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.