Saturday, March 18, 2006


Thank You Mr & Mrs Henderson

today's title refers to the parents of one Davey Henderson, so why all this gratitude, simple really he is one of the great unsung heroes of modern music. Rising from the ashes of the original punk scene Henderson formed the Fire Engines in 1980. Based in Edinburgh they were linked to the post punk movement and the Post Card family of artists, though the Fire Engines had different inluences such as the Voidoids and James Chance. Their self produced debut 45t 'Get Up And Use Me' was a reflection of their early gigs, a short sharp shock of sreamed vocals over over jagged guitars and a frantic drum beat. They were quickly snapped up by the new Fast label (also home to early recordings by Gang of Four and the Mekons), the fruit of this association was their first and only long player 'Lubricate Your Living Room' which came packaged in a custom made plastic carrier bag as opposed to the more traditional cardboard sleeve. Their new single the more pop inflected 'Candyskin' was to be their biggest (indie) hit, but this success was not to be consolidated and by the end of 1981 one of Scotland's most inventive and original bands was to be no more after two brief years of existence. Fire Engine's product is rather hard to come by, Domino have compiled a live and early version disc called 'Codex Teenage Premonition' though sadly the excellent and much sought after round up of their studio works 'Fond' has long been unavailable.

Henderson Came bouncing back in 1983 forming Win with ex Fire Engines drummer Russell Burn. Much more pop orientated and so more accessible for the masses, they never the less failed in commercial terms. They were to release two albums on two different labels, the first of which 'Uh! Tears Baby' did not see the light of day until 1987 and contained a local hit single 'You've Got The Power' which was helped along by being used in a Scottish beer advert. Two years later their final album was unveiled 'Freaky Trigger', despite rave reviews and sublime slices of modern pop such as 'Love Units' they failed to motivate the public and dully called it a day before the decade was out. If You fancy buying anything by Win your best chances are with eBay and Gemm.

After Having been so well received by the public you would expect Davey Henderson to take up a day job as an accountant or something, but no 1991 saw the birth of his new project Nectarine No 9.
His new combo kept the pop sensibilities of Win and conjugated them with the more avant garde leanings of the Fire Engines, thus Henderson came up with another winning formula as for as the critics were concerned. Nectarine No 9 have been described in many ways but maybe my favorite is of them being in a "Beeffheart/Zappa vein, though more modern, swathed in a layer of effects and samples'. The band are currently resident on Beggars Banquet who released 2004's 'I Love Total Destruction' to the usual lack of interest from the record buyers. One of my personal fave songs is 'Constellatons of a Vanity' from 'received Trangressed and Transmitted'.

It would appear that Nectarine No 9 are actually inactive, but who can tell with Davey Henderson what he'll do next. March 4, 2006 saw him play a session for BBC6 with the Fire Engines in Manchester where they also played a gig the same night. There was also the split Fire Engines/Franz Ferdinand single sort of teacher/pupil thing where they each covered one of each others songs. I for one would be very happy see Fond re-edited then you treat yourselves without forking out a fortune!

Great to see Win getting a mention nearly 16 years after they imploded! To those who are interested, I maintain 'Trash Icons', a website with a full discography and history of Edinburgh's finest pop postpunkers and have included all manner of ancillary info such as gig reviews, magazine articles, related news (such as the recent Nectarine No.9 / Fire Engines activity), links et al. You can find 'Trash Icons' at :

Best Regards,
Uncle Monkey
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