Posts Tagged ‘Steve Wilson’

The Red-sided Garter Snakes – Endless Sea
The first album release from two ex-members of one of Manchester’s greatest cult status bands, The Chameleons (John Lever and Dave Fielding) in collaboration with, among many others, James Mudriczki with his first public vocal exposure since the demise of his own legendary North Manchester outfit Puressence is going to cause a ripple or two that will spread out far and wide across the world. As it’s been 14 years since a proper Chameleons release and now already 4 years since Puressence’s excellent finale, Solid State Recital and with both former bands having massive following across Europe and in the case of the Chameleons deep into the USA, this is possibly one of “the “ most anticipated albums of the year by people in the know with great taste in proper non manufactured music.

Endless insert
The fact the album itself was recorded over a year in two Manchester studios is only half the story as the original idea was to update some of the Beefpig album that John Lever brought out with the Fishmonkeyman guys (led by Paul Denheyer) from Liverpool back in 1999, Beef up Beefpig was I think the idea, well they certainly have done that and then some. Steve, Dave John 120
The re-recording/recording started at the very talented Stephen Wilson’s ( The Cornelius Crane) Canalside studios in Dunkinfield in Apr of 2014 , With the idea of Stephen leading Production along with Dave and John’s input. Steve was so up for giving his old band mate John a lift he offered his time and studio for free to help the project come to fruition. The only problem with this set up,which no-one fully foresaw, was that the recording schedule would be sporadic at best with all sessions having to fit around a busy recording studio and practice rooms and an even busier Steve Wilson along with the ability of Dave Fielding getting across from Lincoln. John obviously was very keen to get at it and wanted the album done in a week, out yesterday, and as the summer dragged on I think both great friends started to send the other slightly crazy. In fact I know they did.

So after a couple of stop starts when John and Steve struggled to actually work constructively together anymore, Dave stepped in to broker some love and peace and get the project back on the road. Sadly this didn’t last for long as time and work pressures  took their toll. Canalside sessions June 27 14 - JohnSteve had done some sterling work writing and recording some new tunes for the album and his true production  skills came to the fore when he got Mary Joanna Coogan in to voice Feel Alive and managed to get a brilliant recording out of her. In the end though after a meeting in the studio where we all listened to all the tracks to see where we were with them Steve decided he probably shouldn’t be the one to mix the album as friction between him and John and James Mudriczki (who I managed to get involved after playing him some of the early recordings) was bubbling up again. What we didn’t know that day was Steve was waiting on some serious health issue results and he obviously had far bigger things on his mind than an enthusiastic bunch of musicians all trying to get their passionate views into the final recording .
So the whole thing got moved to John Delfs Edge Studio in Alderley Edge. By this time Simon Lawler from Blue Apple Music (the old Chameleons manager and financier) had got on board and he helped to secure some block time at said studio.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThings progressed quickly, Greg Mathews from local band Bauer came along and sang on three more of the tracks and all the final touches and mixing were finished off with the help of the talented young Studio Engineer Mark Winterburn. So the final result is probably pretty different from what would have emerged if the process had stayed with Steve and in his studio. It’s impossible to say which would have sounded best or how different they would have been. That would be an individual’s opinion if they ever had the chance to listen to the two versions. They won’t. But what I can say is, in my opinion, the difference would only have been in the final layer of polish on this album. The structures, tunes and essence of the album has not been lost in the swap over and everyone can be immensely proud of this work of art.

Endless Sea by The Red Sided Grater SnakesEndless Sea starts off with a very powerful intro, a wailing almost Native American chant that is actually Dave Fielding recorded on the night his mother died some years ago. Obviously a heavy start to proceedings and as the sample from

The Wicker Man fades, Steve Wilson’s Shape Yer Spine opens up into a psychedelic monster fueled with Dave’s E-bow, power chords and plectrum sliding antics. All driven along by John’s snare and floor tom pounding out the beat. Steve Wilson’s eerie reverberated vocals pulls it all together and we know within seconds that this is going to be a very special journey.
Crack In A Paper Cup, which before James added his magical vocals was actually called Endless sea where the album title came from, has Dave sounding as Chameleons like as at any other point in the album. Add in Jimmy’s voice and suddenly the many joint Chameleons and Puressence fans out there are suddenly wetting their pants in excitement. A North Manchester super group of epic proportions. It doesn’t disappoint. James’ voice soars whilst Dave’s guitar echoes and chimes away as if Reg Smithies was in the room with him as well. In the breakdown James ponders about smoking cigarettes and the five minute of your life each one is meant to take away from you and then follows up this deep train of thought with, Oh! well, floor needs sweeping, Jimmy at his humorous best.
Feel Alive opens up with some crazy Arabic sounding horns and Didgeridoo and evolves into more sublime Chameleonesque guitar work from Dave and some great production and arrangement from Steve and John. It stood brilliantly as an instrumental before Mary Joanna Coogan was brought into the studio and Steve worked really hard with her to get one of “the” performances of the album out of her. Without doubt the most radio friendly track on the album and should be a worldwide massive hit if justice in this industry were ever to prevail. The jaunty bassline drives this song along with some tempered (for John) drumming keeping the main focus on the guitars and gorgeous vocals.

Love Yourself, a song written by John and Paul Denheyer on the original Beefpig album in ’99 is about people in the music business who manage to change with the times (David Bowie?) Killing off old persona’s,ego’s and changing styles without worrying about who they tread on in the process, something John says he has witnessed a few times in the business. Dave was brought in to add his unique style of guitar and the whole song was beefed up to match the sound of this project and the result is massive. Another masterpiece and we are not even half way through the album.
Found Again is Simon Collier’s (bass for SupaJamma) contribution to the album and finds our first chance to listen to Greg Mathews vocal talents, I have to be totally honest here, I’m not a big Bauer fan. Their soft and gentle brand of indie pop/rock Isn’t my personal cup of tea despite its tuneful songs. That said, given the massive sound of this band Greg’s voice starts to work wonders and he has made these tracks his own. “Discovery is recovery” the lyrics fit in brilliantly with the overall context of this album, a great introduction for the people who have not heard him before.
Gallipoli. “Theres something a wrong with me” Starts James Mudriczki in his second vocal outing “I’m finding it hard to breathe” Maybe the pondering about cigarettes in Paper Cup wasn’t for long enough? Another massive track with Jame’s powerful vocals doing battle against John’s huge drum sound as he beats the toms and snare half to death again. The distorted guitar work by Dave in this song is more reminiscent of early Puressence than anything ever done by the Chameleons and has been pushed up in the mix to add that extra bit of excitement to a song already bursting at the seams with energy.
Go Away. The Quirky one, the one that sound more like early Pink Floyd as opposed to some bits of the rest of the album which does have some post Barrett Floyd moments, based around a Kizilok Track written by Andy Clegg and his brother, its another transformed track that John’s imagination and Dave and Steve worked into a oddball beast of a song rounded off by another fantastic vocal performance by Greg backed up by Andy Clegg himself, thumbs up.
John’s Dream. Possibly my favourite track on the album. The basics written by Steve Wilson specifically for this Album as a gift to John and based around a simple but beautiful riff he made up whilst having a play on Dave’s Baritone guitar in the studio. The warmth and feeling of love flows from this instrumental and when Dave added his guitar into the mix its full of emotion. Johns drums drive it ever onward and it reminds me every time I hear it of sun sets on warm sunny foreign holidays with close friends, sipping drinks and eating BBQ food together. I love going to this place in my mind and love this song for sending me there.
Pistols at Dawn. Based around the original Beefpig track from the Beefpig album this is another magical transformation only keeping some basic elements from the 1999 version, including a sample of Dave’s guitar from The Chameleons Paper Tigers , Steve, Dave and John ripped it a new asshole. With its muffled low-fi intro and Johns explosive snare work the bass kicks in shortly after Greg starts his third and possible best venture in rounding off this album with words and harmonies. Then Dave’s E-bow cuts through it all whilst the Paper tiger sample reminds us of past glories . It breaks down only to blast off again with an early Edge like echo filled riff that seems to get lost in Greg’s fantastic finale …
Trancer. The basics of which were recorded by Dave some years ago when he had his CDF didgeridoo player, Paul Didge, available to add to his initial idea of this track, The low end didge and synths are brilliant and Dave’s playing style on guitar is so unlike Dave its actually surprising to hear its him. John sat down and played his floor tom with his bare hands to beef it up that bit more and I was passed the final version and asked to add some film samples. I played about with adding samples from Blade Runner and a couple of other ideas but when I added samples from Apocalypse now I knew I’d got it spot on. After playing them all to Dave we trimmed the Apocalypse Now sample down in the studio and the ending line by Dennis Hopper hopefully works just right…

Gaz Tops

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The Cornelius Crane are a collection of musicians from East Manchester. At the bands core are 3 main
protagonists – Stephen Wilson (Vocals / Guitar), Dan Adams (Drums) and Mark Adams (Bass).
Combining Superb musicianship, with lyrics which have been described as ”eloquent with
an abrasive realism”, and by paying a heartfelt homage to their US influences, The Cornelius Crane
have crafted a sophisticated and laid-back sound which is quite unlike anything we’re sure you will
ever have heard before ; their very own tongue-in-cheek genre – “ManCana” – a
Northern English slant on the early 70s west coast sound of America …

“The Cornelius Crane have the potential to turn into the next big thing.” … Vents Magazine

‘Don’t Break This Heart of Mine’ – (From EP Too)

“If Neil Young had come from Milnrow (Rochdale), he would’ve sounded like this” … Mike Raven, The Gig

Formed in 2010 (after Steve was asked to support OK GO!) the band draws from a pooled experience
and musicianship ; having had, in their previous incarnations, record deals with Sony, and Fiction
Records ; and having recorded and gigged extensively with bands such as Little Feat, Big Country,
The Wedding Present, Alabama Three, Steve Harley, The Beautiful South, The Divine Comedy, The
Frank and Walters, and Imogen Heap – to name but a few. With the OK GO! Tour having been a
successful first outing for The Cornelius Crane, the band set to work on recording their first EP – “EP
Received with critical acclaim, the band continued from strength to strength with “EP Too”, which was
released to further rave reviews. Their third EP is about to be unleashed to the appreciative masses,
and currently being recorded at their own studio complex and rehearsal rooms – Canalside Studios –
The Cornelius Crane debut album is due for completion in Autumn 2014 and will feature a number
of friends and musicians whom they know and respect.


Oklahoma & Me – Ruby Music – release date June 2 2014

This release delivers all the hallmarks we have come to expect from this band & as with previous releases they add a little more.

‘Oklahoma & Me’ is a firm live set favourite & despite its promise of the wilds of America has its subject matter firmly routed in central Manchester, the core being a curio shop frequented by front-man Steve Wilson & his son Thomas.

‘Philistine Blues’ delivers a more reflective mood, a mellow acoustic opening complemented by a gentle embellishment of pedal steel guitar. Wilson’s Northern roots often show in his lyrics ‘Egg & chips for a Thursday lunch, outside the house we’re a happy bunch’ &  ‘Philistine Blues’ I hear you …. ‘ When you find it, you don’t want it, you don’t need it but you have to get along. Maybe I’m wrong’.

‘Cage’ is the closing tune on the EP & is my favourite offering on this release. The band embrace the whole Americana sound then seamlessly meld their undeniable British influences into the mix. Wilson’s angst-laden Neil Young-eque vocal delivery (that’s for those of you who need a point of reference) complimented by backings vocals which nod at both The Beatles & 70’s era Bowie. The harmonies from this band are second-to-none.

The band goes from strength to strength with each release & I frequently see & hear them referenced by various media voices which bodes well for their future.  They deserve some serious success. More please.

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Simon Collier

Ed Banger & the Nosebleeds  aka  Rabid Dogs

Star & Garter Manchester – 22  Feb 2013

Friday night in The Star & Garter & it’s bloody freezing  outside though, inside isn’t much better. The Garter as basic & bleak as it ever was, well that’s no big deal, punk rock was born in such establishments without the luxury of a decent sound system which the Garter has.  However the temperature inside  is just about to improve thanks to the opening band on tonight’s bill and the reason why I’m here, Ed Banger & The Nosebleed as or, as they are billed tonight, ‘Rabid Dogs’.  Mr Gerrity ascends the stage with his 3 brothers in arms, welcomes everyone to the room & launches into ‘The Bitch’ followed by ‘Now I Know ‘.

It’s the 1970’s again instantly, this is brilliant. The enlightened of you will, of course, have spotted that these are straight from the Slaughter & The Dogs back catalogue, Ed’s band in the ‘Bite Back’ period.  Gerrity then launches into ‘Hell in New York’  and boy is this band on fire.  30 years are gone in the blink of an eye, it’s all about the moment, the wall of sound & some of the best tunes to emerge from the whole punk period. The band, boot boy Mass Centi on guitar & Manchester stalwart Steve Wilson on bass, spit fury from their weapons of choice whilst the whole attack is held down by the steamhammer  Mad Muffet, veteran Slaughter & the Dogs drummer. We are then treated to ‘Victims of the Vampire’ & ’Kinell  Tommy’ , ‘ Ain’t Ever Been to Music School’  &’ Fascist Pigs’ from Ed’s Nosebleed days.

Next we have what for me is one of the top 5 punk songs of all time – ‘Cranked Up Really High’. I’ve got a video camera in my hand & want to throw it away, to throw this ageing frame into some pit action.  The delivery is blistering,, this band plays like it’s been together for years even though this is this particular line-up’s first outing, the first  of many I hope. ‘ Cranked’ is a tough song to follow but hot on its heels we have the incredible ‘Where have the Boot Boys Gone’. Take a look Ed,  one of them is stood next to you playing guitar!  Then we have Slaughter & The Dogs version of ‘the New York Dolls ‘Who Are The Myster Girls’, a rare cover I always thought better than the original & I’m a Dolls fan.  The last song in a near perfect set is ‘Boston Babies’. This was a  short & amazing performance from a band who owned the songs & breathed a fire into them I’ve not witnessed in years. To borrow from one of Manchester’s punk contemporaries, this punter felt 16 again.

Simon Collier