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Red Guitars

Red Guitars part 1

By Past Bands No Comments

In 1980 Hull, like many northern cities, was a place down on its luck. Extensively bombed in the war, what was left of its urban Victorian housing stock was being aggressively demolished by an indifferent local council and great areas lay derelict. The collapse of its main economy, the deep sea fishing industry, made for high unemployment and Hull was on the bones of its arse. But the national outlook was also bleak with Thatcher along with her favourite cowboy, the hapless Reagan, giving right wing politics a new shrill voice and emboldening the National Front and the BNP back out onto the streets.

But even darker clouds were gathering on the horizon. The sacred body of Pop itself was beginning to show the first symptoms of the crippling degenerative disease that would eventually reduce it to what it is today. Caught out by Punk in the late 70’s and alarmed at the success of small indie outfits, the record industry set about wresting control back from the musicians. In 1981 we were given the New Romantics and Duran Duran, the first of the pretty, boy bands to hit the charts; it was the beginning of the end.

The band started life in 1979 asThe Czechs when Jerry Kidd and Hallam Lewis first met on a Community Arts program to be joined later that year by Matt Higgins on drums and John Rowley on second guitar. With the addition of Lou Howard (Lou Barlow) on bass the band had its final lineup and a new name, Red Guitars. For the next 4 years this band crafted and played some of the most original, intelligent pop music around and so very nearly made the big time..

From the start the new material was exciting and different. Hallam was born in South Africa and his chiming, fluid, African-influenced style mixed strangely with the studied political lyrics of Jerry Kidd. The rest of the band drew on different musical influences from the Velvet’s to Punk and Blues but what Red Guitars all understood was the 3 minute pop song and in 1983 they set about recording their first single Good Technology (5 minutes and 8 seconds).

Fiercely independent and suspicious of record companies the band decided to go it alone and created their own label Self Drive distributed by Red Rhino, part of the Cartel of independent record distributors.

As with hundreds of bands over the years The John Peel show gave the band its  breakthrough, with Peel championing the single and getting the band into Maida Vale studios to record two sessions for his late night slot. Peel continued to air the record regularly and within the year the band had recorded more Radio 1 sessions, appeared on the Tube and The Whistle Test and were  at the top of the Indie Charts with subsequent singles Fact and Steeltown.

Both dramatic and bleak, Fact, about the global arms trade and Steeltown, an elegy to the death of the steel industry ensured that the band were fêted by the music press for their articulate, political stance. But Red Guitars also had a real infectious dance side and for the fourth single the band decided on a change of direction. Marimba Jive, a live favorite, had an out and out African groove studded with layers of tumbling guitars and a soaring fretless bassline. Single of the week in both NME and Melody Maker the band went back into the studio to start recording their first album.

African guitar Oil can

African Guitar

By Gear No Comments

African guitar paying is sublime in all its various styles and we’ve always been fans from the Township through to the  Sub Sahara Tuareg stuff of Tinariwen. Back in the day my old band  Red Guitars used a lot of African guitar riffs and  so we couldn’t resist a quick blast on the end of our track Bound For Glory.

African Guitar

Some years ago I traveled to Capetown to do some recording and came across a guy on the waterfront busking with a guitar made from a Castrol GTX oil can. I discovered that The AfriCan ( Get it) company made  a few different models and I managed to track them down to the waterfront craft market where I bought this baby. The body is a one gallon Castrol GTX oil can which acts as a resonator and mount for the switches, knobs etc but basically the guitar is a bar of machined alloy that runs from the nut right through the body onto which everything from the hand made pick ups and bridge are fixed. The tone knobs are Archers Bottle tops but a lot of attention has gone into the fret board and head stock which are made of an unknown hardwood. Apart form looking drop dead gorgeous, the African guitar  sounds exactly like you would imagine, plays brilliantly and stays in tune all the time. I don’t know if the African guitar company is still on the go or if anyone is importing them but if you can ever lay your hands on one then go for it.

Ten Million Aliens  is the brainchild of three pro musicians from the northern city of Hull which this year 2017 celebrates its status as UK City of Culture. The album Road Trip (Fall of the Rebel Angels) has come together at an incredibly fortuitous time  when world of politics has seen a seismic change with the election of Donald Trump as the American president an event that we could never have predicted two years ago when we started laying down the ideas for this album. The track Confederacy of Idiots now seems like a gift when 100 million Americans rally to the Trump flag of ignorance and anger.

Preparing for the tour

By Tour No Comments

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth. Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts it is an almost unorthographic life One day however a small line of blind text by the name of Lorem Ipsum decided to leave for the far World of Grammar. The Big Oxmox advised her not to do so, because there were thousands of bad Commas, wild Question Marks and devious Semikoli, but the Little Blind Text didn’t listen. She packed her seven versalia, put her initial into the belt and made herself on the way. When she reached the first hills of the Italic Mountains, she had a last view back on the skyline of her hometown Bookmarksgrove, the headline of Alphabet Village and the subline of her own road, the Line Lane. Pityful a rethoric question ran over her cheek, then she continued her way. On her way she met a copy.

The copy warned the Little Blind Text, that where it came from it would have been rewritten a thousand times and everything that was left from its origin would be the word “and” and the Little Blind Text should turn around and return to its own, safe country. But nothing the copy said could convince her and so it didn’t take long until a few insidious Copy Writers ambushed her, made her drunk with Longe and Parole and dragged her into their agency, where they abused her for their projects again and again. And if she hasn’t been rewritten, then they are still using her.Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth. Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts it is an almost unorthographic life One day however a small line of blind text by the name of Lorem Ipsum decided to leave for the far World of Grammar.

The Big Oxmox advised her not to do so, because there were thousands of bad Commas, wild Question Marks and devious Semikoli, but the Little Blind Text didn’t listen. She packed her seven versalia, put her initial into the belt and made herself on the way. When she reached the first hills of the Italic Mountains, she had a last view back on the skyline of her hometown Bookmarksgrove, the headline of Alphabet Village and the subline of her own road, the Line Lane. Pityful a rethoric question ran over her cheek, then she continued her way. On her way she met a copy. The copy warned the Little Blind Text, that where it came from it would have been rewritten a thousand times and everything that was left from its origin would be the word “and” and the Little Blind Text should turn around and return to its own, safe country. But nothing the copy said could convince her and so it didn’t take long until a few insidious Copy Writers ambushed her, made her drunk

A tribute for our fans

By Band No Comments

The copy warned the Little Blind Text, that where it came from it would have been rewritten a thousand times and everything that was left from its origin would be the word “and” and the Little Blind Text should turn around and return to its own, safe country. But nothing the copy said could convince her and so it didn’t take long until a few insidious Copy Writers ambushed her, made her drunk with Longe and Parole and dragged her into their agency, where they abused her for their projects again and again. And if she hasn’t been rewritten, then they are still using her.Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth. Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts it is an almost unorthographic life One day however a small line of blind text by the name of Lorem Ipsum decided to leave for the far World of Grammar.

The Big Oxmox advised her not to do so, because there were thousands of bad Commas, wild Question Marks and devious Semikoli, but the Little Blind Text didn’t listen. She packed her seven versalia, put her initial into the belt and made herself on the way. When she reached the first hills of the Italic Mountains, she had a last view back on the skyline of her hometown Bookmarksgrove, the headline of Alphabet Village and the subline of her own road, the Line Lane. Pityful a rethoric question ran over her cheek, then she continued her way. On her way she met a copy. The copy warned the Little Blind Text, that where it came from it would have been rewritten a thousand times and everything that was left from its origin would be the word “and” and the Little Blind Text should turn around and return to its own, safe country. But nothing the copy said could convince her and so it didn’t take long until a few insidious Copy Writers ambushed her, made her drunk

Starting out early

By Band, Gear, Tour No Comments

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth. Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts it is an almost unorthographic life One day however a small line of blind text by the name of Lorem Ipsum decided to leave for the far World of Grammar. The Big Oxmox advised her not to do so, because there were thousands of bad Commas, wild Question Marks and devious Semikoli, but the Little Blind Text didn’t listen. She packed her seven versalia, put her initial into the belt and made herself on the way. When she reached the first hills of the Italic Mountains, she had a last view back on the skyline of her hometown Bookmarksgrove, the headline of Alphabet Village and the subline of her own road, the Line Lane. Pityful a rethoric question ran over her cheek, then she continued her way. On her way she met a copy.

The copy warned the Little Blind Text, that where it came from it would have been rewritten a thousand times and everything that was left from its origin would be the word “and” and the Little Blind Text should turn around and return to its own, safe country. But nothing the copy said could convince her and so it didn’t take long until a few insidious Copy Writers ambushed her, made her drunk with Longe and Parole and dragged her into their agency, where they abused her for their projects again and again. And if she hasn’t been rewritten, then they are still using her.Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth. Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts it is an almost unorthographic life One day however a small line of blind text by the name of Lorem Ipsum decided to leave for the far World of Grammar.

The Big Oxmox advised her not to do so, because there were thousands of bad Commas, wild Question Marks and devious Semikoli, but the Little Blind Text didn’t listen. She packed her seven versalia, put her initial into the belt and made herself on the way. When she reached the first hills of the Italic Mountains, she had a last view back on the skyline of her hometown Bookmarksgrove, the headline of Alphabet Village and the subline of her own road, the Line Lane. Pityful a rethoric question ran over her cheek, then she continued her way. On her way she met a copy. The copy warned the Little Blind Text, that where it came from it would have been rewritten a thousand times and everything that was left from its origin would be the word “and” and the Little Blind Text should turn around and return to its own, safe country. But nothing the copy said could convince her and so it didn’t take long until a few insidious Copy Writers ambushed her, made her drunk

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