Supporting Richard Dawson @ Islington Assembly Hall, London N1 2UD on 20th December.
25 & 26 Aug 2017 @ DOK Artist Space, Edinburgh
Friday 25 August & Saturday 26th August
DOK Artist Space, The Steel Shed, Ocean Drive, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ
Oct 2016 – Release of Return of the Ranters
The Return of the Ranters, originally recorded during the winter of 1985-86, is now available on Upset the Rhythm (LP/CD), and as a download via Bandcamp.
Winter 1985-86 – Foel Studio, Powys, Wales. RETURN OF THE RANTERS
SIANNE, DON’T WORK IN A FACTORY
THE HISTORY OF COAL
SLUMS STILL STAND
THE SEARCH FOR UM GRIS
BATTLE OF STONEHENGE
PITON DE LA FRONAISE
THE MOULDWARP’S JOURNEY
Guy Smith, Simon Marchant, Alun ‘Wilf’ Williams, Noel Blanden, Jimmy Miller
Returning to Wales and now with children in tow, the collective embark on what is probably their finest work so far.
Two sessions lasting around a month in total – much again taken from improvisations encouraged by engineer Brian Snelling. A real product of the times – Thatcher, the miners’ strike – the battle for Stonehenge (as witnessed first hand by Guy and Wilf) all contribute to a powerful and emotive recording… The album opens amidst vast clouds of atmosphere before the tape looped violin of ‘Sianne Don’t Work In A Factory’ starts to drag the song out of itself and into a sparse yet tender love song, full of hope, exalted synths and mechanised drum patterns. Acoustic guitars and walls of keyboard drone provide a fitting acre of space for the raw polemics of ‘Slums Still Stand’, whilst ‘The Search For Um Gris’ follows in full head-down, motorik mode with a miraculously hypnotic drum beat and whirling mood. “What’s the colour of your heart?” sings Guy as the song spools out and grows onwards into the distance. ‘Battle Of Stonehenge’ is a powerful and emotive recording detailing the band’s personal experience of the aforementioned Police ransack of the Peace Convoy from the same year, and as a result provides the rallying point of album. Beginning bravely as a solitary spun-out voice, the song eventually becomes awash with choruses of guitar and reverberating synth, joined finally by adornments of violin and an entrancingly agile beat. ‘Mouldwarp’s Journey’ concludes the album with 10 minutes of epic improv, drawing on field recordings, murmured vocals, slowly-phasing tonal clusters, a miasma of percussion and wordless rapture.
The recording, now titled ‘Return of The Ranters’ is not released as with Guy, Jimmy and Wilf living in squatting communities in South London, and Simon and Noel re-locating their families to rural Kent – the Family Hawaii splinters…
Guy and partner Viv take to the road in an old Bedford bus with their children Sianne and Daisy, busking, playing mainly folk music and learning to juggle and performing street shows throughout Europe and Japan… Jimmy moves to Scotland fly posting…
Simon plays in bands Jacobs Ladder and Zinta and the Zoots, Jimmy writing tunes aplenty, Guy relocating with family to Wales living the good life… Wilf also leaves London with his family…
A new Century dawns, original Hawaiians Nick Rose and Jim Lusted die and are mourned……
Guy – usual shite, Simon – guitar and screwdriver, Alun ‘Wilf’ Williams – bass, Noel – drums, Sue Leeves – voice of Louise Michel, Jimmy Miller – background presence.
The world is changing fast – communal living in South London, demonstrations, Stonehenge and the free festivals, more political awareness and activity, hope, despair. Alun ‘Wilf’ Williams joins on bass and along with scouser Jimmy Miller moves into communal home – close friend Martin Pawson dies sending profound ripples to/from the heart of the band. Mark Tyler disappears into the ether… the Family Hawaii becoming embroiled in the local underworld… eventually to escape and return to the rolling hills of mid-Wales – but things have changed, Whats Going On? is a more anarchic collection of ideas, albeit with some extreme and powerful moments. Guy and Dave spend a couple of weeks in the editing room cutting and pasting the final mixes to create the finished article… good friend and photographer Tony Harrison emigrates to Australia after being savagely attacked and injured at a party in London. Illuminated records self destructs and again the album only available in a handful of shops in the U.K. Most of the 1250 albums pressed exported. Two different covers neither with any writing on front… but as Upset The Rhythms Chris Tipton says “even now sounds like it was beamed in from the future, the effortless experimentalism and tape collage nature of the album flows with grace and endless imagination”
Live sets continue to become more theatrical; Jim Lusted rejoins for a short tour of Switzerland culminating in headlining the Ton Zeit Ton alternative music festival in Basle with the boys resplendent in face paint, battle fatigues and – for the beginning of the set – total darkness…
Released early 1984 on Illuminated Records Jams 38
June 1982 – Foel Studio, Powys, Wales. MORE WEALTH THAN MONEY Illuminated Records JAMS 23
RED HARVEST 2.47
BRITISH WARM 10.00
YELLOW RAIN 4.45
NEW STANDARD 2.84 (sic)
AN OLD STANDARD 5.00
OTHER WAYS OF KNOWING 9.57
WORDS ARE NOT ENOUGH 1.51
RETURN OF HOLLOW LANDS 4.10
HA HA THE STORY OF A SUNKEN FENCE 2.41
SALLY IV 8.05
LEFT ALONE WITH HER PIPE 10.15
TRAVELLING WEST 10.05
Noel Blanden – drums, Simon Marchant, Guy Smith, Mark Tyler – the rest. Engineer – Dave Anderson. Vocals on ‘Ha Ha’ by Liz Blanden, Klaus and photographer Tony Harrison.
A new Collective spirit means that all music is communally credited. Most tracks on sides 1-3 are re-worked improvisations whilst both tracks on side 4 are in their original improvised form. Ex-Amon Duul and Hawkwind bassist Dave Anderson plays on some tracks, Guy, Mark and Simon play the easier bits! Cello screeching provided by total-allergy syndrome sufferer and Greenfield Leisure member Simon ‘Klaus Wunderkind’ Pritchard along for the fresh air… a return to London and gigging (Janet Armstrong, in the audience, walks out of one gig shouting “Fucking Hippies”)… ‘Sounds’ magazine’s Dave Henderson gives “More Wealth…” a 5-star review… other review snippets: “a huge slab of mindblowing overblown dark progressive acid psychedelia” “Freaked out Krautrock” “absolutely mesmerising double album travelling through progressive rock, via industrial folk to freaky art-punk whilst sounding delightfully coherent” “an absolute gem of an album”…big interest in Europe but no record sales in Britain – years later we discover that Illuminated Records never paid their bills and the Independent Cartel of record distributors wont take Illuminated Records records… so available abroad only…
February 1981 – Rhino Studios, Dorking. Illuminated Records Ill 7
STILL OBEDIENT (Smith)
SHOULD YOU FORGET (Smith)
Guy – vocals and guitar, Jim – bass, Kev Armstrong – guitar and drums.
Guy and Jim pulling in different directions – band splits to leave Guy with the name and some new ideas pushing the knobs as far as they will go, Jim and Kev help out…
Most of 1981 spent recruiting new travellers. From down the road and ‘Greenfield Leisure’ came Simon Marchant and pal Cliff McLenehan on guitar and bass and from fellow South London outfit ‘A Circle Charmed’ came Noel Blanden. Improvising along with Mark Tyler who appeared out of the ether with a string synth one day, joss sticks, hash, acid and patchouli were procured to further move further away from the new romantic, mod and punk clones… it was too much for Cliff but the remaining foursome spent a couple of weeks recording demos and then were given the green light by Iluminatus fanatic Keith Bagley to record a double album at Foel Studio in mid Wales. This was perfect as Foel was built and run by ex-Amon Duul and Hawkwind bass player Dave Anderson.
November 1980 – Mousehole Studio, Orpington.
PARTY PARTY (Lusted)
LEVELS OF WATER
THE RETURN (Smith, Lusted)
SANG SANG (Bertie)
Guy, Jim, Nick and Brian. Sang Sang sung by Bertie. Produced by Guy and Jim with Kev Armstrong and Pete Leggett.
Bertie Berlin would open the Hawaiians live sets with his own peculiar style of yodelling and poetry around this time. He took the name Bertie for this recording, which was picked up by Red Rhino records of York on the condition the recordings were issued as a 12″ e.p. with the Hawaiians responsible for everything including artwork for sleeve and labels.
Released February 1981 as GALA FAILED 12″ E.P. RED RHINO RECORDS RED 8
October 1980 – Tux 13 finally released.
Despite delay and dodgy production; single makes #44 in newly launched independent chart (Nov 1980).
20 May 1980 – John Peel Session. Maida Vale Studio
THE BEAT GOES ON
MEMORIES (Lusted, J.Armstrong)
LEVELS OF WATER (Lusted)
UNCLE GREEN GENES
Guy, Jim and Nick joined by drummer Brian Kealy with Sue on backing vocals.
Janet leaves to go solo. Session is broadcast 3 times over next six months.
April 1980 – Alvic Studio W. London: Dining Out Records Tux 13. Release Delayed
THE BEAT GOES ON
VENTILATION (Smith,J Armstrong)
Guy and Jim – vocals and guitar, Janet – vocal, Nick Rose – bass, Chris – drums, Sue Leeves and Sarah Harley – backing vocals, The Famous Delfonso – sax, Roger Smith – violin.
Ex-Clash roadie and nice man Nick Rose joins on bass, The Heartbeats Chris ‘wacker’ Westerman continues to stand in on drums. An accapella version of ‘Heaven’ from the film ‘Eraserhead’ is uncredited at the end of ventilation on side 2 – ignorance of copyright laws.
Production by Nick Godwin – hmmm next time we’ll do it ourselves.
September 1979 – 1st demo at R.M.S. 8 track studio South London
THE BEAT GOES ON (Smith)
COINCIDENCE (Smith, J. Armstrong)
DARK WORLD (Lusted)
I WANNA (Lusted)
Guy Smith – vocals and guitar, Jim Lusted – vocals and guitar, Janet Armstrong – vocals. With Kev Armstrong – guitar, Colin Donaldson – bass, Chris Westerman – drums.
Punk is dead. Guy, Jim and Janet survive to journey into the unknown… kicked offstage at first gig at The Brecnock in Camden for being too weird the south Londoners get pals Kev, Colin and Chris to lay down backing tracks whilst they direct and play with the controls. A John Peel session and first single deal are result…