Sunday, 20 December 2015

80s band invasion! Some are zombies; others, rosy-cheeked and twinkly of eye.

Everybody's re-formed. Some do it better than others. 

Ocean Colour Scene are back in the Irish Centre in Digbeth for their 20th anniversary tour gig.  I just spotted a flyer for a gig in Manchester next year, with The Wonder Stuff headlining. Also on the bill are Bentley Rythm Ace. Richard March of that band plays with Rhino and The Ranters, who supported the Stuffies' acoustic gig last week in Birmingham. The Ranters' drummer, Pete Hammond used to be in the Au Pairs. And lo, Au Pairs head honcho Lesley Woods is back in Brum next year. 

There's a lot of it about. In August 2014, I met up with Terry and Gerry as they plugged a comeback tour. We were kindly given the back room at the Hare and Hounds, and they ripped though 'Butter's On The Bread' live for me to use on the blog. It's here.

I went to the local gig, full of excited 50-somethings and some of their kids. The full band played: Sue and Mick on washboard/percussion and guitar, with Terry on Bass, and Gerry fronting on guitar.

Mile-wide grins all round. Since then things have moved on apace. 

Terry and Gerry are touring in 2016, with word of a semi-secret warn-up gig in February;  and they toured this past year with – gulp – Status Quo

I met up with three quarters of the band last month to do a thing for Brum Radio. We were still at the Hare, this time in a glamorous upstairs dressing room. This time we recorded in as good a quality as I could contrive. It worked fine apart from regular number 50 buses grinding along, and the odd cop car screaming down King's Heath High Street...

I'm fascinated about how you guys feel these days. None of us – especially me – are spring chickens. And yet your fans all came back when you re-formed, That doesn't always happen.  
Terry: And their kids!
Gerry: It's bizarre. We played Corby a couple of weeks ago. There were the staunch fans, who were not quite the same weight as they were twenty years ago, and don't look quite the same, and a bunch of young kids with 'billy haircuts who got into it because of their uncles and aunties, dads and mums. 
What I find interesting, seeing you on stage, Gerry, is that you have exactly the same white-hot enthusiasm: 'Oh my God!!! This is sooooo great!!!' 
Gerry: Well, it is!  We were invited to re-form, and we didn't know if it was going to work. But it did. 
Terry: It was a very exciting moment. My nephew was there to keep me in line. And he was impressed – 'My uncle can do that?' 
Gerry: We hadn't played those songs for twenty-seven years. We counted it in: one-two-three-four, one-two-three-four … and it just sounded exactly the same. Bit slower, maybe. And we were all really tired after about three songs! So that led to all the other things. 
Like touring with Status Quo? That seems an unlikely combination...
Gerry: We were due to go on tour with the Mavericks. Their manager didn't think we would gel, so that was that. But their tour manager said he had something we might like to consider: Status Quo. And we went Yes!!!
It was fantastic. We sent them our stuff, and Rick Parfitt came back saying, 'Yeah! They sound like us when we were little'. Our nickname of the tour was 'The Band With Too Much Hair'. They were really good to us. The musicianship was great. They had sixteen people on stage – string players. But despite that, they always gave us room to set up as we wanted to, never told us to cut the set. 
People forget that Quo have done this for nearly 50 years now, and that must flow into how they do things on stage.
Gerry: Absolutely. 
Terry: Their keyboard player used to play with The Herd, and he had all these stories about the 60s. He played with Hendrix the day he set his guitar on fire... said he was a nice quiet chap until then. 
Gerry: Ironically, we finally got to play the Albert Hall on this tour. I'm not boasting – but we got a standing ovation.  I couldn't believe it! From Quo fans!
You're still talking as if all this thrills you to the marrow
Terry: That's because it does! 
Gerry: That's the point of playing music. You don't do this to get rich and famous. You do it because you want to play from the heart. And the people that we really like, they do it from the heart. Success is great. But that's not what keeps us going. 

Brum Radio's Muso Takeover 

Terry and Gerry play the Hare and Hounds on February 18. Tickets here

See more music and radio and broadcasting posts on Radio To Go


Radio To Go on Brum Radio 

Mon 21 at 10pm: In The Studio with Steve Ajao
Tue 22 at 4pm: Big Wheels: John Mostyn
Wed 23 at 11pm: Live and Local: Steelin the Blues at The Spotted Dog
Christmas Day at 4 pm: Muso Takeover with Ruby Turner

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1 comment:

Larry Homer said...

I worked with Gerry in the early eighties when he fronted "The Man Upstairs".
I recorded three demo tracks for Graduate Records in Dudley. Even in those early days it was obvious there was an extraordinary talent in our midst and I was pleased to see him do well in a difficult business.
I'd also like to add he was a lovely guy and absolute pleasure to work with.