Okey-cokey-pig-in-a-pokey. On to the ‘ART’ EP’s.
I mentioned in an earlier post the very first TBOTB releases (namely the ‘CITIZENS’ and “SOULS’ EP’s…) as that Yin and Yang aesthetic is just something that I always seem drawn to. Opposites attract. Two sides of the same coin. All that stuff.
I find this view in life very appealing and artistically satisfying for some reason. I suppose because most of the time with music you’re presented a band with a certain image and genre (folk, pop, reggae whatever…) and they only play that one type of music and look exactly like you’d expect. I was never very happy to do that in TBTOB as I don’t listen to just one musical style – it seems a bizarre and unnatural way to do things more to do with marketing than anything else. Of course there are certain bands or types of music that I favour over others but I can’t think of one genre that doesn’t have both amazing songs in it as well as terrible ones. Except ska-punk. No excuse for that.
At this point, The B of the Bang had naturally started to shift from the fluid, ever-changing collective to a more stable line-up. University was ending and JD had moved back home to his Hastings castle. Matt was dabbling with domestic bliss and also exercising his inner-freak with his excellent and much missed Marvellous Mechanical Band (their live version of the Blind Date theme tune was something to behold…) and most of the other guys (Big Matt, Andy Foster and a few other waifs and strays…) all had their own musical projects to focus on.
Although I’d been in bands with my oldest and sexiest pal David Rhodes since the age of 14, he’d given it a bit of a breather when I started TBOTB but, after attending an 80’s Matchbox gig together at The Joiners (they seem to crop up quite a bit in our story as I was ousted out of our old, old band after trying to join them…) and chatting, he was up for entering the fold once more. He’s the finest lazy guitarist I’ve ever played alongside and I’ll perhaps miss that the most about t’Bang.
Jack was also involved at this point in a few other musical outlets – one was City Safari where I first noticed what an incredible voice he had (so very loud and….as I would find out after years of being friends so very irritating…) and the other was emo-pop types Whitsun (there was also Hats are for Heads which was myself and him knobbing about on silly instruments. We once did a gig on a park bench.). The drummer in Whitsun I first met in the studio whilst they were recording and he was wearing tracksuit bottoms. Instead of throwing him out as I so rightly should have done, I invited him to drum with us. That man was Elliott Gregg. How I rue that fateful day now.
So….the fantastic four….me, Elliott, Jack and Dave….fresh and ready to go….armed with a few tunes hit the studio and recorded what became the ART DECO ep with Nelly at the controls once again. The first track was ‘First Thought of the Morning’. It was actually an old song I’d written that just didn’t come to the forefront when doing the album. A few changes in structure and style (especially Dave’s Beach House-style woozy guitar…) and it seemed to work. It comes from the same lyrical lineage as ‘Last Day on Earth’ and, as that was the last ‘official’ song on the first album (not counting ‘END’ or ‘not-so-secret song’ ‘A New Road’…), ‘First Thought…’ worked as a link and also as a fresh new beginning. That’s certainly how we felt at this point I think. Invigorated and ready to go.
Here’s a couple of videos of it live…one unplugged at Record Store Day 2013 in the ace Pie & Vinyl for our second album launch where I fluff all the words (an all too regular occurrence) and another (from 6 minutes in…) where me and Elliott where powerfully hung over and he gives my favourite response to a lightbulb-based interview question ever.