1989 House of Dolls Fanzine Interview

Rose: Philip Morris & Mark Thompson

As with early singles ‘LA Rain’, ‘Goddess’ and ‘Velveteen’ which were baptized in warm praise, The Rose hope that 1989 will be when they ride into hearts with rock flower power once more. Thanks to certain disagreements with their old label Fire Records, the Rose disappeared for 18 months, up to December 1988. Several chapters in pop history passed during this time, and to say the least, they are relieved to be back, re-establishing their reputation. Angela Lewis cascades into conversation with Phil and Mark at a ‘return to the live scene’ gig at the ULU.
What was it like being away for so long lads?

Phil replies (in a good solid Leeds accent, I’ll have you know) “It was hell. A lot of us went through sleepless nights for weeks on end, not knowing what to do. We nearly split up twice. It’s very hard to go through something like that; just see you life disappear down the tubes”

What exactly happened between you and fire Records?

We were not happy with the way they were handling us. They were ripping us off – hadn’t paid us a penny in three and a half years, and released sub standard material. There was an LP that came out called ‘In Rock’, which wasn’t even finished. It started off as a 4 track 12″ single, and they turned it into an LP by taking the vocals off 2 tracks so they got 6 tracks, and they added the B side of an earlier single. He (not named personally) is just a rip off merchant. He’d say to us I’m gonna do this, and we’d say no, it’s crap, and he’d say you signed the contract I’m doing it anyway, adds Mark. Phil adds, we didn’t want to carry on with Fire Records but he wanted to keep us because he was onto a good thing, you see. We were making money for him.

ROA have put themselves in the driving seat by starting up their own record label, Avalantic Records. It is now they who decide what records are released, and when, what the sleeves are like, etc.

Er… how do you manage to pay for it?

We have a financial backer at the moment Phil says mysteriously. He’s going to get his money back, and quite a big percentage of the profit, easily.

I think the Rose hope part of the profit comes from ‘Never Another Sunset’, their album due out in March. While the Rose hope the lolly will come rolling in, fans eagerly clutching the new plastic on the way out of the record shop will be hoping it’s good stuff, of the quality of past singles. Phil: Some things you will be able to tell are The Rose Of Avalanche, some are new a bit different.

The title track?

It’s dynamically sound. One of those the women like, Phil says happily.

He more than a little chuffed to be able to say this. It’s true his lyrics are remarkably sensitive at times, and quite seductive for female listeners. He’s got a book at home…it’s erm ‘How to write sexy lyrics’ Mark laughs, I’ve seen it under his bed! It’s written by Paul McCartney.

But is it true you’re a shy person, Phil?

I’m shy with strangers but I’m not when I’m…”Pissed” interrupts Mark. Not when I’ve got my Philip Morris hat on, Phil continues. I think most people in bands are, like when they are at home, doing nothing. Mark: I’m a manic depressive. It’s true what Phil says, I think all this business about a living Rock & Roll life style, to do it for a year you would be dead. I have heard stories about bands that put across that sort of attitude, “Let’s all go and do it, maan”, and they come backstage and have a cup of tea. Which is fair enough, I don’t think there’s anything particularly wrong with that.

Ahh, the trails and tribulations of gigs. Not on only one occasion have I sensed a bit of tension between the Rose and a section of their audience.

Did you like the gig with Balaam last December?

Phil: To start with, until all the prats got on stage and started jumping off. It would be a hell of a lot better if people just didn’t do that, because it gets to me. We’ve got a new system so anybody who does that gets taken backstage by our roadies, gets the shit beaten out of them, then kicked out. A lot of bands like to say there isn’t a barrier between them and the audience, “we’re friends, blah, blah, blah”. I like that barrier there because it creates an atmosphere, a mystique about the band, which I like. Mark: Going back to what you were saying about the 18 months we weren’t doing anything, I think one of the reasons why we stayed together, is because generally, as a band, we haven’t really got the same outside interests. As a band generally we like the same kind of music, but at home we very rarely see each other socially.

When you were at home, was it depressing seeing so many of your contemporaries get so popular?

Phil: It was soul destroying. A lot of bands who used to support us have become quite big, like Fields of the Nephilim, The Wedding Present, All About Eve, and the Wonder Stuff. If we had the backing they have had, instead of like the put down that we have had, and hindrance from the record company, we would have been as big as the Mission, I honestly believe that.

Certainly, their early singles showed great style and promised even better things to come. But they belong firmly to yesteryear, and only Never Another Sunset can show us where the Rose are now. They’ve got their freedom, now many people are hoping they can prove they can really cut it.

The Rose in a Belgique Adventure


The Lads set off from Leeds tightly packed in their VW multi-purpose vehicle this being part of a cost cutting exercise. 7 ½ hours later the sweating mob reach Dover 2 hours late for their ferry.


1 O’clock Rose board the next ferry yo ho ho and a couple bottles of wine, a crate of Stella and a bottle of J.D. Later the Rose hit Belgium in an oblivious stupor. A little 2 hour drive and we arrive at our hotel for a kip.

The Rock Side Festival – Nerroetern

A lovely football type open air venue with gigantic stage PA and lights. Much liging in the hospitality room being extremely hospitable to every man, woman ,child and dog. After many Dutch, Belgium and other types of bands had been on the Rose took to the stage in a haze of glory and played such a brilliant show the Seers had a bit of a hard time headlining. After the show the Rose demolish their rider, the Seers ride and the Red Cross’s rider as well. The band split – half go back to the hotel; to thrash the Seers at pool, and general drinking, and half go off looking for the nearest nightclub, where Darren and freshed faced Andy could be seen strutting their funky stuff until well into the large hours of the next day.


The guys head home with a little stop in Antwerp to admire the scenery and find a bit more expense when someone who will remain anonymous looses the return ferry tickets. Oh well back to Stringa…..

1990 String ‘A’ Beads European Tour Diary

The Band

Phil Morris, Paul James Berry, Darren Horner, Andy Porter

The Crew

Sid, Om, Grape, Dave, Nellie & The Stones
Day 1

Overnight ferry from Dover to Ostend. Plenty of wine women and quite a bit of song, then a lovely drive to Mainz. Arrive 09:00am frozen solid.

Day 2

Mainz Festival. Meet German tour rep Danny ‘The Spliff’ Rae. Do brilliant show and pass out in Hotel bar.

Day 3

Off to Wuppertal, Sid off to hospital with blood poisoning. Contracted on the first day out. Amazing gig, you should have seen the lights. The stones find night club with free Tequila bar, and Andy on the floor.

Day 4

Schoppingen in a blizzard. The gigs a school but the crowd are hot and the package we have delivered is even hotter.

Day 5

Day off – invited to WDR rock night in Dusseldorf by the Mission. They have to leave early to catch their ferry so they leave the Rose their dressing room and all their rider. Backstage is brought to a stand still, hooligans sporting Leeds scarfs interrupt German television recording of the show, and the Mish receive a bill for £2,500 for damage caused.

Day 6

Holland Leeuwarden festival. All substances have to be disposed of before border. The Rose fly in and out again.

Day 7

Ubach Palanburg. Back in Germany Rose perform an amazing show. The entourage go to eat at 3:00am, completely comatosed by 4:00am they set off for Berlin.

Day 8

Berlin, absolutely knackered. We receive package from gorgeous Berlin well wisher. Feeling fine again we do the show and get showed the town.

Day 9

Day off – Hamburg. The Stones have a knack of finding the right club with the right amount of Tequila.

Day 10

Hamburg. The turnout is low (150) but the Rose do the business, and the merch stand is buzzing.

Day 11

Bestwig. The Rose tour bus gives up the ghost and is swapped for two executive type cars. Bestwig is a mountain and it’s -10°C. The gigs packed and the weary travelers are warmed by the sight of a snowman all the way from England, and the fact that after the show the bar gives away Tequila to anybody sporting a Rose pass. The Stones pass out.

Day 12

Ibbenburen. The Rose turn out the balloons the crowd are amazed and so are the band.

Day 13

Oberhausen. It’s a circus. The PA is set up in the wrong tent, but by this time nobody cares. More good will packages turn up & we love everybody.

Day 14

Day off – Bielefield. Tequila and a swimming pool. The Stones are in heaven and everybody else is down the local disco.

Day 15

Bielefield. More balloons more mayhem and Richard head, plus no hub caps on the cars.

Day 16

Dortmund. More balloons, beer, and packages than ever before. Tonight the band are Gods, and after the third encore they run out of songs. Record company rep enjoys himself so much me promises us loads of money and promptly passes out.

Day 17

Down to Innsbruck, snow and more snow. Van wipes out a Toyota Celica and gig turns out to be an anarchist squat with no heating (-15c), and one power socket. Pull the gig off to the hotel and into the restaurant. 34 Kir Royals later we meet some krampers which is just too difficult to explain unless your Austrian.

Day 18

Goodnight Vienna. Brilliant show, get to the last song of the set and then the Nazi’s start. Security does a runner, band and crew left to defend the stage against the ensuing riot. Band + Crew 23 Nazis 0. Quote of the week:
Vienna Nazi: “Where is the almighty Englishman now?”
The Stones: “Right in your face with a size 10 Doc Marten!”

Day 19

Day off. Travel to Zurich, visit the park and become happy happy people.

Day 20

Biel, Switzerland. Definitely hailed as the best gig of the tour, lots of snow and happy people. The Swiss certainly know how to rock out.

Day 21

Day off – Travel upto Munchen in a blizzard, can’t even stop for food as the breaks on the van don’t work in the adverse conditions. The Stones are now suffering from van fever.

Day 22

Munchen – The stage is 2″ high but the snow is good and the free after show Tequilla from the bar makes up for the stage dimensions.

Day 23

Lindau. The Stones wake up to find 25 bottles of spirits have appeared in their room, all in varying degrees of emptiness. Set off for gig in a force 10 blizzard, get there to find most of the audience couldn’t. Ended up playing in front of 100 frozen Bavarains.

Day 24

Augsberg. Leaving hotel at Lindau which happens to be on a hill the van with its summer tyres leaves the road and takes a small detour through an orchard. The Rose record the gig on video and the Tequila flows at the hotel.

Day 25

Karlsruhe. Can’t get served in any of the bars, can’t get in the nightclub, PA at the club has only 3 speakers but a package turns up that makes it seem all worth while.

Day 26

Schorndorf. Crew remembers the theme for Grandstand, the German promoters supply us with 10 bottles of Champagne to mark the success of the tour, and we all get totally wrecked.

Day 27

Frankfurt Zillo festival. Lots of get well packages, everything going well until the PA breaks down half way through the set. Manage to get it fixed and carry on regardless.

Day 28

Paris, France. Supposed to pick up the tour van but it’s not ready. Swap the cars for a crappy German mini bus with a number plate WIMP. Crew reach the gig 1/2 an hour before doors, and the band turn up and walk straight on stage. But still another excellent show, to round off an excellent tour.

Day 29

Party, Party all the way home apart from UK customs where they hold us up for an hour or tw

Facts About the tour

Total Attendance: 6,434 plus 356 Guests

Miles covered: 5,487
Vehicles wrecked: 4
Estimated Bottles of Tequila consumed: 64
Estimated Bottles of Champagne consumed: 85
Estimated Bottles of beer consumed: 1,600
Most used tour sayings:
“How’s that for naughty”
“No knickers onnnnnnn”
“They like it up ‘em”

1991 I.C.E. Tour Diary


So it’s off we jolly well go all bright faced and starry eyed. Down to Dover and onto our favorite ferry. Into the disco we go with the usual stock of stellaand blue label vodka. Phil starts up the now customary card school and proceeds to win everyone’s money, and then buys his own bottle of blue label. The crowd eventually reaches land and disembarks at Ostend. The drunken rowdy mob clears customs and sets off on the long haul to Dresden. We get as far as Hannover when we are met by a solid wall of traffic – this being very strange as it’s the first traffic jam we have seen in Germany and it’s 02:00am. The happy travelers fall out of the bus and onto the auto bahn. Phil having drunk his bottle of Blue label is now in a state of hallucinatory stupor and is busy banging his head on the side of the crew’s van. 1 hour later after Phil has been carried back to the band wagon and poured in we set off again. We hit Dresden auto bahn at 07:00am. We have to stop for breakfast and toilets at the now widespread West German type East German services. The band and crew break into the Coca-Cola machine and raid it’s entire contents. Finally we arrive in Dresden – what a town, what people, what a crap hole! (It’s said that when the wall came down all the good looking people moved to the West)


Radebeul Sekte – Well it’s like a youth club but it’s not too bad – there’s plenty of beer and wine and it’s really sunny, only problem is that no one speaks English and our German is crap. Anyway after lots of arm waving and gesturing we are all set up and ready to go. About 200 East Germans turn up and stand and watch for the first half of the set, then they start jigging about, and at the end they are doing what can only be described as barn dancing. We think they enjoyed it, and so did we, that was until we found out hotel was a holiday camp complete with 5,000 mosquitoes per chalet.


Lindena Open Air – This place isn’t on any maps and takes about 3 hours to find. Once there it’s the same old problem, no English sprechen. So we have a game of football the international friendly game everyone understands. Unfortunately we beat them into a pulp, especially Darren who is extremely brutal with his big boots. We think it is for this reason that we are given the furthest dressing room and locked away to starve. The show goes on to about 1,000 and it’s a blistering success notable for the Val Doonican sit down version of LA Rain. This time it’s a hotel – wow! At breakfast which is in the bar we get bacon and eggs- cor, and we meet an East German custom which nearly had us all fighting. When old East Germans greet each other on a morning it is customary to bang very hard on the table. That’s great, but not every time someone comes in – you get showered in eggs & bacon, coffee, tea, beer and anything else that happens to be on the table in front of you.

2/6/91 – 6/6/91

The Rose on holiday in Berlin – this section has been censored to avoid any red faces.


Magdeburg Kellertheater – It’s a cellar at the university and Megdeburg is a big Russian barracks, so not many Western influences here. No English again, plus they send us to the only decent restaurant in town. Strange people here, no applause, no shouting – after a set of total silence in the audience the Rose go back stage to commit suicide, only to be stopped by the gleeful promoter (who’s bar sales had been astronomical – they had never seen so many people in one place before) he tells the band they must go back on, “but they hate us” shout the band…. “no no they love you, they would go home if they didn’t like you” So back on they went, twice infact, and the audience still waited after the gear had been packed…culture shock I guess.


Postdam Lindenpark. Nice town brilliant venue, brilliant show. Great all night party afterwards – what else can I say?


East Berlin Gerard Phillipe. Really good venue but no advertising, and nobody travels to East Berlin from the West, so 50 people – it’s a shame because the boys are rocking – the East Berliners cried and we had a big party.


Leipzig Eiskeller. Again no advertising, 60 people turned up because they heard a rumour. At first they sat and watched, but one by one they got up and started dancing, by the end they were going crazy. After the show the whole audience came back stage with a note written in English saying “Please we beg you please come back to Leipzig, thank you for coming today” …. Well doesn’t that bring a tear to the eye, and they even brought everyone a drink.


Braunschweig Jolly Joker. After another hard night in East German student accommodation we wake to find the van has now lost both wing mirrors, but we don’t care because today we are off back to the glorious efficient English speaking rider waiting when you arrive back in the West. What a massive club, we are playing the back room, it’s packed and the boys rock out to the usual rapturous West German reception. Afterwards a special treat a hotel and how we love pillows, fully pillows.


Heiligenhaus Der Club. It’s a lovely little place only one problem – the PA doesn’t work. Only one thing for it Om the soundman strips it down and rebuilds it which takes 5 hours, but what else can you do with 300 people waiting outside? Anyway it works and the show goes on a little late, but it’s great, if a little hot.


Day off – Phil, Darren, Garpe and Clench head off into the sunset to find enlightenment. That leaves Paul, Andy, Danny, Ran, Sid, Om to find amusement in Koln. So off we go to see Rausch – it’s a journey worth making as their hospitality is second to none, they even let Andy backstage. After that it’s tour of the clubs with extremely sore noses.


Bingen Open Air – PA is fucked again, half an hour before we are due on stage there’s about a 100 people, then all of a sudden 1,500 turn up – what a relief! Amazing gig, great little town, but no night clubs.


Reutlingen Zelle – The PA is so small we have trouble finding it. It’s just too damn hot & everyone is in serious danger of collapsing.


Off to Ostend and back to Leeds at top speed – all totally wasted, warn out and knackered. We must never have a holiday in the middle of a tour again thats for sure!