No Pop No Style: Twenty track compilation of Pop Will Eat Itself cover version by fans of the band.

Honoured to be asked to review the PWEI covers project, I soon realised the last place I wanted to be was in a position of power, to find myself held on a pedestal with critical acclaim or artistic ridicule as the tools of my trade. I’ve been through the highs and lows of such a system and quite frankly wish I’d said no!

Having said that, I am utterly respectful of the support from PWEInation and the hard work, energy and glowing tributes put together by you guys and girls, some of which I assume have no previous knowledge of recording sounds to ‘tape’. Yes I know it’s not a cassette but you know… age, set in his ways, ignorance, stubbornness etc.

I have an inbred fear of tackling music software, something I have avoided for so long, so massive respect to all that contributed towards this project, and thanks for navigating such a minefield and showing me the righteous path. How could I fail to be impressed so, ‘fuck it’, I’ll give it a go and if anyone’s upset they can go follow ‘The Waterboys’. Hallelujah!

‘No Pop No Style’ is a twenty track tribute album produced by ‘fans’ of ‘Pop Will Eat Itself’ covering our music from 1986 to the present day. The idea has been mooted for many years, finally being collated by ‘Paul Snell’ aka ‘Payback3000’ who contributes not just a couple of tunes but also the fantastic ‘theDesignersRepublic’  influenced artwork.

Right then, it’s you guys now in the spotlight, the shop window, the peanut gallery so get ya hard hat.

Some tunes obviously suffer from a lack of expertise, of sampling proficiency, of programming ability and some suffer from a lack of vocal prowess. Who cares?

Punk rock leads the way, it’s DIY, it’s PWEI, it’s what we were always about… don’t let anything hold you back!

Every song has something to offer, I don’t really want to openly criticise any artist so I’m going to announce in reverse order my ‘top 10’.

10. ‘Babylon’ by 7eventy6ix

A really cool, groove heavy instrumental remix, it gets inside your head and runs and runs. Our original version of ‘Babylon’ was a favourite track of ‘Korda Marshall’ our main record company guy. He loved it and saw it as our big commercial hit, to take us to that next level. We played it live a number of times but fell out of love with its overtly poppy feel and searched for a harsh awkward or quite frankly just a great beat to give it more of an ‘edge’. We never found it and stripped it back and gave it a real slow feel. Korda was devastated. It only really made it onto the ‘Dos Dedos Mis Amigos’ album because we had no other songs written and ‘DEADLINE’ was calling. Whoever ‘7eventy6ix’ are they’ve found the beat PWEI searched for to make Babylon that track we all wanted it to be. Where were you when we needed you? Nice one.

9. ‘Intergalactic Dub Mission’ by Project 13

‘Project 13’ is Paul Snell, compiler of ‘No Pop No Style’. I always consider this tune to be a hidden gem from ‘Box Frenzy’ so really pleased to hear it as part of this compilation. Graham wrote this track as an acoustic tune with a simple beat and a keyboard line. When we changed direction from an authentic (sort of) bass, guitar, drums combo to a beatbox, sample heavy, rap apocalypse quartet this song was put together in the studio and saturated with samples. It happened almost instantly and paved the way for such future PWEI product.

On this dub heavy remix the beat, sounds, production and arrangement are top quality. Very ‘Orb’ like, great added spoken word samples. Love it!

8. ‘Inside You’ by The Penny Licks

‘Inside You’ suffered from our change of direction around the time of ‘Box Frenzy’. We would probably have dropped this tune if we had more time in the studio to hone our ‘new style’. At first I was shaken by the lo-fi sound of this remix but it works a treat, brilliant vocals, cool as fuck! Reminds me of early ‘Belle and Sebastian’ but I couldn’t name one of their songs so I could be wrong! I liked this version so much I looked at their facebook page and played some of their original stuff. I really liked it. Or did I look because I was intrigued by the female vocalist…ah who knows but I’m glad I did, I wasn’t disappointed. By far the best cover version of ‘Inside You’ that I’ve heard, as I said not a PWEI track that I am particularly keen on so this version is extra special.

7. ‘Urban Futuristic (Son of South Central)’ by Let’s get Lo-Fi Motherfucker

Love it, got that ‘Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ feel… perfection. If any of us have the misfortune to be fried on the electric chair, it no longer seems enough to vocalise ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’ as we meet our maker and seek repentance, we now need to take along an acoustic guitar. It’s the new style!

6. ‘Seek and Destroy’ by Project 13

Again by Paul Snell, a journey into old skool rave, it’s gonna be a long hot summer… vibes are in the field, pre- ‘Criminal Justice Bill’. Would sit on the first Prodigy album and that’s saying summat! Bit of a ‘Charly’ vibe to it! Talented guy!

5. ‘Menofearthereaper’ by Artificial Human

I have met this guy and know what a talent he is. This is a great mix, sampling the original and adding plenty of his own ‘feel’ and style…love the brass funky samples and the cool wah style guitar. Heard I think a remix from him of ‘Mask’ off the last PWEI album. Hopefully one day it will be made available. My only criticism of this remix (and it’s a big one)…about 4 minutes too short! Come on David… schoolboy error son! Only joking, cracking tune! Still 4 minutes too short though.

4. ‘The Fuses Have Been Lit’ by King Brown

Originally this track was written before our love of drum machines and samples. When we were recording ‘This Is The Day, This Is The Hour, This Is This’ we resurrected it and if I remember rightly fused a ‘Velvet Underground’ beat with a ‘Joy Division’ beat, and again saturated the track with samples and fx. I added a second keyboard riff and Clint wrote the vocals in the studio. Originally written by Graham, I think it was an instrumental apart from the middle section with the heavy guitars which included purely the vocal line ‘The Fuses Have Been Lit’. Whilst me, Clint, Rich and producer ‘Flood’ shaped this song Graham was in another part of the studio writing the words for Rich’s instrumental tune ‘Satellite Ecstatica’, trivia fans!

This remix is amazing, the vocals get better during the track, the work put into this should not be under estimated; the sourcing of the samples and the fx used show a genuine love of PWEI and a tribute to ‘King Brown’ as much as to PWEI. Some samples are substituted for alternative ones, many of which having equal worth. ‘King Brown’ has produced a monster of a remix… really appreciate the chance to listen to this… thank you!

3. ‘Wise up! Sucker’ by Jason and Paul vs The Vocal Minority

I love this version; although they’ve sampled much of Youth’s amazing 1989 remix and purloined much of our hard work I can forgive them. Sampling is such a talentless art form… but someone’s got to do it.

Fantastic vocal with attitude from ‘Floz’ from ‘Carts Before Horses’ and equally cool extra guitar by ‘Chris Trevorah’and ‘Jason Bailey’.  Sweet guitar chord change that sits over the ten or so guitar tracks laid down in a Fulham studio some24 years ago… strewth!

If you can’t dig this version at least you might enjoy a fantastic ‘make over’ from ‘Jason and Paul’. Please call into one of their chain of beauty boutiques on your local High Street. No end to their talent! Incredible!

2. ‘Sweet Sweet Pie’ by Carts Before Horses

Again a great vocal from ‘Floz’, heavy on the fx. Nice, dirty guitar sound again by ‘Chris Trevorah’ with an abundance of energy generated by ‘Carts Before Horses’. Old skool drum machine sound and programming. To me this remix feels like a pretty current indie/alternative style band making their way up the festival bill. I could see a big future but what do I know?

Any trivia fans out there? ‘Sweet Sweet Pie’ doesn’t really mean anything. In our very early days we would quite often catch the train to Coventry to support any band that would have us on the bill and also lend us an amp and most of their drum kit. After one such unpaid gig the four of us were travelling back to Birmingham on the last train with our guitars, an amp and a snare drum and the ticket inspector heard us talking about how hungry we all were and the lack of any money for a ‘donna’. He re-appeared with a little box of what looked like homemade jam tarts. He said they were an Indian dish and his wife made the best in the country. He said they were called ‘sweet pie’. As we thankfully devoured the generous offer we were so hungry and they were so nice we replied sweet ‘sweet pie’. He seemed pleased. Nice man… PWEI legend!

1. ‘1000xNo’ by Section 3

Love it, great sounding groovy beats and dirty guitars. ‘Section 3’ has sampled much of the original song, so much so that Graham even makes an entrance. Great vocal attempt, maybe a tad loud in the mix but this is merely nit-picking! Successfully improved  the catchiness of the “What do we want… respect… and when do we want it…right now!” sample from ‘Taxi Driver’. Respect indeed.

I’m pleased to hear this track is covered, I can’t remember if we ever played this track live but I remember rehearsing it before the ‘Cure For Sanity’ tour. I remember it was the last track we started to rehearse and I think we were hard pushed to get it sounding right before the opening night. We may have played it live maybe twice but no more than this. Consequently ‘1000xNo’ seems to me to be a bit of a forgotten track, never really gaining the popular appeal afforded to other non-single tracks off the album like ‘Axe of Men’ or ’88 Seconds… and still counting’ that remained regular live tracks.

Hopefully ‘Section 3’ can help re-address the balance. Great tune, great version, straight in at number 1… with a bullet!

I must make reference to some of the other tracks, all of which have great moments; ‘Def Con Wan (sic)’ by E-Jitz has fantastic production and the addition of some great original sampling. Their video for this version is amazing, far surpassing anything PWEI ever put together.

‘Bulletproof’ by H.O.B.B.S has the addition of a different vocal melody based I think on Graham’s regular live (stolen) ad lib and this is a really cool.

‘Pretty Pretty’ by Meat TM has a fantastic ‘Jah Wobble’ type bass line, perhaps the best on the album. Immense production but can’t help being disappointed a vocal is not really introduced.

‘Back to Business’ by Overflowparking is cool. Love this, the simplicity and the general chaos and a voyage through time that you can almost taste. Cool with a capital K.

Finally, a special mention should go to ‘BronxZoo’ who I know is a big PWEI fan and regular ‘nation’ contributor. The sound quality, programming skill and his vocal performance is perhaps not to such a high technical standard as other contributions but it really reminds me of the first drafts or demos that Clint or Graham would put forward. In all seriousness this version of ‘PWEIzation’ would not be that different from the original demo Clint would first play to Graham, Rich and me and so for that reason it demands special mention and epitomises the spirit of Pop Will Eat Itself. So it’s a ‘yes’ from me. Nice work fella!

Can I just say thanks to all who have contributed to this compilation as well as to others who started a track but soon realised they didn’t have the nous to finish the tune to their desired standard. Special thanks to Paul aka ‘Payback 3000’ and to all ‘PWEI-nationers’ who keep the faith, spread the love and live the dream.

Here’s to ‘volume 2’!

Adam Mole

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THE FINAL ITEM!! Adam Mole original guitar!!

 

PWEIG1

 

PWEIG2

Here for auction is my final lot… ‘PWEI026’: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Pop-Will-Eat-Itself-PWEI-Memorabilia-Adam-Mole-original-guitar-/181146066841#ht_3654wt_958

 

Utterly f*ckin’ useless on keyboards… possibly even more sh*te on guitar!

 

This would perhaps have been an apt description of my talent as a member of ‘Pop Will Eat Itself’ in 1987. From memory the ‘un-aptly’ named journalist ‘The Legend’ thankfully avoided such an insult and pronounced to the world…

 

“… a bigger bunch of c*nts you are unlikely to ever meet…”

 

‘Classy journalism’… love it!

 

A few weeks later when the unfortunate self proclaimed ‘larger than life’ literary genius had the misfortune to occupy the same bar space at the infamous ‘Columbia Hotel’ on London’s ‘Bayswater Road’ as PWEI….

 

… Graham showed his gratitude… and bought the guy a pint.

 

The expensive amber nectar served from ‘Benny The Ball’s’ ever popular late night drinking hole was ungraciously received… most of it quite close to his mouth but very little troubling his urinary tract.

 

Suddenly his mood changed; no longer dreaming of the moment he would be rewarded with the ‘Booker Prize’ for his fictional musings on ‘modern day Grebo warriors’ and how if unattested they would destroy the fabric of society as we know it… instead he reverted to typo… and sh*t himself… as I said…

 

‘Classy guy’!

 

I have never been able to play an instrument… triangle maybe… oh please… don’t titter… no!

 

I fumbled my way through earlier bands playing keyboards with one finger, living on the belief this is how the ‘Human League’ and ‘Depeche Mode’ did it!

 

‘Pop Will Eat Itself’ was our new band and keyboards were being phased out… we were mates, always will be… Thatcher’s redundancies were rife… rather than chuck me out I had a life-line… learn guitar by the end of the week or… or what? … history suggests there was no ultimatum… I learnt to play guitar… simple!

 

In fairness Graham who was writing almost all of our stuff back then had only recently learnt to play so… why not…I’ll give it a go, and anyhow being an ‘axeman’ was far superior to trying to look cool playing a keyboard… I mean… ‘Joe Strummer’, ‘Mick Jones’, ‘Keef Richard’, ‘Steve Jones’, ‘John Mckay’ or ‘Robert Smith’?

 

‘Think about it… or’!

‘Chopin’, ‘Liberace’, ‘Bobby Crush’, ‘Rick Wakeman’, ‘Mrs. Mills’ or ‘Les Dawson’?

 

Actually not quite sure now!!!

 

I like a bit of ‘Liberace’ and ‘Les Dawson’!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBuNUk4J2jk

 

Anyway we had a gig at the end of the week supporting a band in a pub on the Stratford Road in Birmingham.

 

The long bus journey from ‘Stourbridge’ to the other side of ‘Birmingham’ for rehearsal at Graham’s mom and dads house would always take me past a thrift shop in ‘Erdington’. I always admired the guitar in the window… just like ‘Steve Jones’ from the ‘Sex Pistols’ played… same colour and everything.

And only 50 quid!

 

Ok, it wasn’t a ‘Gibson Les Paul’ and on the back, scratched into the body it had the immortal words…

 

“I love Trace.”

 

But hey… I wasn’t ‘Steve Jones’ and chance was I would someday pull a ‘bird’ called ‘Trace’, fall in love and everything would be perfect?

 

Personally I think this adds to the character… and by the way, the obviously self inflicted scars on the back of the guitar have been very crudely covered with white bathroom silicon sealant.

This was done by a previous owner… never ever have I tried to cover an ex-girlfriend with such cheap rubberized DIY material.

Perhaps he now dates her sister ‘Shaz’ and everything is hunky dory.

 

The guitar is a ‘Columbus Les Paul’ copy and it’s wonderful… I think it works just fine… always did!

Graham had an old amp that we put the keyboards through at rehearsals. It boasted no corporate name, it looked like he had made it at school in art. But it worked….just!

I played my new guitar through it. Loved it!

 

It has from time to time been passed from every member of ‘PWEI’ and helped create a back catalogue of stuff only true giants of the music world could ever dream of…

 

Er… really?

Yeah why not!

 

I played this guitar when we recorded such ‘classics’ as ‘Psychopath In My Soup’, ‘Candydiosis’, ‘Oh Grebo, I Think I Love You’, ‘Love Missile F1:11’, ‘Beaver Patrol’ and ‘There Is No Love Between Us Anymore’.

 

I only decided at the last minute to add this item to my year long auction, it seemed unsuitable to end such a journey with, for example… a hat… although many funny fella’s amongst you have since made their preference for… a hat… quite clear…

 

Come on… this is history… a hat is… well… a hat!!!

 

However, I digress… back to the looming gig on the Stratford Road… I had horrors, I envisaged ridicule, I imagined humiliation, I feared the ‘shepherd’s crook’… but that’s show business.

 

Actually I didn’t give a sh*t, I was ‘punk rock’ I stood firm, I leaned on my friends and they leaned on me. We rocked the place… to maybe twelve people. The headline band rocked the place to maybe eight.

My guitar was ace!

This is how I did it!

Demolition Girl.

Easy. I just scratched a drum stick over all the strings in no real logical order. Jimmy Page had done this in a previous era although he actually managed to almost soothe his guitar in a highly stylized orchestral fashion. I don’t know how he ever found the time to practice so much, he always seemed to be shacked up in that hotel in Los Angeles and…

… anyway I just scratched hopefully around the fret board, all fingers and thumbs clumsily attempting to find a semblance of ‘tune-age’, a melodic respite, a moment in time… a bit like a teenager trying to undo his first bra strap, or a schoolboy trying to open a can of corned beef without slicing a finger in half… bloody impossible… and for all you guys out there, it don’t ever get no easier!

I’m Sniffin’ With You Hoo.

Easy. Make sure you only play on one string at any one time and that your notes are only ever two notes away from each other on the fret board… at the most! Occasionally spoil yourself and throw in the ‘open’ note whereby you don’t have to do anything with your ‘fretting’ hand… this makes you feel great, a real talent or at least a ‘contender’.

Mesmerized

Easy. One string all the way… see…learning already.

Psychopath In My Soup.

Easy. Block the fret with one hand and frantically strum the strings with the other hand. It makes a real powerful neutral blocking sound that doesn’t really affect the tuning. Then… play a three note riff disguised as a guitar solo over the last five seconds of a sub one minute song and… ‘I’m in!!!

Sweet Sweet Pie.

Easy. Same with the blocking thing… but play a few keyboards… keep the old skool happy…

Sick Little Girl.

Easy. One string… all the way… bonus!!!

Jilted.

Easy. One string, three notes, two frets…

That’s how I did it… less than a week playing guitar, a few keyboard songs, seven with guitar and a short support set on the Stratford Road. No sweat!!!

This final auction ‘lot’ remains the only guitar I have ever bought with my own money; the others have all been band requisitions, ‘Gibson’ sponsorships, family loans or generous friendship bonds!

Around 1992 we had a sponsorship deal with ‘Gibson’. This meant we could go to one of their ‘outlets’ and choose a guitar and take it away indefinitely. In return we had to be photographed and say something along the lines of…

“Gibson are great… never leave home without one”.

I remember being in the ‘Gibson’ shop in London’s ‘West End’, choosing a few new guitars and the reps were talking about how ‘Slash’ from ‘Guns ‘N Roses’ just really ‘made that guitar sing’ during their outdoor ‘Wembley’ gig the previous weekend.

I would always avoid eye contact and definitely never ever plug in and play, not ever not anything in the shop. I would just point and say… er I’ll have that big one over there and thanks!

They were always amazed…

“Did I have a preference for the colour”?

“Er.. red… maybe…or white”.

What I meant was…

“Don’t give a sh*t mate, it will be covered by ‘theDesignersRepublic’ artwork come Thursday”.

Happy bidding!

Note: I have specified collection only but will try to be flexible. I can maybe meet people half way, ie up to 75 miles or postage can be arranged at a later date. International would be quite tricky though with such a fragile instrument. Please message me through eBay and I am sure we can sort something out!

Cheers Adam.

Pop Will Eat Itself. PWEI. Designers Republic ‘Incredible’ t-shirt.

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‘The Poppies are crap’ was a self-deprecating sound bite we came up with purely to amuse ourselves. We emblazoned it across the artwork for our album ‘Box Frenzy’ and manufactured t-shirts and badges proudly displaying this mildly amusing ‘self parody’. What a bunch of crazy guys eh? Not really but why not?

 

When we started work on the follow up album ‘This Is The Day, This Is The Hour, This Is This’ we decided we had earned the right to be ‘INCREDIBLE’.

 

Just before the record was complete I plucked up courage to play the guys something I managed to record on the porta-studio. I wasn’t a natural talent you understand!

Basically I cobbled together a load of samples from my ever growing library, ‘Motorhead’ featured, as did ‘Hendrix’ as did ‘The Damned’. Often I would be lazy and use samples from songs that ‘PWEI’ had recently written or were currently writing. Thus ‘PWEI’ samples appear courtesy of songs including ‘Radio PWEI’ and ‘Preaching To The Perverted’. It seemed easier that way. Thanks Graham.

‘The Incredible’ vocal sample was ripped from ‘Chuck D’, beyond that I had no vocal idea at all. Graham came up with a great title, ‘PWEI Is A Four Letter Word’, and wrote the ‘P.W.E.I.’ melody. ‘Flood’ our amazing producer spent hours replacing my basic drum loop, he insisted on programming numerous drum rolls throughout the song, each one different from any other. We now had a short intro track to the new release that would become ‘PWEI’ standard fayre over a generation of albums.

 

The following initial one minute twelve seconds can change your life… beware it’s nearly a quarter of a century since I started to experiment with being creative, I’ve done little since!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTUk0nUyeEY

 

‘Before our time?’

‘Totally under-rated?’

I’m beginning to think so!

 

‘the Designers Republic’ had already blown our mind with the artwork they produced for ‘Def Con 1’ our final single on the ‘Chapter22’ label. They were not getting away; we kidnapped the ‘head honcho’ and made him party. He loved us, we loved him. Seventy year marriages have been built on less, so with such feelings of mutual love, passion and a thirst for hangovers… we couldn’t fail.

It was a match made in heaven, we are still to divorce! ‘Ian Anderson’ respect to you old chum!

 

These ‘tDR’ shirts highlight the birth of the phrase ‘The Incredible PWEI’ and the march towards artwork championing a ‘corporate’ nature with a real passion for ‘technology’, ‘product’ and ‘revolution’… er, I think!!!

The four ‘P’,’W’,’E’ and ‘I’ letters were based on existing corporate logos.

 

I wore these shirts around 1989. ‘Can U Dig It?’ was the first single released by our new record label ‘RCA’ and from memory these t-shirts dated from this time. I liked the gold (orange) and black as they were also the colours of my football team… should have bothered! ‘Wolves’, bloody ‘Wolves’! Constantly let you down!

 

I remember feeling quite cool, almost trendy in these shirts, I saved them for best. I remember thinking they were perfect for a night out in London’s ‘West End’, perfect for a trip down Shaftesbury Avenue, perfect for ‘The Limelight Club’. I thought I looked great!

 

The ‘Limelight’ was a converted church that we had started to hang out in when we were in town. It was quite nerve-racking for four young grebo’s from Stourbridge. Never before had we seen a piece of red rope adorned with elegant gold hooks attached to two grandiose poles positioned on a pavement outside a doorway and permanently welded to a bouncer’s hand.

Neither Frank from ‘The Shrub’ or Colin from ‘The Swan’ exercised such a strict, highly questionable door policy but we were now on a ‘GUESTLIST’ so everything was groovy! My ‘INCREDIBLE’ shirt really must look good ‘cos I was ‘in’.

It boasted a VIP room upstairs and sometimes our manager, CJ would get us free beer tokens. We played a few low-key gigs there to help encourage such a fantastic relationship.

The VIP room was always full of the ‘temporarily rich and famous’. There were models, rock stars, film stars, footballers and TV actors. Oh yes and then there was us!

We generally didn’t mingle much; we probably looked at a few models and thought…

“She’s alright”!

And they probably looked at us and thought…

“What the hell are the bin men doing in tonight?”

 Strangely enough Rich met the bin men early one morning when he had to ‘break out’ of the club having fallen asleep under a table. Or was that Graham? Sounds more like Gra…no offence mate!

 

A Russian promoter sent to the UK to source a headline act for a large one off gig in the province of Lithuania witnessed one of these gigs. He had a shortlist of ‘Public Enemy’, ‘Public Image’ and ‘Pop Will Eat Itself’.

Surprisingly we were picked to represent the UK behind ‘the iron curtain’!

 

These were very different times back in 1989. Russia was largely shut back then, George Michael had been and also Elton John but that was about it.

It was the first time I had flown and it was with Russian airlines-Aeroflot.

Flights would become a regular irritant for me over the next ten years or so but my first landing at Moscow airport was greeted by the sight of a crashed passenger jet at the side of the runway… just like the one I was clinging on to! Now I know airports aren’t renowned for their cleanliness but you would think they may have tidied it up a bit.

We were all given a fistful of Russian roubles but there was nothing to spend them on and the currency was worthless outside of Russia. I remember putting a wad of them into the begging bowl of an unfortunate looking character sat on a pavement with a dog on a piece of string. An official looking guy that was shadowing us removed the cash from the beggar maybe suspicious that I was passing on highly sensitive papers, hatching a plan to form an opposition party. As if!

We ultimately decided to spend our money at an antique shop, the first shop we found with no queue. I bought a highly decorative carved wooden box lined with red velvet, Rich bought some religious icons, Clint bought an old accordion. F*ckin’ rock and roll or what? I still have it!

Families approached me with scissors requesting locks of my brightly dyed red hair. They must have thought I was from outer space… or Dudley!

We did the ‘Red Square’ thing and took some pictures, we generally felt uneasy about the whole place and a regime that prevented its own people savouring what ‘the West’ had to offer and generally ‘keeping their people down’. All this time these shady characters drove around in big black cars, drank Coca Cola and squirrelled away all the cash.

Could ‘PWEI’ address the balance?…not really no!

 

But we did have fun. Alcohol was plentiful and on the first night we went out on the town to this really raving Moscow underground bar. The place was packed with Russians banging bottles on tables and making a terrific racket. I still to this day have never seen a place so full, so drunk, so amazing.

We were centre of attention and as musicians (yeah right!) were almost frog marched onto the small stage to play some instruments. There were two guitars, a bass, a microphone and some drums.

How do you tell such a room full of people that we play music without live drums and obviously didn’t have our stuff with us? We did however have an ex-drummer in Gra and decided, maybe, just maybe we could remember some old skool ‘Poppies’ tunes.

We were very politely asked to be so very careful with the instruments as they were extremely hard to come by and could not be replaced. Even getting guitar strings and drum skins was a major expense and operation. We played very badly and Gra forgetting (maybe?) about those irreplaceable drum type things, well he did that little thing he always did at the end of our set back in the day. He jumped through the drum kit….Oh dear!

Much of this chaos again was witnessed by James Brown now working for the NME and writing a front cover piece. Photographs were being taken by Jack Barron but don’t bother searching for snaps of this evening, he was so drunk he was trying to take the photos with his Walkman.

Next day we flew out to Vilnius in Lithuania to perform to the masses. After all the planning, time and expense to put on such a show, it very nearly didn’t happen. When Alex our roadie inspected the hire equipment, he was relatively pleased with the amps and the keyboards but where was the four-track reel-to-reel we had requested?

A very pleasant local stage hand with great glee responded…

“Don’t worry it is here” and produced two little tape recorders,

“Here, see, two track and two track…… equals four track”.

It’s a pity I can’t do this story justice by doing the accent but I’m sure for that very brief moment in time the world stopped spinning.

 

How were we gonna play a ten inch spool of quarter inch tape through two little cassette players?

Step in Alex McCartan roadie to the stars, he had somehow predicted such an impending disaster and done a safety copy of the backing track……on cassette.

The gig was saved and we went down a storm, maybe the locals would savour a little bit of Western culture after all. Celebratory drinks were had.

 

After the gig we had to attend a press conference with maybe 200 journalists representing various media from behind the ‘iron curtain’. It was a very sobering experience and we answered all their questions through an interpreter as best we could. Finally the serious nature of the questioning relented. One final question was permitted.

“What was our favourite joke?”

Father and future highly respected head of music technology at a West Midlands college of course had one. It involved the difference between ‘fat birds’ and ‘mopeds’, and at that time, to Richard March, it was the funniest joke ever. His trade mark ‘flip-top head’ went into overdrive.

Now O.k, I laughed, Clint laughed, Graham laughed, C.J laughed and indeed I bet Mrs. Dorkin laughed.

Unfortunately, the rather overweight female interpreter didn’t see the funny side and for someone who undoubtedly revelled in the importance of her job, never ever had she been so tongue-tied and reluctant to use her translatory skills.

 

Bloody hell Rich!!!

 

Later that night after retiring to the sanctuary of our dressing room to sample the best vodka Lithuania had to offer, Alex nodded off for a moment and was thanked for his sterling work that day by having his trousers removed, obscenities scrawled on his body and a lit fag put between his bum cheeks. Then, photographic evidence was gathered!

Graham was in mischievous mood and as Al slept, he was shuffled into a small fridge to the words…

“Night night Al”.

 

Alex didn’t have to wait many months till he got his own back, and in almost exact circumstance returned the favour. This time the only difference being the words…

“Night night Gra”!

 

Needless to say, life ‘on the road’ with my band and crew was a real blast, we also frequented the ‘Limelight’ club in New York where I remember seeing Leicester’s finest ‘Gaye Bykers On Acid’.

 

Even though we were extensively well travelled, mollycoddled and pampered young men, I don’t really remember being in the company of too many A-list celebrities.

It was hardly like we were hanging out with ‘Michael Jackson’, ‘Nelson Mandela’ or ‘Malcolm Muggeridge’.

We did however on occasion rub shoulders with erstwhile ‘Coronation Street’ character ‘Curly Watts’, ‘Richard Whiteley’ from ‘Countdown’ and of course some guy in America who claimed to know the guy who now performed as ‘Big Bird’ on ‘Sesame Street’. Wow!

 

I remember the NME took great pleasure in printing a photo of ‘PWEI’ in the company of popular Aussie soap character ‘Joe Mangel’. We were celebrating in downtown Melbourne after a particularly riotous gig at the ‘New Greek Theatre’.

The gist of the piece reflected on the premise that whilst our heroes ‘The Clash’ had hung out with the likes of ‘Robert De Niro’, ‘Matt Dillon’ and ‘Martin Scorsese’ on tour, ‘PWEI’ had to settle for the stereotypical, albeit strangely ‘likeable rogue’ from ‘Neighbours’.

 

Do you think they were ‘taking the p*ss’ or what?

 

O.k; so maybe it’s not such a great… ‘CLAIM TO FAME’!

I know some people get to meet The Queen; some people aspire to dedicate their lives to others; to make a difference; to ‘stand on the shoulders of giants’; to discover penicillin and save humanity.

Others have ‘a calling’; ‘a calling’ to experience the wonder of travel; ‘a calling’ to visit the South of France; ‘a calling’ to have a w**k in a famous rock stars’ fireplace!!! But that’s another story!!!

But hey, I met Mark Little, aka Joe Mangel in Melbourne and I loved it!

 

Beats delivering parcels around the sh*tholes of the ‘Black Country’ for a living anyway!!!

For real!

Pop Will Eat Itself. PWEI. Watchmen style guitar cab artwork.

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WATCH TV’-guitar cab cover, UV sensitive and fluorescent. Approximately 28×26”, thin black cotton fabric, pretty battered but a veteran of many ‘PWEI’ evenings on the road.

Being partial to ‘partial recall’ I can’t remember who first used this speaker cover live, it could have been me but I would soon swap to my ‘Wolves’ wolf head logo that stayed with me throughout my ‘PWEI’ party. 

I think more often than not Clint’s ‘Marshall’ guitar cab was dressed with this iconic image; drawn up by ‘the Designers Republic’; a rip of the ‘Watchman’ comic book typeface. 

It dates from around 1988 just as we were getting major record company interest and ‘tDR’ were ‘on board’. Clint would often suggest artwork ideas based on his comic book knowledge and his love of ‘Watchmen’ in particular. It was a good ‘match’!

Clint was always a comic book fan, ‘Spider-man’ in particular. He celebrated his love of the webbed wonder with a tattoo on his upper arm. He successfully managed to hide this blue and red arachnid body art from his mother for many months.

Or so he thought!!!

He hadn’t twigged that she was in the crowd at an early Birmingham ‘Hummingbird’ gig. He had forgotten he’d whipped his shirt off in his usual ‘sex God’ fashion to reveal the offending ‘devil’s ink slinging’.

For days she said nothing, she bided her time until the right moment to vent her maternal concern.

“And I know about that bloody tattoo as well Clinton!”

… came her astute interjection when Clint later tried to ‘push the boundaries’ or maybe, just maybe perfectly timed just for her own amusement. Nice one Marilyn.

Richard’s dad had previously shown no such emotion when his son was discovered having a tattoo. Rich’s friend from Stourbridge Art College appeared one day at rehearsals in Rich’s mom and dad’s front room. He was armed with some pretty medieval tattooing gear (resembling a blow torch and pliers) and proceeded to practice on Rich’s arm. A little red heart was ordered, quite discreet. Nice!

Perhaps intrigued by the sound of a tattoo gun in his front parlour, Rich’s dad popped his head round the door and asked…

“What are you doing?”

“Er… nothing!” replied Rich.

“Oh alright then!” his dad answered as he left the room, seemingly quite satisfied with the reply!

In fairness we should understand that when a surprised father walks into a room to see his only son surrounded by new long-haired friends with a needle in his arm there must be some semblance of relief that he is merely getting a tattoo.

He needn’t have worried, none of us would ever be distracted by alternative needle-based activities… EVER!!!

When we first started rehearsing as ‘Pop Will Eat Itself’ Graham started writing songs with both lead and rhythm guitar parts. He wanted me to play fewer keyboards and learn guitar almost overnight, a thought that terrified me. Instead we asked our friend Paul who played guitar pretty well to join our band. We rehearsed for a few weeks and things went well.

Unfortunately, he did have other distractions… bad ones… he didn’t sign up for the party… he died young!

RIP old chum!

I learn’t guitar!

A few years later, away from tattoos and tragedy Clint’s admiration for the great comic writers began to hemorrhage into his song-writing, in particular ‘Def Con 1’, ‘Can U Dig It?’ and ‘Wise Up Sucker’. They all featured an appreciation and respect for ‘Northampton’s finest’.

‘Alan Moore’ is perhaps the greatest ‘graphic novelist’ of all time and Clint was a huge fan of his classic ‘Watchmen’.

‘Def Con 1’ boasted many robbed ideas from ‘Watchmen’; ‘ten to doomsday’, ‘ground-floor coming up’ and of course ‘watchman’ and the song title itself.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7Wm4qXC_j4

 

‘Can U Dig It?’ was our first single and video for RCA records. The video cost a bomb!

A camera crew was flown to Las Vegas purely to record the bright lights of ‘The Strip’ and the desert terrain as background for part of the video, something that could now be re-constructed off the internet for pennies. No wonder we never made any money!

From memory I was under the impression the original copy of the video featured comic book illustrations of ‘Batman’ and the ‘Joker’ but maybe ‘Warner Bros’ requested too much of a fee so we settled for ‘Watchmen’ and dealing with ‘DC Comics’ instead.

I do however remember ‘Warner Bros’ making a fuss over the use of the line ‘Bruce Wayne, Auf Wiedersehen’.

Even the use of Batman’s true identity required copyright clearance and a fee to be paid. We avoided having to remove the line and re-record the song when we explained that it wasn’t ‘Bruce Wayne’ but ‘Bruce’ (Lee) or (Forsyth) and ‘Wayne’ (Winston Norris) from ‘Auf Wiedersehen, Pet’… obviously!!!

The image of a gun in the video was also frowned upon, ultimately the snippet used by ‘Top Of The Pops’ to celebrate our ‘top 40 smash’ avoided any such scene. Bloody hell this major record company thing was tiresome!

‘Alan Moore’ sauntered into the sound check when we played at ‘Roadmender’ in his home town. He voiced how pleased he was with his name check in ‘Can U Dig It?’ and came to acknowledge the general ‘love-in’ going on with ‘Watchmen’ and ‘PWEI’.

He was extremely cool but excused himself from the gig that night because crowds and loud noises didn’t really ‘float his boat’ anymore. We were flattered and Clint in particular was humbled by an appearance by the great man himself.

‘Alan Moore knows the score’… indeed he did!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txirj1vX_Ck

 

‘Wise Up Sucker’ features in the above link after ‘Can U dig It?’ It also features an ‘Alan Moore’ sample…  ‘Loves me not’!

Alan is also sampled on the album track ‘Up To The Minuteman Nine’ orating the phrase ‘Television, movies, comics’!

Having written this piece and now looking at the auction ‘lot’ I am beginning to regret putting this item up for sale. I have said it before with other items but this would truly look amazing framed and behind glass. It’s really quite shabby but a real rare, one-off piece of legendary memorabilia. I never put a reserve on any of these pieces but on this occasion you may have to bid against me. I want it! There’s just something about it!

In all honesty, ultimately as a piece of fabric I believe it to be more historical than the ‘Bayeux Tapestry’, as a piece of fabric I believe it to be more infamous than ‘Monica Lewinsky’s stained blue dress, as a piece of fabric I believe it to be more iconic than the ‘Shroud of Turin’ and indeed… as a piece of fabric, I believe it to be far superior a trophy on your bedroom wall than the unsullied knickers of ‘Britney Spears’, circa 1999 could ever be!

Love Missile F1.11 memorabilia.

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Here for auction is lot ‘PWEI020’.

1.       Love Missile F1.11 the new single on Chapter 22 records poster.

2.       Love Missile F1.11 ‘the covers ep’ 12” single.

3.       Love Missile F1.11 7” single.

4.       Love Missile F1.11 t-shirt with ‘designer grebo’ back-print.

5.       Love Missile F1.11 ‘the covers ep’ 12” single artwork bleed/proof, very rare/possibly unique.

6.       Love Missile F1.11 12” D.J only 1-sided vinyl. Rare.

7.       Love Missile F1.11 ‘designer grebo megamix’ 12” single.

Love Missile F1.11 was the single that transformed our ‘sound’. Graham suggested and first recorded a version on our trusty porta-studio. I must admit we all thought playing a cover version of a song only recently released was to say the least, a little bit ‘WEIRD’ but such things appealed to Graham and we just thought…’Why not’? After all we had been cheeky enough to do a cover version of our friends ‘The Mighty Lemon Drops’ single ‘Like an Angel’ even when supporting them live so why not a ‘Sigue Sigue Sputnik’ song. Well possibly because ‘The Mighty Lemon Drops’ were four down to earth lads from ‘the Black Country’, ‘Sigue Sigue Sputnik’ were five cool, trendy pop stars withLondon as their base camp. Tony James former bass player with classic punk band ‘Generation X’ and self-styled ‘leader’ of ‘Sigue Sigue Sputnik’ was said to be horrified by our version, really angry that we had the nerve to challenge their iconic image and publically ridicule them. This wasn’t our aim we liked the track but hey… ‘sh*t happens’!!!

We had recently witnessed the first U.K tour by the ‘Beastie Boys’ and had been blown away. No longer did we want to play as a traditional four piece fumbling through bass, guitar and drums we wanted drum machines, samples, dance beats and maybe a little ‘rap’ now and again.

It was a strange time, we were just getting some interest from the ‘industry’, building a small but loyal live following but it was no longer what we wanted to do. Graham no longer wanted to play drums, he wanted to sing. We had a small tour looming to promote the new single which we had expanded to a four track ‘covers e.p’. We just said to ourselves… ‘f**k it, lets scrap the set and start again.

We decided to ask Robert Gordon, the ‘in-house’, studio producer for Fon records in Sheffield to commission a F1.11 remix. The whole Fon set up was cool, we particularly liked the ‘Age Of Chance’ album, it’s sound, style and artwork. We thought Robert would turn us down but on the contrary his inspired re-mixes made us feel we could do it, achieve our dream, and do anything we wanted to do. Robert was amazing and perfect to inspire us, teach us and help us evolve. He agreed to produce our album. ‘Box Frenzy’ was born!

As always time was tight, not to mention money so the album was a little rushed and reflects the transitional period we were wrestling with. Some songs struggled to be arranged as we wanted but there was no time to replace them. In retrospect trying to update all the songs almost overnight was a mistake but using Robert’s skill and knowledge, new songs like ‘U.B.L.U.D’ and ‘She’s Surreal’ were written ‘right there and then’. The re-mix of ‘F1.11’, ‘Beaver Patrol’, ‘Grebo Guru’ and ‘There Is No Love Between Us Anymore’ were already leaning towards our ‘new style’, other songs like ‘Intergalactive Love Mission’ and ‘Hit The Hi Tec Groove’ were saturated with samples in the studio. Others like ‘Evelyn’ and ‘Inside You’ would have been omitted if there was time to replace them… there wasn’t!

The gigs around this time were chaotic, some ‘fans’ were unable to accept our yearning for something new. The police waded in at Nottingham University; one of them lost his helmet so not everything was bad.

I remember the video for ‘F1.11’ was made relatively cheaply by ‘Chapter 22’ records. We basically ran around tube stations in London, hiding from the staff who insisted we needed permission ( and a fee) to film on the tube. Basically that’s why we are always on the run, O.k not as cool as ‘The Warriors’ legging it from the ‘Turnbull AC’s’, in fact not cool at all… we hated doing videos. The other setting was an old glassworks factory by the canal in Stourbridge. A little less embarrassing, in so much as there was no-one else around to ask questions like…

”What are you doing”?

“Pop Will what”? or

“What a bloody racket, get a proper job”!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBuNUk4J2jk

For total trivia fans the very last guitar chord of the song (a high pitched discordant, almost harmonic note) was a favourite one second sample that I tried to place in numerous ‘PWEI’ songs. It finally debuts on the forthcoming expanded release of ‘Dos Dedos Mis Amigos’ on a ‘lost’ song called ‘Dehydration’. It’s sampled, stretched, gated and sequenced. Listen out for it, why don’t ya?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1lF3wqG9wo

A much cooler video made to the re-mix many years later… youtube is great!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYChefHwTm8

Not so sure what this is all about, again many years later, Ok, no longer ‘current’, now in the nostalgia/retro/where are they now envelope!!!

I was surprised to find such a video from Japan, from memory Japan was no great lover of ‘PWEI’. I think we went twice and maybe played six gigs in total, one of which was a matinee about an hour before the early evening set, knackered wasn’t the word. We did however have fun, we did our best to leave a legacy; fire extinguisher wars in hotel corridors, kimono’s outside the hotel room (naughty), ‘Stussy’ shopping trips and free-falling from trees were memories of note.

Now I know I’ve ‘died’ many times on stage but I have never come so close to death as in ‘Tokyo’ I was in a hotel room with a girl and the bed shot up into the wall as two guys armed with sub-machine guns burst into the room. They emptied their magazines into the bed and scarpered, leaving me for dead… “What you say”?

Oh yeah, that was Sean Connery in ‘You Only Live Twice’. Oh, my near death experience was maybe not quite as legendary. I decided to climb a tree at the side of a road in order to free-fall through the branches a bit like Sly Stallone jumping from the cliff top to escape the helicopter fire in ‘Rambo’. I plummeted to the pavement and landed hard. I stood up and ignored the fact that it hurt. It was then my attention was drawn to the fact that the trunk of the tree was protected by sharp heavy duty iron spikes, the very ones I had used to help me climb the tree. The top of my head had missed the spikes by the width of a cigarette paper. They would have taken the top of my head off. I wanted to do it again. I was prevented. Good stuff that Sake!

Anyway I lived to tell the tale. Many years later I went to see the band ‘Carbon/Silicon’ play in Stourbridge. Mick Jones from the ‘Clash’ shared the stage with his life-long friend… a certain Mr. Tony James, previously of ‘Sigue Sigue Sputnik’. After the show I sat on the front of the stage chatting to my hero from the ‘clash city rockers’ about Joe Strummer and how great ‘Clash’ songs like ‘Straight To Hell’ were. Tony James came over to acknowledge the ‘Generation X’ 45 logo t-shirt that I was proudly wearing. I was too scared to let on I was once in a band called ‘Pop Will Eat Itself’. It’s not the kind of thing I would go around saying anyway and even if I did there’s only so many times you want to hear the reply “WHO”?

On this occasion I was more concerned on hearing…”WHAT! … you ruined my career…”

I avoided all outcomes, I never mentioned it. Good choice!

Rare ‘Dos Dedos Mis Amigos’.

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A veritable smorgasbord of ‘Dos Dedos Mis Amigos’ cool. Some items celebrate the follow up remix album; ‘Two Fingers My Friends’.

Every item is pretty rare and in excellent condition, collectively a highly desirable dose of ‘Molerabilia’.

  1. 1.       12” ‘RSVP’ American promo only release on the ‘Nothing’ label. Features the single/breakfast mix/dinner mix and supper mix.
  2. 2.       Record store plastic promo carrier bag… ’is this the future… pwei… dos dedos mis amigos’.
  3. 3.       My ‘PWEI’ itinerary for UK and Ireland-8th March to 20th March 1995 detailing band, crew, travel, venue, hotel, promoter and press schedules. ‘Two Fingers My Friends’ tour.
  4. 4.       American press photograph from the ‘Nothing’ label.
  5. 5.       American ‘Dos Dedos Mis Amigos’ promo only Cd on the ‘Nothing’ label.
  6. 6.       ‘PWEI’ access all areas pass for ‘amalgamation’ world tour 1994.
  7. 7.       Metal ‘PWEI’ pendent… ‘Dos Dedos Mis Amigos’ album design.
  8. 8.       ‘PWEI’ access all areas pass for ‘Two Fingers My Friends’ tour 1995.
  9. 9.       ‘Dos Dedos Mis Amigos’ on cassette with the infamous ‘cigarette’ case. Uk ‘Infectious’ release.
  10. 10.   American promo postcard from the ‘Nothing’ label.

Just a reminder of the legends playing live circa ‘Dos Dedos Mis Amigos’.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhDXYIKhtSY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hElmI5lJ9Ss

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yL5pvkBm0Co

In 2012 ‘Cherry Red’ records released re-packaged extended versions of the first five ‘PWEI‘ studio albums.

They will release the 1994 album ‘Dos Dedos Mis Amigos’ in the next few months. The package will also contain tracks written, demoed and recorded for our abandoned 1996 scheduled album release. Rudely interrupted by our decision to split up! These twelve tracks will finally be heard for the first time!

The eagerly anticipated ‘PWEI product’ will boast extensive sleeve notes detailing my personal memories from this historical moment in time. Ultimately I don’t want to reveal too much now, but I promise anecdotes so here they are.

“How did you come up with your album titles”?  

“Funny you should ask, I’ll tell you”!

‘Now For A Feast’

A new publication accompanied us on early tours of Europe. ‘Viz’ magazine was staple diet, much of its content became ‘tour language’, ‘Now for a feast’ was one of these over used ‘tour sayings’. This album was actually a compilation of all our early singles and b-sides and the title reflected the generous number of songs squeezed onto one record, many under two minutes long!

I remember Rich had a talent for drawing the ‘Viz’ character ‘Roger Mellie (The Man On The Telly)’, consequently many dressing room walls were decorated with our favourite TV anchorman.

Pictures were regularly unscrewed from hotel walls; there was never an intention to squirrel away stolen works of art, merely cheeky schoolboy endeavour to introduce our own brand of ‘PWEI’ interior design to shabby European hotel rooms! After all we were all still in shorts and barely out of school ourselves. Ok, I was about 26 but I justify such vandalism by imagining their surprise when many years later bored Swedish ‘handy men’ remove hotel pictures to be faced with a smiling Roger Mellie. I would like to think it makes for a pleasant change… beats the comedy nob anyway!!!

‘Box Frenzy’

The term ‘box frenzy’ was coined by our friend, touring sidekick and future guitarist… ‘The Buzzard’.

I can’t remember every tawdry detail but I think he was looking forward to, or reflecting upon a night of passionate sexual debauchery, such a cosy evening he would call ‘going box frenzy’!

We were far more innocent than our sexually experienced friend but we liked the ‘naughtiness’ of it. Our new found love of beat boxes and frenzied sample robbery evident on this album made his rather ‘coarse’ yearning for female company seem appropriate. It stuck!

I do remember one other suggestion… ‘Next Time Fireworks’.

Seemingly more relevant and again a little bit naughty, it highlights a re-assuring but desperate promise made to girlfriends that if lucky enough to be afforded another chance, premature ejaculation would definitely not be a problem… surely? 

Across the world in 2013 many girlfriends, wives and partners have finally given up hope! Sorry!!!

‘This Is The Day, This Is The Hour, This Is This’

‘This is the day, this is the hour’ was a voice sample that had a BBC war time radio announcer feel to it. We ‘ripped it’ for our first ‘live’ intro tape. The tape featured various air-raid sirens, cross faded sweeps and general Armageddon chaos. A storm ahead!

We also used the sample in the song ‘The Fuses Have Been Lit’ and were looking to find another short sound bite to follow the existing sample and make a statement, one that would also sound good as an album title. I suggested the ‘this is this’ sample after hearing the words spoken by an ‘Oscar’ winning actor featureing in a popular ‘Academy Award’ winning blockbuster. It fitted every purpose. Sorted!

‘Cure For Sanity’

I think Graham had this title well before we actually finished the recording. To me it calls into question the whole basis of sanity whereby average hard-working families struggle for fifty years to bring up a family, working themselves to death to pay off the mortgage and finally get to retire… into bad health, then, lose the home they have struggled to maintain in order to pay off three years of residential care and for what? To be deemed normal, to be deemed part of the establishment, to be deemed a guardian of this treasured sanity we all strive to achieve. Personally for me this album title called into question this ingrained lifestyle, bred into us from birth! Just believe and ’PWEI’ could be your anecdote or at least a temporary anaesthetic!

The only other suggestion was ‘Rapocalypse Now!’ However we all felt that although we had elements of rap in our music, this was too blunt a title, one which we should leave to a future rap artist or band to discover. ‘Word’!

‘The Looks Or The Lifestyle’

Again I think Graham came up with this title, I always imagined he was questioning what preference you have in life; spending time on your looks or just ‘going for it’ with your lifestyle! We were the latter! I could be wrong!

We agreed to have photos of the band on the front cover, something we had vigourously avoided in the past. We insisted they had a distorted image. Such a request involved heavy expense at the time, having to utilize studio photography and state of the art computer generated technology. Now, most kids could provide equal worth on a street corner with a free app on a £20 phone.

‘Dos Dedos Mis Amigos’

I think we were sat in a bar in Oldham town centre prior to a sound check and noticed this really cool looking bottle of tequila behind the bar. The bottle was black with gold writing. It was called ‘Dos Dedos’, translated meaning ‘Two Fingers’.

Straight away we liked the idea for an album title but didn’t want to appear too arrogant especially to our loyal, hardcore fan base. We added the ‘Mis Amigos’ (My Friends) to be less ‘f**k you’, more ‘cheers, have a nice day’!

 And that’s about it. We simply used the English translation for the re-mix album… clever eh?

The ‘lost’ album to be included on the forthcoming ‘Cherry Red’ release had no working title back in 1996. It has now!

…a lick of the old cassette box…

Ok, I know what you’re thinking but you are wrong, you really are this time… give us a break!!!

 

Happy bidding!

Pop Will Eat Itself. PWEI. Wonder Stuff joint t-shirts

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Two t-shirts from a joint gig we played with the ‘Wonder Stuff’ at Birmingham ‘Powerhouse’ in July 1988. Both I have worn and washed maybe a couple of times but they are in very good condition…both I would say are size…’large’.

The back prints of each shirt claim the ‘rival’ band to be ‘cr*p’ in honour of our self deprecating ‘Black Country’ humour and a phrase (‘the poppies are cr*p’) heralded by ‘PWEI’ on our debut album artwork for ‘Box Frenzy’ and also emblazoned on badges that were sold at gigs.

As its Christmas I have raided some words from a previous eBay sale in order to extort as many ‘fun tokens’ from the festive season as possible. After all Clint is ‘home’ for Christmas so ‘give us a break’!

I will however update you all with my personal thoughts and experiences from the December 22nd 2012 Birmingham ‘O2 Academy’ gig that featured the same two bands some 24 and a half years later!

But for now let’s step back in time to 1988… marvellous!!!

The artwork for the ‘PWEI’ shirt was lovingly put together as part of their first commissioned product for the band by ‘the Designers Republic’. It features part of the artwork for ‘Def Con 1’. It’s classic ‘tDR’.

In 2005 when ‘PWEI’ had our glorious ‘reformation’, I ripped this artwork and combined it with the ‘sample it, loop it, f**k it and eat it (rewind it)’ slogan on my employers photocopier in a D.I.Y punk style. I faxed it to ‘tDR’ as an idea for merchandise. Imagine my surprise when the design was used without any changes… imagine my surprise when that shirt sold out first… cool!

From memory I remember playing ‘Def Con 1’ for the first time at this Birmingham ‘Powerhouse’ joint-headline gig with ‘the Wonder Stuff’. PWEI had been popular for a while but ‘tWS’ were the young pretenders and on our tail. Clint and Miles from ‘tWS’ used to live together (not in the biblical sense) on the 13th floor of a block of high rise flats in Colley Gate just the other side of Lye, just the other side of Stourbridge. There was great friendship but also rivalry!

The ‘Powerhouse’ gig was billed as a joint headline although I think we played the headline slot. The ‘Wonder Stuff’ were about to go massive and we were about to give up our crown as ‘Stourbridge’s finest’!

I think their single, ‘A Wish Away’ released that week had a chance to chart…top 40…and actually during their set!!! I think they just missed out…number 41 or similar…unlucky…we congratulated them on their set but commiserated with them over their disappointment at not entering the top 40. We retired to our dressing room to prepare to follow their brilliant set. We instantly but secretly rejoiced in their close top40 failure. “GOOD” we all said! I guess we were under pressure and hey yes just a little jealous. Bad stuff is jealousy.

Oh well, ‘Hard luck’, ‘tough cheese’, ‘hard cheddar’!

They were soon to take the charts by storm but at least tonight they might not ‘blow us off’, again definitely not in the ‘biblical sense’ anyway! They didn’t need our sympathy!

‘Def Con 1’ shook the place. Rarely does an un-released, un- heard song go down with a crowd better than an established favourite. It received such great praise we played it again in our encore.

We had stepped it up a gear.

‘Def Con 1’ was a pleasure to play; simple for me…a few samples triggered from one key, three basic guitar bar chords and a simple trumpet outro riff. Thanks Clint!

I was always a bit of a worrier so for every ‘Def Con 1’, ‘Auslander’ or ‘U.B.L.U.D’ that was a pleasure to play, Graham would terrorise me by…’too many notes’.

Many of his songs gave me nightmares…there were just too many notes, loads of them always on the black keys, or to those interested…the thin ones. These keys were as thin as my musical competence was spread and when confronted by the five ‘blind cobbler’s thumbs’ on my right hand the likelihood of any satisfying musical triumph emanating from the speakers would be a miracle. If my left hand approached anywhere near the keyboard I came out in a rash! Quite frankly my performances were, how can I put it…’error strewn’, so much so that if I annoyed ‘Grasshopper’ our front of house sound engineer, he threatened to turn me up in the mix next day! I don’t know, did he?

Graham’s keyboard riffs turned me grey and bald. No sooner had I successfully played a ‘DefCon1’ my dread would be exposed to the flute riff in ‘Axe of Men’, the fast marimba sequence in ’Another Man’s Rhubarb’ or the lead verse riff in ‘Dance of the Mad Bas**rds’.

Although recent history has revealed Clint’s film score music not to be shy on the multiple note pattern he always kept it simple for me, his old school chum! Thanks mate!

 

Fast forward to 22/12/2012. Hung over from Friday night Xmas port. All dayer is thankfully off the cards. How does about 3 sound. Sounds bad but as I said to the Mrs. I can’t let my friends down.

About 3.30 pm I walk into ‘The Trocadero’ pub in Birmingham with my brother ‘Large Mole’ and my ‘best new friend’, a ‘Mr. James Anderson Brown’. Gentle start… lager shandy, get an idea of the football scores and hit the German market… it’s persistently raining… one lager will do… so we plan some nice grub in the comfort of the ‘Victoria’ pub which is close to the ‘O2 Academy’ home for the big PWEI reunion, the first since 2005. ‘PWEI’ shirts fill the pub, I’m loving ‘the vibe’.

Graham Crabb is sure to be there, Adam Mole has made big efforts already, Fuzz Townshend is bound to be there as he now plays drums with the ‘Wonder Stuff’. Clint Mansell is due to land in the UK today from Los Angeles so will he be on time? Will he want to put his bag down in Stourbridge, turn around and go back out again? Rich March is rehearsing with his band until about 7.00 pm. He sounds a bit of a grumpy Yorkshire man, a bit non-committal.

Thankfully Rich and his band like a couple of beers at rehearsals, this loosens him up, he arrives soon after Fuzz at the ‘Victoria’, he’s lubricated, and so are we. Graham has gone ‘awol’… he lost his phone last night, finally he calls me and the guest list is sorted.

Clint texts, he’s on his way… eta 7.00 pm. Last but not least I get a call from C.J infamous ‘PWEI’ svengali manager, fresh from the Birmingham City match, he’s now with Clint in the ‘Radisson Blu’ hotel right by the gig.

It’s getting close to stage-time for the new noise ‘PWEI’ guys, apart from Graham the ‘original PWEI’ guys and C.J are having a fantastic time together. I get a call from Rob Holliday who plays guitar for the ‘Prodigy’ and co-produced the new PWEI album… where are we? He is on the balcony at the venue with an expectant crowd… hurry up, drink up! I know Rob from the days just after ‘PWEI’ split in 1986. I flirted with being a roadie and did some work for ‘LK’, a band boasting Derry from ‘EMF’ on drums. I then did some gigs with Rob’s band ‘Low Art Thrill’ and liked Rob a lot. I lost touch and didn’t realise for many years he joined ‘Marilyn Manson’ and then went on to play with the ‘Prodigy’.

We raced up to the ‘O2’, big hugs with old friends and do you know what… for me it’s not weird at all… I have now seen the new ‘PWEI’ four times. I’ve always loved Mary who (apart from looking like a P.E teacher-not my words) is amazing. The three other guys look great and play great and are all really nice guys… to me I have no problem… I could never see an occasion when the original members will be on stage together again… and Graham has every right to do this… after all he wrote a large chunk of ‘PWEI’ music and we all had the opportunity to take him up on his new vision. We declined.

They come on stage to the classic ‘PWEI’ intro:

‘The Incredible PWEI v The Moral Majority’, and in homage to our pre-stepping on stage ritual me , Clint, Rich and Fuzz all place a hand on a kneeling C.J’s head as he pushes up against a resisting force of four hands. As he breaks through the resistance and fly’s into the air, all participants shout…’let’s ‘av it’ and we step on stage. But not this time!

 Traditionally the band did this five handed ritual before every gig on the bald pate of ‘Melbourne’s finest’, a ‘Mr. Howeird Freeman’, proprietor of ‘Weird’s Bar and Grill’.

The ‘new’ band is fantastic, really heavy, really tight, really ‘current’, the songs sound great… we all love it. From memory they play:

‘Back 2 Business’/ ‘Preaching to the Perverted’/ ‘Everything’s Cool’/ ‘Dance of the Mad’/ ‘Auslander’/ ‘Their Law’/ ‘Chaos and Mayhem’/ ‘Wise up Sucker’/ ‘Old Skool Cool’/ ‘Nosebleeder turbo TV’/ ‘RSVP’/ ‘Def Con 1’/ ‘Get the Girl…’.

Loved it!!!

Hung around the dressing rooms a bit, saw the ‘Wonder Stuff’, more old friends and then hit the bar of the ‘Radisson Blu’, lost my best new friend… in Birmingham, not socially… I hope!

Cab to Stourbridge with Large Mole and Clint. Bed at 4.30 am… apparently…

Woke up with no hangover… can’t explain that one… but I’ll tell you one thing, such occasions don’t half make for a great night out… great music, great friends, great love… and do you know what? I can’t wait till 21/12/2013 so we can do it all over again!!!

‘Happy bidding’!