Once again, I have Sean Worrall at Organ to thank for introducing me to Electroscope's Gayle Harrison an d John Cavanagh. Sean sent a copy of 'Late Developer' to their fanzine Boa and what do you know they liked it. At the time, John, who is a well known presenter on BBC Scotland, was also presenting Radio One's ill fated 'Rock Show'.
We were invited to come up to Glasgow to do a live session and of course we were delighted to accept. It was then that our friendship started. I remember the occasion vivdly, it was in January and indeed when we left to drive back to London after the show, we were chased down the Motorway by a blizzard which cut Scotland off from mainland Britain for a week.
A lucky escape. It was brass monkey weather. Which is what prompted me to take the precaution of purchasing a bottle of Jamesons, for medicinal purposes you understand. Having only just met John and Gayle and as we were on our best behaviour, (well we were about to play live on Radio One), I thought it would be inappropriate to be seen milling in to the hard stuff, so I secreted my stash under the table which was supporting my copy cat which was only working occasionaly and was connected to the rest of my less than reliable equipment which was set up with the rest of the band in the control room along with John . A slightly precarious setup.
Aside from the fact that John, who was seated only two feet away could plainly see me ducking down mysteriously every few minutes, there was a blast of whiskey on my breath through every chorus. Amazingly, considering that I only realised the gravity of the situation as John was introducing the first song, there were no technical problems and the whole thing was a terrific success.
I suppose if I hadn't produced the bottle when we were finished and off air offering everyone a drink, they would have thought I was really odd, or at least bit sad. As it is, I not only made some very dear friends, but I also found two Jame's lovers as well.
Soon after that Boa put a wonderful compilation album together called 'Noises from the Sound Cupboard'. With songs and spoken word pieces from Urusei Yatsura, Geno Washington, Adventures in Stereo, Rhatigan and of course Electroscope. That was my first taste of their sound and I was hooked.
When your interest in music is as varied and comprehensive as John and Gayle's, it is hardly surprising that their music is difficult to pigeon hole. Thank God. Their love of rare and obscure instruments and equipment, combined with their utter absence of musical synacism, results in a fresh and touching sound. It is canny and fragile but never precious, it is tuneful and it can rock but it is never safe.
Hardly surprising then that Wurlitzer Jukebox thought it would be good to release an album. Keith had already put out a couple of singles, but it is on their full length album 'Homemade Electroscope' that you get the chance to emerse your self in their world.
On the rare occasions that Electroscope have performed live in London, I have been recruited to add a few bits and bobs, so when they accepted my offer to record a song at Cushy, we put together 'Unhappy Soul'. As a songwriter I love the idea of other people working on my music, to me it is a huge compliment. But as many can testify this isn't always as easy as it seems, so I was thrilled when the combination worked and even better, it is to be released as well.
Well that is the story to date. If you would like more information you can e-mail John or Gayle or visit the Boa web site for more information and details of the other brilliant records you can buy through them mail order.
or write to them.
Bring a bottle.