ALFRED, LIGHT THE FIRES

Onto ‘Alfred…’ then.

This song probably encapsulates early Bang the best. It’s still one that I love playing and overall am pretty proud of. I think it was Breaking More Waves (a local music blog that was one of the first to feature us…) that said it sounded like ’80’s Matchbox B-Line Disaster gone folk’ which at the time I relished, being a big fan of Mr Mcknight and co.

I seem to recall another review not taking to it at all and saying something about ‘jazz hands’ and me being a ‘public school boy’. Well…I’ll accept the jazz hands bit gladly but if you saw the school I went to then you’d know that couldn’t be further from the truth. At the time there were loads of lad rock/sub-Oasis bands – it was rife in Portsmouth and I used to get pretty annoyed that, as a working class lad, it felt like I wasn’t allowed to write about anything other than going out and getting pissed. I’LL SHOW THEM I thought….

Anyway….back on subject…

‘Alfred, Light the Fires’ (or ‘Alfred, Burn the Cakes’ as my Dad calls it…he also calls ‘Knockin on Heavens Door’ by Bob Dylan ‘Up the Garden Gate’…don’t ask me why… ) was actually based on a dream I had about an old man in a Nursing Home writing his memoirs. In them, he tells the story of when he was a little boy in the 1920’s. Messing around as a kid he accidentally burns down this big old house and, in the story, said mansion turns out to be the very nursing home he’s now in so he ends up killing his future self. Deep eh?

It was the first song I wrote that wasn’t typical verse/chorus/verse stuff and we tried to pack a lot in to it’s 3 minutes. This was the pre-Mumfordisation-of-music and the use of instruments like the ukulele and accordion were fairly different to what was going on around us. I remember we also played a gig where, in the middle section of the song we held a meat raffle. You don’t see Radiohead doing that do you?

I met Matt Allen the drum-meister on the first day of our Music Tech course and, like me, he was a little older than some of the other students. He also played in local heroes The Ridgeway who I really liked and had played alongside in an old, old band of mine. I think he’s only ever listened to 3 bands – The Beach Boys, Super Furry Animals and…..OK make that 2 bands. After my early solo outings, me and Matt did a fair few as a duo before being joined by James Dennison (JD) on guitar and bass. He added the lovely little guitar run in the waltz bit of ‘Alfred…’ so that meant he was in the band whether he like it or not. Even though he liked Genesis.

The early recordings we did of all the stuff that would later go on the first album were actually initially destined for 2 EP’s called ‘CITIZENS’ and ‘SOULS’ respectively. I like the twin EP thing showcasing two different aspects of a band – we repeated it later with the ‘ART DECO’ and ‘ART NOUVEAU’ releases. I shoddily set up ‘Stroll On Records’ and managed to blag them up onto iTunes but the recordings weren’t great as I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing which is why we redid them for the album. All except the track ‘Sleeping Sickness’ which is lost somewhere in the annals of time. Probably best as I seem to have ripped off the main theme from The Da Vinci Code for it. The reason Jack Malpas-Coker ended up in the band is that he did a remix of that song whilst he was working in the studio and made it even more depressing than it already was. Some skill I think you’ll agree.

A very talented chap called Joseph Loughborough did the artwork for the single so if you have a copy then perhaps hold on to it as it might be worth something one day (the music itself won’t!) – his stuff is fantastic and his images suited the song perfectly. He also did our one and only t-shirt design fact fans. A live version of ‘Lung’ recorded at local station Express FM and a remix of ‘Alaska’ by my friend Phil (as Hexa Decibelz) became the b-sides…such things still existed at that point you see.

Alfred

I’ll chat about the guys who recorded and released our stuff in the next couple of posts….meanwhile – I’ve managed to find that the CITIZENS EP is still up on line in Kenya! Good lord:

https://itunes.apple.com/ke/album/citizens-ep/id265593361

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Published in: on August 18, 2014 at 10:46 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great song, probably the one that made me get the album after hearing you guys perform it live.
    Loving these write-ups. Really interesting to hear the stories behind the songs, so thanks for sharing them.

  2. Rich J, I believe we bought the album via my phone whilst we were still watching the band play. 🙂


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