Source: Matthew Rees
“A Bloom With A View” Those leather clad lads of Leeds The Rose Of Avalanche don their shades for a bit of storytelling about life in the ’60′s, big flashy shirts, plus some bitchin’ gossip on The Mission. Kevin Murphy takes it all in. Steve Double gives it his best shot.
The Rose of Avalanche are blooming. Their arrogant entrance astride the magnificent “LA Rain” some two years ago has been followed by some sweet moves in “Goddess” and “Velveteen”, and their latest swirl “Always There”
Time has brought them a confidence, competence and a real drummer in Mark Thompson to replace the drum machine that adorned their early recordings and appearances, and was contributing factor to them being hailed as Sisters of Mercy plagiarists.
Those days are gone. Their new persona incorporates the chilled air of the Stooges and Doors, with a reverential treatment of “Waiting for the Sun” on the flip side of the new single, but their driving guitars and rhythm have the road to themselves.
And then there were five. The original three have blossomed into Philip Morris, vocals; Paul Berry, guitar; Glenn Schultz, guitar; Mark Thompson, drums and Nicol McKay on bass.
Following their tour early in the year supporting the Mission, Philip and Mark made the trip down from their home town of Leeds to the humble surrounds of their record company Fire near me.
Philip resembled the later, rounding shape of his hero Jim Morrison swamped in an outsize purple tent of a shirt, minus the beard, while Mark’s all leather look covered the Lizard King’s earlier period. they looked odd, great, and together.
Having survived the Sisters comparisons, wasn’t supporting The Mission an odd move?
Philip: “On the Mission tour we played to three times as many people as we’d ever played to before, that’s the only reason we did it. That’s what made it worth it”
But the Mission?
“We’re in the same vein as The Mission, like their influences are our influences and as far as rock bands are concerned those influences are the greatest in the world”
Those influences are at the forefront of a ’60′s revival spearheaded by the likes of The Cult, The Mission and Zodiac. It’s a path well trodden by the Roses and while they amble along in the the slow lane others take the fast lane to success. For some reason they have had to play second fiddle. Maybe their faces do not fit or, more likely, it’s that others have made the live show their priority.
It’s common knowledge that the Rose of Avalanche’s early shows were static, nervy affairs that did little to embellish the music or stir the crowd and which such extravagant competition impressionable eyes looked elsewhere.
“An image is important”, declares Phillip. “When we started out we just didn’t go for an image. It was like we were taking the piss out of ourselves for a year and no one caught on. Over the last six months we’ve realised that you’ve go to create a certain type of image that people can look up to,. so now each member represents what he likes out of music, and me…me I went and got loads of big flashy shirts”
Isn’t it unhealthy to regurgitate the ’60′s?
Philip: “It’s up to you, whatever’s your cup of tea. If you want to try and see if that works. The people that are buying records these days are not particularly aware of what happened in the ’60′s”
What do you think the ’60′s where about?
Mark: “It seems that most bands in the ’60′s – and I’m not just talking about bands like Hendrix and The Doors – had a feel to them, this kind of soul, even people like James Brown. It seems quite strange how many bands people have compared us to. It started off with The Velvet Underground, Doors, Stooges and went on to the Sisters and I’ve even heard things like Lynryd Skynyrd and MC5″
Philip: “We’d say we were a totally unoriginal band, but you name me one totally original band and they’d be shit”
Maybe: “I think the only comparison that really hurt me was when someone said that I drum like Ian Beale from EastEnders”
Pop’s history is littered with casualties, those who choose to compete do so for varying reasons, some to satisfy their ego’s, some their souls and some of their curiosity. What lure tempted The Rose of Avalanche?
“We’re in a band to enjoy ourselves, make loads of money and become famous,” smiles Philip.
What comes first?
“Enjoying ourselves, cos if you don’t enjoy doing it what’s the point. There’s a lot of bands about, especially independent bands, that say they don’t want anything to do with money and all that crap, but it’s pointless being in a band otherwise, cos that’s what it’s all about”
After many years careful study I arrived at this theory that when pubescent popsters decide to form a band the first move they make is towards the mirror. If the reflection paints a pretty picture they prepare themselves for a future in the charts. If, however, the mirror is not quite so complimentary they resign themselves to a lifetime of exile in the indie charts.
Why is it that it appears the charts are the prerogative of the handsome (Gary Moore and Mick Hucknall excluded)?
Philip; “it’s simply that major record companies don’t tend to pick ugly bands. Mind you Wayne Hussey’s not particularly good looking. Like, I saw a picture of him in this magazine next to Dennis Norden and there was not a lot of difference…at all”
Do you regard the pop business as serious?
“It’s serious” states Philip, “as long as it doesn’t become a job. That’s the main thing because a job is serious and, as far as I’m concerned, enjoying yourself isn’t”
So what’s the best bit about being in a group then lads?
Philip “The women, the drugs, the whole aspect of it”
So it’s kinda what you expected?
Mark: “I think it’s a bit better then I’d envisaged. It’s quite strange, quite strange to start getting fan mail”
Philip: “It’s good when people send in letters saying their mother thinks your voice is gorgeous. I got a good one from someone who said they when to a concert of ours and shouted out “Velveteen” while their sister called out “LA Rain”. We played “Velveteen” so they thought we must prefer them to their sister. It’s really strange.
“We got this Valentine card which said that love between two is beautiful, but love between six is unbelievable. I don’t know what the girl had in mind”
Don’t you ever worry about AIDS?
Mark; “Yes. I think it’s struck about now. It worries me. I mean, if I went aboard again and some girl, that I didn’t know, threw herself at me, I’d think twice about doing anything. When I recently got back from a trip abroad my girlfriend had received on of those leaflets, she’d written on it, To Mark, love from the government”
Philip: “Like I’m not particularly bad with groupies. I’ve got this girlfriend in Leeds and if I didn’t have her I wouldn’t give a shit, I think I’d live a total rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, and probably die of AIDS in ten years”
Mark: “When we were on tour, all these girls would come up to us and ask if we were The Rose of Avalanche and we’d go, Yes yes excitedly and they’d say Can you get me into Wayne Hussey dressing room?”
“I think the answer is to get so drunk that you can’t do anything anyway”
Drinking seems to play an important part in the Roses lives, if you get my drift.
Mark; “I’d suddenly find myself on stage, pissed and from my point of view drumming when drunk is quite difficult. But I guess with practice, it can get to the stage where can actually handling playing an instrument and be drunk at the same time, I mean the Mission have obviously got that down to a fine art!”
That’s what they call professionalism isn’t it? Mark; “We had that pointed out to us by our tour manager” He said your lacking it?
“He said we were shit” laughs Philip. “He said we were totally unprofessional and then on the last day he lost all our money, so he wasn’t professional was he!”
Is this pop game something you’ve always wanted to play?
Philip; “It is actually, cos when I was young I never actually thought of growing up. I still occasionally think of myself as not being grown up. I look at people the same age as me and I think of them as a helluva lot older and grown up and I’m not! There’s still a child in me.”
I guess that would account for his shape and loose shirts.
As the ’60′s guitar revival gathers force, hungry consumers and greedy companies will be on the look out for fresh faces, and with the Rose of Avalanche blooming, their life in the slow lane could be nearing it’s end.
With Phil from The Rose of Avalanche, Crazyhead, Bomb Party, Gaye Bykers On Acid etc etc.
“It don’t seem right somehow.” (Anonymous dork, Altamont.)
UNBELIEVABLY, in recent months, I have seen bands of ostensibly sensible, youngpeople hallucinating horribly, covering ‘Born To Be Wild’, ‘Radar Love’ and ‘You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ yet’ and I have these lumpen antiquities applauded! Every day it becomes more worrying just leaving the house, wondering how soon it will be before finding an audience that might not laugh at ‘Stairway To Heaven’. The great gorgon Hippy, fornicating with Rock, has slipped unobtrusively out from under the double chins of The Mission, to be suckled by the pretend Rock fever of The Cult, and there’s more stubble coming every day.
So let’s KILL it!
IT DOES! It’s happening out there RIGHT NOW! Brains usually softened by allegiance to Sisters Of Mercy, Julian Cope and Killing Joke are anticipating the luxuries of laziness, when all you need do is lay back and let the effluence wash over you. truly, this is the Devil’s work. Mystical charms have sprouted round people’s necks and wrists. (Mother Earth! Hot damn, how interesting!), flares have taken over from the colorado beetle and a Roger Dean revival could be on the cards, posters and record sleeves even as we struggle.
Unless something is done to ensure this species are contained, and then educated, someone, somewhere, may even see fit to emulate Supertramp, as they are currently exhuming Hendrix. Satan, with controlling links in afghan coats and coach links with Marrakech is happy as a pig in castle Donington. How he will reap the wind caused by people rutting in medieval squalor, as their new Gods traipse all over them! he will laugh fit to burst as babies named Druid are breast- fed at free festivals and, when no-one is looking, he will inflict this country’s greatest, most debilitating curse.
DENIM. For menials who don’t try at all.
The roots of this revival are still visible through the top-soil. There has always been low-key interest in the Sixties, fostered most recently by brainwashing institutions like Alice In Wonderland; the clothes, mannerism and increasing torpor have been severely magnified by the success of The Mission (Jeremy irons on vocals). As the clothes get gaudier, so the audiences, short-haired, obtain longer, criminal records. These loners with perverse listening habits began to get chummy with Rocky Foreplay, and to them bands like Ghost dance come as a blessed relief! They haven’t got a song worth recounting, but make a pleasantly idle backdrop for mooching around in post-Goth sackcloth. or, if you have drippier melancholic feelings to hide, there is the failsafe support All About Eve can provide. Maybe Victims Of The Pestilence and their love-ins might work, or the Sixties respectfully revamped with Voodoo Child? To some, The Prime Movers’ socks may smell sweet, and for the really hopeless cases there is The Cult.
“Be my…Angel!” (Ian Arse.)
THIS is the danger period. 1987, 20 years on from when the stylish demise of that decade, with its mad and psychedelic bodycount, became flatulent and dreary. By 1969 you couldn’t move for headlice. The UN was on standby. Do we really want that to happen again in 18 months? A time, as then, of dim, distant performers, with considerably dimmer audiences? Acid’s already on the way back in large quantities. IT could happen, and that indolence, that blank-eyed approval that gave us progressive (sic) and pompous rock in unforeseen circumstances will be with us again. Remember, as the expansive minds of these consciousness-raising performers increased, so their imaginations contracted.
And then came Concept Albums. If anyone seriously wants The Grateful Dead, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, Jefferson Airplane, Spirit, YES, ELP or Genesis as role models, today’s usually ostracized pop may become heroic. (Five Star as anarchists?)
So far the signs haven’t been too bad. Longhairs with presentable variety. As people forget about Balaam And The Angel, and speculate over the date of Zodiac’s guest slot with Little & Large, the newer bands manage an unconnected sense of spirit.
For all their ponchos, Victims Of The Pestilence are a fruitily, wild bunch, Hunters Club cudgel The Buzzcocks, Voodoo Child claim to be a reverential archaeological dig and All About Eve know only too well the power of POP. Stir them in among Fields Of The Nephilim, Webcore, Batfish Boys, Crazyhead, Gaye Bykers On Acid, Scratch Acid, Junior Manson Slags and Rose Of Avalanche, all Hippy-free detergents, and the fall-out is admirably hemmed in. (Mind you, the Siegfried Sassoon Salon still calls to them…)
To find out where these people are coming from, it is as well to start with a man who clearly confesses a love of the past, Ricky Powell of Voodoo Child,.
“It certainly is getting trendy,” he reflects. “Let’s face it, most of the bands are putting themselves into that position. See a bandwagon, and jump on it.”
Criticisms of pre-stressed adolescence are cheerily dismissed.
“The music is base din early Seventies, but the way it’s projected is not. I like the way music’s gone back to guitar, bass and drums. It’s great, you’ve got to learn a bit about the instrument to be able to be a three-piece band. As far as writing songs goes, I think none of the bands are as good as that time.”
But he has hope.
“I believe what is needed is for one or two of these bands, like Gaye Bykers, or Crazyhead, or as well as ourselves, to break big, to say, no, it’s not a joke. Bands like us, playing Seventies rock, is happening now. People forget, they say, ‘God, that happened in the Seventies, why hasn’t it died?’ For kids of 18/19 it’s new, that’s why it’s taking off. Okay, we are like Jimi Hendrix our live show is based on that. People ask, ‘why are you doing that?’ but come down and see the crowds. They’ve all heard of Jimi Hendrix, seen hundreds of videos, but never seen it live.
“Some of the best music ever came out of the late Sixties, early Seventies, music still being listened to day and bought in large quantities. I can’t imagine Duran Duran still being appreciated in 20 years’ time. I know we’ll never recapture it again, but we are trying to create something from that era.”
People haven’t heard many madrigals before either but I suppose there’s no point carping continually. (You have to draw breath sometime.) Bad points Ricky?
“It’s to say ‘we’re not part of the scene’, that they’re doing it themselves, always slagging off Hippies. We don’t do that. I can’t really see the point. I think there’s a bit of Hippy in everyone somewhere along the line.”
(Frantically scans x-rays!) Is there any in Phil Morris of Rose Of Avalanche?
“If there is, I don’t know anything about it!”
Mock accents flying, Rose Of Avalanche’s adopted Americana, straddling both coats could saddle them as revivalists. Never one to mince words, Phil disagrees.
“We’ve done it from the beginning, slightly more accessible now. We can’t be put in with this thing. People could associate us with the image, especially Glenn, our guitarist; classic sixties guitar hero, glasses and stupid shirts.
“I dunno, it’s hard to understand. It’s obvious we are different, but it doesn’t seem that we are different.”
Prepared to give a brief nod of affirmation towards the idea of good rock songs, his view of the new pretenders is anything but complimentary.
“I think it’s appalling,” he grumbles. “I can’t see what people see in Crazyhead or Gaye Bykers for a start. They’re reverting back to shitpunk, not even good punk.”
The openly gregarious, unconcerned vocal trio of Leicester’s main coincidental onslaught, Anderson (Crazyhead), Andy ‘Jesus’ Mesquera (Bomb Party) and Mary (Gaye Bykers and, presumably, Andy’s mummy) react with little short of inertia,.
Anderson: “Fair enough.”
Mary: “You know ‘shit’ means? It’s a Freudian message for gold.”
Anderson: “It doesn’t really matter. It comes down to I know we do good songs, we’re a good band, and that’s what matters.”
And he’s right. None of these bands induce soporific trance. Visigoth visitations, here solely to twang contemporary bra-straps, their emission is far from impossible. Musical moustaches, the bands on everyone’s lips, they are antidotes (in Bomb Party’s case, anti-Christs) with literary awareness; great expectations stuffed inside their overtly dazzled heads. Similarly, Simon Detroit of the trusty Batfish Boys, the most eloquent non-spokesman for degeneration, is bemused by it all.
“You can cross Hip Hop with metal, so you can cross Goth with Hippy, which would be Gippy, with Metal, which’d make it Gimippy, and it just goes on and on! It seems everyone’s looking for something to blend together and make their own cup of coffee, but I think the main reason it’s happening is because kids of that age haven’t heard of that music, and it’s a new thing, but as regards all this imagery, what do people think they’re doing? It’s HIDEOUS!!!”
Well you’ve got a strong image!
“I was born with it,” he chortles. “We’re state-of-the-art Screaming Metal!”
As long as they don’t become rending metal, these bands will continue holding their heads above polluted waters with their economical historical affiliations and their ego-comical cynicism, but it’s no good any of them pretending that this is all entirely natural. They can’t just have started playing or dressing like they’ve never done before. The Punk and Goth years of the late Seventies and early Eighties doesn’t immediately lend itself to never telling the barber you’re sorry. They chose this direction, it didn’t choose them. Feigning surprise over people’s indignation and questioning is similarly short-sighted. To an outsider, so much colostomy knitwear and Long hair makes it hard to differentiate visually between The Cult and something cute, between a hippy, a rocker and a carthorse. People are being asked to deal with images, of dirt and malarkey, every nit as much as they are being subjected to long forgotten ‘artforms’, where even the guitar solo, which once served a purpose,. Could start beingthe purpose.
“The rebirth of the dirty rocker,” as Simon Detroit adroitly puts it. “Before, in the Sixties, acid was taken to try and ‘find’ yourself. Now it’s taken to escape from yourself. Same thing with music. Whereas before Led Zep might have been something amazing to be into when it first happened, now it’s like attempting to reverse our troubled times and escape.”
The Leicestershire Lovelies hum and hah behind sunglasses and curls.
Anderson: “That’s how we look. I don’t know if we did graduate towards it. Do you sit and analyze how you dress? The rocker thing I find a bit of a joke. The biker/metal thing is tedious.”
Jesus: “If you think about your image it becomes contrived. It’s a bit like saying why is your arse burning, ‘cos you had a vindaloo curry last night. That’s not why you had the curry, so that your arse would burn. You had it because you like curry.
Point taken. (At a distance.)
‘Good songs’, however, is another matter. The notion, expressed by some, that it takes backward appraisal to write them is laughably self-denigrating. Any band with self-respect should feel itself capable of writing them anyway.
“People ripping off good songs,” snorts Detroit, spinning.
The ultimate crime?
“Ripping off Led Zep badly is the ultimate crime,” the li’il devil continues, “and being accused of ripping off Led Zep when you’re not.”
How would you react if someone called you a Hippy?
“I’d probably bite their head off.”
“There’s a fine line between being basically crap,” Anderson ventures, “and being a boring self- indulgent muso. You have to get something in-between. We’re doing that fine line. We’re having a good time. I’m total crap. I was born crap and I’m crap now. It’s great…I’m gonna be a star. A crap star.”
Julianne Regan of the undeniably Hippy-infected but still mischievously adorable All About Eve shudders when the word ‘muso’ is raised.
“I hope that doesn’t happen! I’ve been listening to Pink Floyd this morning and even I would find it boring to watch them for an hour at Pompeii. Good Lord!”
Mary would practically kill for a ticket.
“Love to,” he burbles, trousers torn in anticipation. “They were a really good band. The first two albums were inspired. Everyone revered The Velvet Underground and, at the time, The Velvet Underground revered Pink Floyd.” (An extremely unlikely concept – Ed.)
WEBCORE, A BAND WHOSE CROSS-BOUNDARIES AND peculiarities have led to them erroneously dubbed as psychedelic hippies, find it all ludicrous.
Mick (vocals): “If anyone’s got any values they don’t need to align themselves with any cult or label, because those are personal values they’ve got for themselves.”
Karen (vocals/gyrations): “They think, ‘Everything else has been rehashed, so why can’t it work now?’ Cashing in on fashion.”
Phil (bass): “If it is a revival then it’s just a big wank, isn’t it?”
I must be coarse and agree. Prankster pop-metal-funk merchants Junior Manson Slags, who deserve to be in the end of the dream, haven’t got a clue what it (or anything) is.
“Is it such a bad thing?” guitarist Finn ponders. “I don’t think it is. Rock has lost its entire purity. Hippies have lost their purity, but the kids….what are they supposed to relate to? They’re relating to the music. What is better than that as a progression, have you got an answer to that?”
Ricky Powell, an amiable sage, appreciates the dilemma.
“It’s too young yet. No particular band has grabbed it. Going back to come forward, I can see progression coming in a couple of years’ time.”
With any luck we’ll all be dead by then.
“It’s a pretty optimistic viewpoint,” Simon D (!) rationalizes. “I presume they’re saying we’re distilling the essence of rock ‘n’ roll and we’ll end up with a finer, purer thing at the end of it but a lot of the original rock they’re taking off had nothing to do with the songs so much as being there. I suppose. Not that I was, but the whole atmosphere that went with it, as opposed to anything you could distill out of it…”
THOSE who want to forget the low stakes of the past are bound to fall upon them and it’s simply a question of how many of our prime young things and thugs will sink so low. How many will jettison shares in favor of stocks?
Graven images appropriated by raven lunatics like Zodiac Mindwarp and The C**t, with poorly rehashed Motorhead and Bad Company tributes is all bad enough, but with their craving for hollow theatrics and emotions they may manage it on a huge scale, because what all these bands had to do before was turn a club band into ‘a show’. With Old father Bono, one of the biggest hippies of the lot because them they can doze contentedly, safe in the knowledge that, beneath a landslide of merchandising, in some foreign field forever Woodstock, only cretins connect. (They also have the technology.)
“I can put my hand on my heart,” Julianne Regan says, during her Napoleonic impersonation, “and say we do put a very genuine feeling of love and concern into our songs, so the good that comes out of it is we’ll give some real joy to people, and get some back for ourselves.
“I’m a bit concerned we’re lumped in with all these people because I do dread it becoming a bit of a joke, trivialized and turned into a movement because all the bad apples will embarrass the good. I’ve got a feeling that these other…folk, are in great competition to be the vanguard of the Hippym Rock movement. Come the day of reckoning the bandwagon jumpers, if that’s what they are, will be seen in their true colors. I hope they’re getting ready to hang their heads in shame.”
Care to name names?
“I couldn’t, ‘cos that’s a ‘bad vibe’ isn’t it?”
(She screeches, which saves me bothering.)
Speculating what degree of involvement Chernobyl has played in this dreadful occurrence I am interrupted by Mary Byker, being as sweet as pie.
“Are we going to impose this kind of fascism and say people are not allowed to be hippies? With youth culture now you’ve got a huge spectrum of how you can represent yourself. Hippies represent pace and love and if that’s realistic to them, fair enough.”
But we have to stop them, to help them. And alleviate future breakdowns. Nobody is more embarrassed about the first Hippy and Rock explosion that lingered bombastically on for five years than those who took part. These casualties now thrive as capitalist dogs, running to evade their memories.
“It’s like asking us what we think of Curiosity Killed The Cat,” Mary pipes up, taking the question right out of my mouth. “You see’ The Sun’ and they’re taking acid. A tenuous word, ‘hippies’.”
Anderson: “I don’t give a shit. I just wanna make loads of money.”
Simon Detroit polishes off a Norton or two and assesses it all.
“I think the symptoms will be dying out by the end of the year and those happy little microbes with the strongest sense of melody will be left at the end. It is happening, that’s why you’re writing about it. Front pages of Sounds! When that starts, the tumbleweed gets rolling. There’s no way you can stop it until it wears itself out and falls apart which is, pessimism akimbo, what will happen and something else ill come along. People playing bits of toast, or something.”
That’s all we need. A Bread revival.
Hippy begat Rock, begat Pompous Drivel until, on the seventh day of the seventh decade God gave up the meths, saw sense, and invented Punk. Hippy and Rock have no place now if recreating sloth, because the old days were times of truce, when that was still affordable. Days of optimism are over, only cynicism and anger bears fruit. We need Crazyhead and Batfish Byker Bombs (etc) over and above the Old Order, as you may need your head dressing removed.
“It don’t seem right somehow.” (Anonymous Dork, 18 years on.)
Look around and wince. McLaren said ‘Never trust a Hippy’, which was a bit rich coming from the likes of him, but the idea holds true. (Never trust anyone with the initials M.M.) We’ve got The Mission, pleasant men, pleasant tunes. Zodiac! Peasant men, peasant tunes. Aren’t we lucky?
So, before anyone spikes your guns, putting petunias down your barrel, get those machine gun emplacements implanted around those suburban lawns. Alternatively, hold your nose and pray that an icy sense of perspective will blow the flower children back into the compost heap of credibility where they belong.
Chris Roberts’ recent (accurate) observation, that Hippy clothes always look like you’ve been sick over yourself, ties in with a couple of things. Mary Byker was correct in his earlier musing. The Longhairs aren’t committing any greater crime than the people who constantly open the Velvet Underground casket to tamper with the remains. They simply look worse.
All good things come to those who hate. Take a good look at what is happening an marvel at what a hopelessly lackluster ‘happening’ it is, if you’re seeking Ancient Britons then study the latest Cult video. Notice how they, and the Longhairs at gigs, look. How the facial countenance and coiffure strive to suggest torrid oral sex with decomposing mammoths. Then take those sleeping pills. Plagiarists will always claim they were only obeying orders, but we know, don’t we children?
Day 1 – Newcastle
In the interests of economy the band and crew traveled together in the back of the van, in the interests of comfort we tool a three piece suite (which wasn’t quite big enough to seat the seven people sentenced to suffer in there) and against the interests of safety the door wouldn’t open from the inside and on being opened, wouldn’t shut properly, adding some much needed ventilation and come completely unnecessary air conditioning. So in high spirits (if not temperatures) the merry band set forth. Within seconds of arrival confusion ensued with the first of many contractual cock ups which were to mar the proceedings. This time it was merely the inconvenience of having no monitors or lights – it was an ominous portant of what was to come…. Undaunted, on with the business at hand and the Rhubarbs (Tour Support band) were unleashed on an unsuspecting audience, the nature of their stage show cannot be wholly described with words alone, and therefore must remain largely undocumented, suffice to say there was a subtle blend of lingerie, celery, cabbage leaves & red dye (Rhubarb being out of season until the final gig of the tour) and a hefty chunk of no messin rock and roll. Encompassing subject matter of an unashamedly dubious nature – 10 out of 10 for entertainment value. Show time – The Rose justify their long layoff by being breathtakingly good. After the gig members of the audience come backstage for a chat and litation – a good time was had by all. One incident of note in the van – one of Dave’s by means of a one word answer reduced the band to hysteria which lasted until the pain became too great and we had to stop laughing.
And so North of the border to sunny Glasgow where further unnecessary irritations occurred, due to double booking the Rubes were unable to perform – The Rose however can and do. After the gig the guys to go one of the few hotels that will still allow us in and the two degenerates room ends up resembling a battle ground after the mobile party.
Arrived and the many hangovers took their respective owners round the Waverly Centre where the see through lifts and massive escalators made life bearable for a short while, but eventually more orthodox methods had to be used, so coffee was consumed by the gallon. The gig with the Rhubarbs actually playing playing, again went down a storm. After arctic conditions in the back of the van that night there was a noticeable addition of a stupendously large quilt and numerous layers of extra clothing.
Where absolutely nothing happened apart from Om the Sound man parading in front of the dressing room windows clad only in women’s underwear.
Contractual cockups yet again prevent the Rhubes from doing their by now semi legendary thing, but the Rose cruise through yet another spine tingler, and at the post gig celebration two young ladies were chatting with the band until quite late, but then the tete a tete was interrupted by the intrusion of a matronly figure shouting “where’s my daughter” The band packed up and left quickly in case they were charged with corrupting minors. Two days respite and thawing out.
On the way there we managed to find a low bridge & the van becomes slightly scared. At the gig problems occur when Mark’s drum kit pegs out rather suddenly, but against all odds the team still prevail. Notable for the fact that there was more beer than could be downed by the lads in the after gig session, and of course the inevitable mobile party ensued. It was at this point we realised how difficult it was to communicate with the tour manager in the front of the van for calls of nature.
Frenzied activity results in the acquisition and subsequent unveiling of the gleaming golden emergency replacement drumkit. The evenings performance is more dazzling then usual. 7 dates into the tour and no casualties as yet. B & B with the welcome feature of an open bar as long as you’re upright private bar. But moderation prevails and all retire to the seeming safety of their rooms where discovery of the substantial remains of the Wolverhampton rider ignites a spontaneous session that last into the wee hours. Traditions must be maintained and certain crew members were found wandering the corridors.
A strange venue, tin roofs over cables with stuffed cats on – the overall decor is reminiscent of a Victorian antique shop, apart from the TV’s dotted around which the promoter delights in showing us his personal collection of videos that are painstakingly woven together to create a delicate tapestry of blood and sex. The video most prominent tonight is his favorite, the classic Killer Clowns from Outer Space. Perhaps he was trying to tell us something. Still the Rhubarbs and the Rose both prevail over cramped stage conditions and an inadequate PA, to rip it up. The lads then spend 5 hours in the back of the van and hit home for two days off to contract the hypothermia.
Where the doorman display the usual courtesy and tact when ushering out guests, crew, the band. There is a retributive strike on the van leaving permanently scarred. Due to over zealous consumption of alcohol 3 girls become amenable to the suggestion they travel 300 miles in the back of the van with 7 people who are almost human, and who’s mental equilibrium’s is more than a bit disturbed. Inevitably the situation becomes interesting in the following struggle. Om transforms into a raging beast and visits his wrath on one of the poor unfortunates – naturally the recipient of the punishment objects and plants her Doc Marten in Dave’s head head so hard it sounds like John Bonhams bass drum. The next morning they awoke with no recollection of the previous evening and the question that always springs to mind on these occasions – “Where am I?”
The home straight, the final three gigs and so with composure regained and relatively sober onto the final onslaught. As always with the end in sight things really start coming together. The momentum picks up at a blistering pace and the boards are left smoldering.
The circus arrives in London at the Marquee, which contrary to prevailing beliefs is not the be all and end all of rock venues that it’s cracked up to be. What self-respecting venue would be wimpy enough to have a PA cut out at 98 db’s – Not very rock & roll. They are also too snotty to allow a backdrop to cover their logo. They justify this insanity by saying that it’s an enormous honour to play there – was say Pah! Despite these tiresome drawbacks & uncivilized bottle throwing incident the evening was a resounding success. The extra leg room on stage gave rise to the usual scintillating performance blah, blah, blah.
It seems that no one came remember Leeds so all we can say is that it must have been good, or bad depending on which way you look at it.
Tour Set List
1.What’s Going Down?
2.The World Is Ours
4.Nowhere To Run
5.Not Another Day
6.Never Another Sunset
7.You Don’t Belong
9.King of Fools
10.Don’t Fly To High
11.A Romantic Vision
12.Too Many Castles In The Sky
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 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…..
Phil Morris, Paul James Berry, Darren Horner, Andy Porter
Sid, Om, Grape, Dave, Nellie & The Stones
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.
Mainz Festival. Meet German tour rep Danny ‘The Spliff’ Rae. Do brilliant show and pass out in Hotel bar.
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.
Schoppingen in a blizzard. The gigs a school but the crowd are hot and the package we have delivered is even hotter.
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.
Holland Leeuwarden festival. All substances have to be disposed of before border. The Rose fly in and out again.
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.
Berlin, absolutely knackered. We receive package from gorgeous Berlin well wisher. Feeling fine again we do the show and get showed the town.
Day off – Hamburg. The Stones have a knack of finding the right club with the right amount of Tequila.
Hamburg. The turnout is low (150) but the Rose do the business, and the merch stand is buzzing.
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.
Ibbenburen. The Rose turn out the balloons the crowd are amazed and so are the band.
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 off – Bielefield. Tequila and a swimming pool. The Stones are in heaven and everybody else is down the local disco.
Bielefield. More balloons more mayhem and Richard head, plus no hub caps on the cars.
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.
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.
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 off. Travel to Zurich, visit the park and become happy happy people.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”
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!