2011-07-28 - Recoil - New Alan Wilder interview & Book contributionhttp://blog.recoil.co.uk/new-alan-wilder-interview-book-contribution/
New Alan Wilder interview & Book contribution
A new Alan Wilder interview has just gone on-line at The Electricity Club where he discusses many different things – including his thoughts on how the Recoil tour evolved and was perceived, his up-coming memorabilia auction, favourite studio gear, the recent Depeche Mode remix, and some interesting insight into the recordings of other Mode classics. Don’t miss it.
Alan has also contributed a few paragraphs for a new book ‘The Palace and the Punks’ by Tony Hill. He talks about his days pre-Mode, as part of Dafne & The Tenderspots and the character-building hand-to-mouth existence during the late 1970s that has stood him in good stead ever since.
‘The Palace and the Punks’ by Tony Hill
Published by Northern Lights Ltd (2011)
This is Hill’s second book and deals with the history, as well as the rise and fall, of the ‘Grey Topper’ music venue in Jacksdale, a pit village in Nottinghamshire. The main section focuses on the late 1970s punk & new wave scene and contains original interviews with The Members (‘Sound of the Suburbs’), Andy Scott & Steve Priest of glam kings Sweet, Chris Fenwick – manager of Dr Feelgood (who played their first gig outside of London at the Topper as featured in Julien Temple’s ‘Oil City Confidential’), Jet Black who talks about The Stranglers as an unsigned band in 1976 (using his ice cream van as a tour bus), Roddy Radiation of The Specials, the UK Subs, Depeche Mode’s Alan Wilder, Eddie from punk originals The Vibrators (describing being there at the one of the most famous moments in rock history – the Sex Pistols debut gig at St Martins college of art in 1975!), the legendary punk rock festival at the 100 Club and loads of first hand Topper tales.
Alan’s quote from the book : “As a young man I held an unwavering conviction (with hindsight, a kind of arrogance) that to become a successful musician was the one and only thing I would ever achieve. Part of this tunnel vision resulted in me joining up with Graham Smith and Dafne Nancholas. These two were playing 5 nights a week at ‘Obelix’ – a specialist restaurant serving Galettes just off the Portobello Rd. They were playing a mixture of jazz, R &B (in the traditional sense) and blues etc. I was roped on on keyboards for a few quid in my pocket and a free cheese, ham and tomato pancake at the end of the night (I got so sick of those things). We were also starting to write our own songs and, quite cynically, jumped onto the new wave bandwagon after the explosion that had been punk rock. Having auditioned numerous drummers and bass players, the line up that became Dafne & The Tenderspots was completed with Nick Monas on drums ( a highly precocious, technically brilliant player who had absolutely no sense of ‘less is more’) and Steven Hughes (ex Burlesque) on bass. It was an odd mix and the music we came up with was inevitably bizarre – a mixture of quirky, stylised, convoluted new wave jerkyness (a la XTC) mixed with jazz-rock double bass drum fusion, all fronted by Dafne herself singing from a blues & soul background. Contrived? You bet.
After many weeks rehearsing on Graham & Daf’s houseboat in Datchet, we branched out from ‘Obelix’, starting procuring shows up and down the country and managed to get a rep from MAM records along. A chap called Dominque De Souza (I think) fell for it and actually gave us a record deal. After making some studio demos at MAM’s expense, we were encouraged to record a final version of ‘Disco Hell’ – the one and only single which was ever released. During the next 18 months, numerous drummers & bassists came and went but the core of Graham (gtr), Dafne and myself remained while we desperately tried to re-invent the group a number of different ways. Finally, after an uphill struggle, a fracas broke out over the ownership of the PA system and that was that.
I think Graham and Dafne (who were an item – never a good thing in a band) moved out to LA to help reduce the effect of Dafne’s unfortunate arthritis. I met up with them briefly one time during a Depeche Mode tour when they showed up at a show out there – a rather awkward aftershow meeting where we exchanged a few pleasantries and that was the last I heard.
I do look back at those character-building times, along with my other struggles & various unsuccessful ventures, with great fondness and appreciation of the grounding those experiences supplied. I remember supporting The Damned at the Wolverhamption Lafayette club once, which was a challenge:) In fact, that was the night I first heard ‘Warm Leatherette’ by The Normal which left a very strong impression – sounded like it had just landed from outer space. The Tenderspots played some real dives, some ok shows, drove all night in cold vans, lived on next to nothing – all the usual cliches. It didn’t seem romantic at the time but I guess it was. I cite this period as the main reason for my subsequent appreciation of what I have been lucky enough to achieve since.”