning my sorrows.”

2. How have you been coping with the lockdown situation?
“I was coping really well until about a month ago when I realised I’d gone mad without noticing. Mild lockdown agoraphobia morphed into a few poisonous weeks of hating everything and everyone.

Anything could trigger me. Posts about Covid, Trump and Bojo. People’s mind-bogglingly obvious received taste in art and music. New packaging on a Crunchie. I’m better now. Smiley faced emoticons to the moon!”

3. Who is the nicest ‘celebrity’ you’ve met?
“Nicest celebrity? Roddy Frame of Aztec Camera. A total gentleman.

Back in 1991, he arranged to join Ian McCulloch and I in a London pub. Roddy walks in wearing a beautiful camel overcoat over his shoulders like he’s Marcello Mastroianni or someone, goes straight to the bar and brings back triple brandies and cigars for us all.

Sitting down he tells me he used to have my photo from the Teardrop Explodes days on his teenage bedroom wall back in East Kilbride. When I protested, he blew my mind with ‘Where do you think the name Aztec Camera came from? Your song – Camera, Camera’. Cue me fainting.”

4. When did you last get into an argument?
“Last Christmas when I was out buying presents in Liverpool town centre. Some stocky student looking guy appeared out of nowhere and just shouted Aaaaagh! in my face. He was daytime pissed and showing off to a girl he was with.

I calmly told him why fucking with strangers on Merseyside wasn’t the best idea he’d ever had. He didn’t like being fronted and squared up to me, threatening to deck me. He had about 30 lbs on me and 30 years age advantage but unfortunately for him, I was weaponised. Faced with the full bottle of Laphroaig I’d just bought, he literally speed-walked away. Backwards.”

13 Questions with Come in Tokio’s Phil Wylie: “I’ve been rummaging through boxes containing photos, cassettes and DATs from my Come in Tokio days, laughing, cringing, loving”

5. When did you last shout at the TV?
Every single night. Not at politicians so much as at overrated actors or weak dialogue.

6. When did you last consider quitting social media?
“I nearly left Facebook over Brexit. I couldn’t believe that not only some of my online ‘friends’, but people I actually know in the real world were proudly boasting of voting-in this fascist-friendly new dark age.”

7. When did you last make yourself do something you didn’t want to?
“1975”

8. What was the first gig you went to?
“I tell everyone my first gig was Roxy Music at Southport Floral Hall in 1974, but it was probably Hawkwind at the Liverpool Stadium the year before. They had their topless dancer Stacia performing on stage with them. I was 13 or 14-years old. You can imagine my delight.”

9. When were you last told off?
“About a month ago. Some thousand-year-old Basil Fawlty told me off for walking in the wrong direction down the biscuit aisle in Sainsburys. Because they kept changing the rules, I hadn’t noticed the supermarket’s latest version of Covid direction arrows on the floor.

He looked so frail pulling his tartan shopping trolley, I decided not to chase him with a bottle of scotch, but instead I adopted the fiendish Discordian tactic of over apologising to the degree he looked scared.”

10. What’s your first memory?
“My first memory is almost crying my spleen out in my high-chair because I was teething and my sister wouldn’t give me the free toy that came in the Corn Flakes box. ‘Don’t give it to him Mum. He’ll chew it’! It was a plastic spaceman and I wanted it very badly. Eventually she gave in and Goop! Straight in my mouth.”

11. What’s your guilty listening pleasure?
“I never feel guilty listening to music, nothing is forbidden in my world. Because that’s not the answer anyone really wants, I’ll go with the Lycra euro-disco genius of ‘Spacer’ by Sheila B. Devotion.”

12. Vinyl, CD, MP3 or Streaming?
“Vinyl for its warmth and for the sheer ritual of the static cling, changing sides and for the chance for the artwork to really help inform the way you listen.

Because my car has no Bluetooth facility, I play CD’s when driving and mp3’s when I’m out for a run. I had a fantastic ye-olde I-pod ‘shuffle’ moment at 8am this morning when running on Crosby beach. The sun was rising over Seaforth docks just as the massed saxophones of ‘Hit The North’ by The Fall segued into the delicate genius uplift of Mama Cass’s ‘Make Your Own Kind of Music’.

It was so beautiful and filmic that I ran to the top of a dune in a victorious salute to the sun. More Pee Wee Herman than Rocky Balboa I grant you, but it’s the thought that counts.”

13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
“Be magnificent.”

Categories
13 Questions

13 Questions with Come in Tokio’s Phil Wylie

When I was a young, impressionable sort of chap, inexperienced in the ways of the world and just dipping my toes into the world of playing music, I thought that all a band had to do to make it big was to make good music.

Time has robbed me of this delusion however, because, all too often good bands are allowed to fall by the wayside and the fame, fortune and legend that is rightfully theirs is denied them. There are many reasons for this, such as fashion or money, but a lot of it comes down to pure dumb luck.Some bands get the breaks and some bands don’t.

One band who didn’t get the breaks was Liverpool’s Come in Tokio. The fact that fame was not to be this does not diminish the fact that the music they made was some of the best to be committed to tape. In fact, to those in the know, it adds to their legend. Come in Tokio have become a legendary lost band. A band who should have made it but who instead have a special place in the hearts of those who know them.

My own first exposure to the wonderful music they made was on John Peel’s Radio 1 show. Come in Tokio recorded three sessions of four songs each, featuring such classics in waiting as Say You’ll Never Go Away Again and Nature Call. Their sound was huge in scale and ambition, driving, epic and emotional rock anthems whose natural home should have been on stage in front of increasingly bigger audiences.

After such exposure, it should have been a done deal that Come in Tokio were snapped up by the record companies that had started to circle the band, but for whatever reason, this never happened and the expected breakthrough fell away.

But the worth of a song, and of a band for that matter, is not measured in terms of records sold but is instead measured by the worth of the art they create. And in that case, Come in Tokio are one of the most successful bands I have ever heard.

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Sun-13 spoke to singer/guitarist Phil Wylie and asked him 13 questions. Read on to find out more about life in lockdown, raiding the archives and seeing Ziggy Stardust with Ian McCulloch.

1. Where are you and what are you doing and how is that working out?

“New Brighton, in isolation with nearest and dearest (3 of us), feeling loved. It’s a strange time for all as we see humanity at its best and at its worst.”

2. How have you been coping with the lockdown situation?

“Trying to remain philosophical, though frustrated at times, always hopeful things will get better sooner rather than later.

Before lockdown in March I was gigging 1,2,3 times a week, my week usually consisted of prepping the forthcoming gigs”

3. What have you been up to recently?

“I’ve been rummaging through boxes containing photos, cassettes and DATs from my Come in Tokio days, laughing, cringing, loving, listening to a wide variety of music (mainly 60’s and 70’s). Discovering things I missed first time around and rediscovering old favourites.

I don’t tend to go out as I spend my working life in pubs and clubs. The lockdown has stopped that routine and to fill in my time and to alleviate boredom I’ve been on a journey to find old Tokio stuff, pictures, songs etc. purely on a sentimental journey.

I found stuff I never knew I had, so I put them on computer to dick around with speeds, tones and frequencies, which has been laborious but interesting for me and occasionally learning some additional songs by others to include in future gigs.

I’ve been shielding during this time for myself and for my wife who is recovering from successful cancer surgery. So in truth, apart from not being able to gig, things ain’t that much different in our household other than less money coming in.”

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4. When did you last get into an argument?

“Had a real ding dong with a hotel in Southport over a parking fine about 5 years ago.

Generally, if people think differently to me, that’s their truth, I do draw the line at racism and Tory supporters but all my family and friends are like minded so it doesn’t occur.”

5. When did you last shout at the TV?

“Today, Matt Hancock. Emphasis on the cock.”

6. When did you last consider quitting social media?

“I haven’t, because I’m not selling or promoting anything I just dip in and out to stay in touch with friends.”

7. Did you have any hobbies as a kid?

“I was football and cricket nut. Also, our mum worked at Birdseye and was in something called the record club so for a small fee my brothers and I would choose and collect 3 singles from the charts each week.”

8. What was the first gig you went to?

“David Bowie, the Ziggy tour, Liverpool Empire 1973. I was a fan after seeing Starman on TOTP, my brother asked for a ticket from our parents, it was given on the condition he would take me and included in our group of four who went was Steve Spence, the drummer in The Crucial Three and Ian McCullough.”

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9. When were you last told off?

“What day is it today….I was told off last week for being too considerate a lover.”

10. What’s your first memory?

“Two strong musical memories on hearing We can work it out by the Beatles and Reach out I’ll be there by The Four Tops, even as a kid they both blew me away and left me with emotions I didn’t understand.”

11. What’s your guilty listening pleasure?

“I understand the question but I have none. If people think differently, fuck ’em.

As a kid Herman’s Hermits, but before Bowie, Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney and in the late 80’s  Harry Connick Jnr.”

12. Vinyl, CD, MP3 or Streaming?

“CD and streaming YouTube.”

13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.  Is there anything else you’d like to say?

“Thanks Banjo. Buy low, sell high.”

Categories
13 Questions

13 Questions with Zee Davine

Flashback. 2018. I am at The Liverpool International Music Festival at Sefton Park, reviewing the weekend’s events for a local magazine.

Much of my time was spent at the It’s Liverpool stage, given over to new local bands. There was a parade of good, worthy bands of all kinds and, in truth, it was easy to write positive reviews all round for this display of upcoming talent.

But then, Queen Zee took to the stage and suddenly everything changed.

They burst onto the stage like a sparkly pink hand grenade, a riot of noise, colour and power. The whole audience simply could not take their eyes off them, they had such energy, such verve, such fucking power that, within seconds, all the previous bands were made to look like the boring, clumpy, lead-footed dullards they suddenly were.

Queen Zee were that good, that different and that important.

They had that much sought after attraction, star quality. This isn’t something that can be taught or faked, you either have it or you don’t. And Queen Zee had it, in spades.

Flash forward a few months, and Queen Zee are playing at Liverpool’s 24 Kitchen Street venue. Again their star quality is immediately apparent, mostly in the form of singer Zee Davine. Zee is without doubt the star of the show. It has been a long time since we last saw someone blessed with this amount of charisma, performance and charm. Zee is a ball of boundless energy and he and the band are poised on the brink of a stardom so obvious that I make mental notes to pass on to people, perhaps as they headline Glastonbury, to boast that I saw them in such a small venue.

At this stage, it seemed like the only thing that could stop Queen Zee making it to the top was if Zee was poached for another route to stardom, such as TV. Zee is that obvious a star that this seems like a distinct possibility.

For a glorious shining moment, Queen Zee were, quite simply, the best band in the world. But then, towards the end of 2019, Queen Zee split up.

Yes we were gutted and we wept tears of bitter frustration at the loss of this spectacular band, but then we spoke to Zee and found out that great plans were afoot, things that would move Zee beyond the confines of a mere band.

The first sign of this is Zee’s new outfit Tokky Horror, who have released their first single, Girlracer, which can be bought on Bandcamp here.

Sun-13 was lucky enough to ask Zee Davine 13 Questions. Read on to find out more about coping with lockdown, looking for lizards and being lied to by Rita Ora. 

1. Where are you and what are you doing and how is that working out?

“I’ve been home on Wirral all year and looks like I will be for the foreseeable. I’m finishing off the production on new Tokky Horror material for our upcoming release…“

2. How have you been coping with the lockdown situation?

“It’s bumming me out, I love what I do. I love playing music and touring. To not have done either of those for nearly a year now has taken a big toll on my happiness. I’m trying to lose myself in writing music and remind myself I’m very fortunate that I’m safe and fed and not grieving while so many people are having a tough time.”

3. Who is the nicest ‘celebrity’ you’ve met?

“Rita Ora lied to me once and said I have nice hair. At the time I was apologising to the hair stylist at the shoot about my neon orange mullet I had massacred myself while stoned. So thanks for trying to chill me out Rita.”

4. When did you last get into an argument?

“I’m not a very argumentative person so I have no idea! “

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5. When did you last shout at the TV?

“I always talk to the TV, it’s my best friend. I give the characters advice as the plot unfolds. I’ve just watched #ALIVE and no spoilers, but it’s a zombie flick so there were plenty of “BEHIND YOU!“ moments.”

6. When did you last consider quitting social media?

“I don’t have any of the apps on my phone, and I only ever use the platforms for work related stuff. Updating about releases etc. If I could I wouldn’t have them at all. But being a musician, or producer, or DJ in 2020 really requires a level of self branding.”

7. Did you have any hobbies as a kid?

“Before I discovered music when I was about 10, I was obsessed with nature. I’d always want to be in the woods looking at bugs or going to the beach near me to look for lizards. I wanted to be a biologist like my Dad.”

8. What was the first gig you went to?

“I have a few answers to this. The first gig I tried to go to was The Coral at Liverpool Uni in maybe 2003? 2004? But turned up late and was then too young to be let in. So the first “proper gig“ I got to see was 65daysofstatic in Manchester Academy. They had a support band first on called Gay For Johnny Depp, who were this New York queercore band that blew my mind. And my first exposure to hardcore punk, so I left like I wanna do that.”

9.  When were you last told off?

“I’m always getting told off! Normally for smoking in the house, so probably that.”

10. What’s your first memory?

“I have some really heavy first memories but a nice one is drawing an elephant on my first day of pre school.”

Uniform: Shame – “a withering coalition of sounds from the darkest pits”

11. What’s your guilty listening pleasure?

“Probably some really shitty nu metal, some of it like early Slipknot has aged well but I still love Crazytown and P.O.D.”

12. Vinyl, CD, MP3 or Streaming?

“The only vinyl records I own are the ones I’ve written and the White Album by the Beatles that my grandad gave me, I’m normally skint and £20 is alot for me. I miss having stacks of CD’s that was my generations thing, walkmans and CD books, but now my laptop doesnt even have a CD drive. Most the music I listen to now is streamed, so as much as I hate it, streaming for the ease. “

13. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.  Is there anything else you’d like to say?

“I’ll plug the new single “Simulate Me“ which is out October 14th

Categories
Interviews

Peter Hook Interview: “I’ve managed to take Joy Division all round the world”

Banjo chats to to Joy Division and New Order’s bass viking about self belief, starting again and the absence of a happy ending.

Categories
13 Questions

13 Questions with Bobhowla

Things are happening with Southport’s Bobhowla, so we threw 13 questions at frontman Howard Doupé to get to the bottom of it all.

Categories
Interviews

Orbital Interview: “We’re trailblazers for the next generation”

Orbital’s Phil Hartnoll talks to Banjo.  And talks. And then talks some more.

Categories
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.

Categories
Interviews

Dave Haslam Interview: “There is a redemptive power in music”

Following the release of Dave Haslam’s autobiography Sonic Youth Slept On My Floor Banjo chatted with him about moving from post punk to dance, losing the safety net and playing The Smiths at Cream.