Monday, April 16, 2012

Too Early

This morning I texted someone at 6:16am. I wanted them to know how I felt and I thought they will pick it up when they awake and know how grateful I was for their kindness and generosity on Saturday.  All I succeeded in doing was disturbing them.  Yikes.

It reminded me of the day I heard Newborn for the first time.  I was on my way to London to meet a friend for some football activity and was stood on Stockport station Londonbound Platform.  I forget the number and since they invented Platform 0, I don't think I will ever be able to work out which platform it was. It may have been 6:16, who knows, but I listened to that amazing song.  At the end I was so moved by it and so delighted by it that I had to phone Guy - he was the only member of the band I have ever phoned. On that day I didn't even think to check the time I just was moved by the emotion and that was pure joy.  Garvey answered with the warmth and friendliness that the world now finds synonmous with his name. I chattered and gushed he took the complement.  I let him get back to his sleep or all night drinking session.  It was special believe me.

I realised in those instants that I was dealing with a great talent in the band and lovely bloke in Guy.  It was a special moment.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

We Don't Need Tomorrow........... well we do actually

On Wednesday 21 March 2012 Ugly Man Records returns from dead with the first single release in over 2 years. "We Don't Need Tomorrow" is classic return to form for the label, a single worthy of the title Ugly 40.  Following in famous footsteps of Jack 1 - Wonderful Life, Ugly 5 Water in my Eyes, Ugly 16 Titanic, Ugly 20 Newborn, Ugly 27 My Life at the Movies and all those betwixt and between  Sandy Kilpatrick has crafted a worthy addition to the Ugly Man cannon.

Avavailable (sadly only) to download on all the usual suspects - Amazon MP3, iTunes, Google Music and MySpace music.  You can also have a listen before you buy on one of the cool streaming sites like Spotify, Grooveshark, Rdio, We7 and Simfy.  All this starts on 21st March 2012 and marks a new chapter in the Ugly Man story.

Fingers crossed. x

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Geography Lesson

The joys of free services on the internet have afforded me the opportunity to take you on a tour of the sites and locations that have contributed to the history of this unique and special record label.

The intention would be to provide you with a daily significant place that will hopefully feed a story or a fact on the blog.

Let's see what happens.

The A to Z of Ugly Man Records - click here

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Giving it the Elbow

It is unlikley that I am bringing you news but, the other week elbow won the Mercury Prize, the UK's annual attempt to indentify a single LP that is better than any other brought out in that year. Stupid idea, yeah. But if you are going to make such a pointless and groundless assessment then Seldom Seen Kid is fully worthy of such an accolade. It is simply wonderful.

I say that completely and totally biased by the fact that the artists are friends of mine and in all the time I have known them, they have worked tirelessly to create such beautiful music and conducted themsleves as decent and admirable people in the process. So there, I am biased, swayed by personal frailties on my part. Buy the LP and if you don't love it I'll swap for something you feel better disposed to.

I first met Guy Garvey, elbow's front man, in 1999, he was drunk - no surprises there - but unlike most musicians of my aqcaintance, he was waxing lyrical about somebody else's music, describing it with such love and generosity, it was a real shock to found out later that he was in a band himself and that they weren't half bad either.

At that time he was producing them and they were I am Kloot. Over time I met Guy a few occasions always impressive and charming. When I am Kloot had progressed to a more substantial and organised record label and kindly repaid the support and money I had invested in their amazing project with a cheque, Peter Jobson IAK's bass player suggested I meet up with Guy, his band and their manager and see if we could bring out a record.

All hell had broken out in elbow land at that particular time. They were on the receiving end of a large dose of music business politics. Legendary record label Island in London had signed them years previoulsy. The label had been the subject of a take over by a larger multinational groupand in the fall out and rationalisation, elbow were felt to be surplus to requirement and told to leave.

Another large record label had shown interest but that deal too fallen through. As I met Phil Chadwick - The Manager, Mark and Craig Potter - The Brothers, Rick Jupp - The Drummer, Peter Turner the bass player and Guy, they were stirring down the barrell of having to get a proper job each. The mood was sombre and vaguely depressing. Phil Chadwick took the lead an outlined an opportunity that he had negotiated with one of the lawyers at Universal - the company who owned the LP elbow had lovingly created whilst under the loving arm of the pre mergered Island records. Phil told me they would be open to loaning out some of the tracks on a limited basis to enable give elbow the chance to get a new deal and then possibly buy the LP back and get Island and Universal some money back from their now dead elbow investment. It seemed like a great idea but in the music business such pragmatisim is rare and it is testament to the wit, guile and persistance of Phil that he had managed to broker such a deal.

Universal were indeed happy to let an enthusiastic music lover in Manchester, release a limited edition ep of tracks from elbow on his boutique label, in an attempt to help the band out. I think that was the official line and that's what happened. Legend has it that that the enthusiatic msuic lover did bring out the ep without having heard a track by the band. "Print the legend" Tony Wilson famously said. I can confirm that the "record deal", such as it was, was indeed completed without a note of elbow passing my ear drums.

Some 3 weeks later I heard the track newborn on platform of Stockport station at roughly 6:30 on a Saturday morning on route to London. I was blown away by the song it was truly amazing. It still is.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I set up this blog as a form of therapy - I went through some very dark days - i wanted to tell myself and those that loved or cared about me that I was okay. This is what I did. There was a reason behind the actions and problems that ensued from those actions. It has served a purpose too, in that I have been able to get things out that have previously not been said written my history, a history that sometimes fails to make into some other people's histories. So hopefully it is all good.

The real joy has come now with the realisation that my experience has formed part of a lecture that Tony Kostrzewa made to some aspirant musicians in Leeds some time ago. You can click here and read it. It made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. I have arrived if Tony K said it, it is fact it is true. Well all except the bit about making money out Colin Whatsisname.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Tony Kostrzewa RIP

Tony Kostrzewa died last night at 23:45.

He was a super hero in the very truest sense of the words. He had powers that we do not have. He made things happen. He saw through to the core of stuff. He was a god.

Over the coming weeks the world will come to know what he did for us all and will then recognise his monumental contribution to the world of popular music.

For now I will content myself in the knowledge that he was my friend and he helped make me what I am today.

God Bless Tony .....

and Gerri, Alice and Ben

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Desert Wolves - what happened next

It is said that hindsight is a great thing, I venture that may not to be true. That said I guess looking back the Desert Wolves would have been a lot more successful if they had slogged there way around the country building a legion of fans to go out and buy lots of records. They didn't, but that isn't to say they were not successful.

To the contrary, with the first single released, they were cutting quite a dash and garnering a great deal of support and adoration in the printed media. Locally the Manchester Evening local music writer Mick Middles was fulsome in his praise of the band

"It becomes obvious that The Desert Wolves are poised to become another important outpost in Manchester's flourishing left field pop scene"

and nationally Record Mirror gave "Love Scattered Lives" the honour of record of the week. No mean feat when you consider that also reviewed that week, and considered secondary, Aztec Camera and REM (yeah that REM)

Such things build careers and the important action now was for us to get another single out and into the shops. Here was band with songs and a repertoire and great personal charm to share with the record buying public.

"Speak to me Rochelle" was another deliciously light pop moment crafted by Marin King and his Platten brothers song writing partners. Again the highly stylised 60's pop tune was supplemented by a lavish full color sleeve art directed and design by one of Martin's friends. It was quite a production and the press continued to build

Another Record of the Week in the Record Mirror. Wow!!!!

"The groove of Summer days - sounds so great you just have to chew it"

proclaimed Johnny Dee the famed music writer in his review of the week's releases, which must have deeply hurt those who weren't record of the week. I'm guessing Pet Shop Boys, Aha, Nina Simone, Everything but the Girl and ...... The Beatles could console themselves with extensive amounts of radio airplay to help get their records out and into the public consciousness and ultimately into the charts the following week.

And that sadly was it, in terms of The Desert Wolves and Ugly Man records. In an ideal world a third should have been released and then an LP. "Passion in the Afternoon" would have been that 3rd slice of the perfect pop cake, had my personal resources not started to evaporate. It was the best thing they ever did and stands the test of time listening to it today.

To hear the tracks you may want to click on the picture below and hear 4 of their finest moments and read the cuttings. Add yourself as a friend and you will be in the company of many other folk who affiliate with the band some 20 years after the event. In that number you will find people who are only just now finding the music for the first time as well as the world wide audience of people who see The Desert Wolves as an essential part of the Jangly Guitar scene of the late eighties, one that has since been categorised "tweepop"

Post Ugly Man The Wolves shed bassist Richard Jones, who had always appeared on the periphery of the group and it's essential core. He had become increasing interested in developing a career as a working musician and initially worked as a session trumpeter with Black, and The Pasedenas, appearing on Pebble Mill at One, at one point. He had always shown an interest in the business side of things and how the whole process worked. More of Richard later.

Having seconded a friend Stuart Bowman, in on Bass the group became more tight knit but sadly nobody showed interest in continuing their recording career. As with most student bands the end of studies heralded the end of the band. A legend died but a legacy lingered.

As the internet was born, so was the ability for people who live all over the world to share common passions for obscure musical forms. The call them "communities" in the world of commerce and just such a community existed and was called Tweenet. Driven by Peter Hahndorf a guy from Hamburg who was building the internet, it became the central point for a world of people consumed by the guitar scene of the late 80's and all that it inspired.

In the late 90's Peter was based and working in London and I met up with him. As a result he introduced me to some of his fellow Desert Wolves fans, who ran a wonderful record label and were based in Berlin - Firestation Tower records. A plot was hatched there and then to release an LP of all the available tracks that the Desert Wolves had ever recorded. The band were delighted to be able to chronicle the past and Pontification was born and released in 2000. The CD is now every bit a valued and sought after as the vinyl that spawned it, as people snapped up the limited edition release.

The joy now is that people from all over the world - east and west of Stretford - listen to those songs each day and get the same joy they engendered in 1987 and 1988 and inspire another generation of songwriters.