Monday, July 10, 2006

 

Peel Sessions 15


John Peel was well known for his support of left field acts does anyone remember the Notsensibles? Sometimes these acts would go onto greater things as was the case with the Fall and Wedding Present while at the same time staying honest to themselves and so remaining Peel bands. Another band that can be added to this list is the wry post punk outfit with a sense of humour from Birkenhead, Merseyside Half Man Half Biscuit. Formed in the early eighties more for something to do with their abundant free time than a calculated career move, in their own words the band was merely a way of getting through the day, in their early days they didn't even look for gigs to play! The band's bassist Neil Crossley had got himseld the job of caretaker at a local rehearsal studio, it was trough the contacts made here that they got to record that all important demo tape. True to the bands attitude they decided it would be a laugh to do the rounds of record companies with their tape. After numerous refusals the recording fell upon the ears of Liverpool label Probe's owner Geoff Davies who was keen to release an album. And so in 1985 'Back In The DHSS' saw the light of day. As luck would have it Davies had sent a test pressing to Peel who fell under their charm, hardly a surprise really with their savage mockery of minor British celebrities living the everyday tedium that is life on the dole. And so their very first session was arranged and 'Trumpton Riots' where the band use a UK childen's program as the setting for something altogether more mundane and sinister is from this November 1985 recording. They rapidly gained a fan base and their debut album was to be the biggest selling independent record of 1996. It appeared nothing could stop them as another single 'Dickie Davies Eyes' was poised to give them that all important crossover hit, they spit. Arguably this could have been predicted as they refused to play ball with the media, turning down prime time TV appearances because their football team had a home game even the offer of a helicopter to fly them to the match could not get them before the cameras. So it was that their reluctance to embrace a rock 'n' roll life style led to their 1986 return to ordinary life from where their inspiration had come.
They got back together again in 1990 and are still going to this very day, musically they may have become a little more sophisticated but without main songwriter Nigel Blackwell diluting his savage humour as displayed in his whimsical tales that illustrate his downbeat view of life. They are not going to become mega stars and this suits them just fine, an album every few years (still on Probe), some gigs from time to time, a loyal fan base and the freedom to to do as they please such as on their latest album 2005's 'Achtung Bono'.

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