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Archive for December, 2010

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Kris Ife is probably best known for his time as a member of the 60’s pop group The Quiet Five as well as his solo rendition of Joe South’s “Hush”.  But as you’ll see in what follows, Kris is more than meets the eye and ears as it were.  

“Thee”

Kris, first of all thanks so much for taking time to visit with me.    

To begin with it’s very interesting that you’ve done research into your namesake, “Ife”.  Have you always had an interest in geneology?

Yes, in a way. Obviously with such an unusual name it was easier to research than others, but I was in London when I had it done & I never thought I’d end up living in Suffolk – where the name came from.

Your dad was in the RAF and you were born in Aylesbury Bucks.  Whereabouts is this? 

It’s in Buckinghamshire – about  45 miles North West of London.            

That’s funny what you say on your website about things so long ago they must be in black and white.  I’ve often imagined the same thing – hey! I’ve never seen colored photos from my childhood either.

It seems that then – everything was in Black & White.

What was life like growing up?

Good – a real country existance. My Dad was away in Italy so we didn’t see too much of him, except when he came home on leave.

Any siblings?

I have one older sister.

Can you recall the first 45 or LP that you bought or was given to you?

We had 78 RPM records at home.
The first song to make a big impression on me was “It’s Almost Tomorrow” by The Dream Weavers. The first 78 I bought was “Why do Fools Fall in Love” by Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, but the first 45 I bought was Lonnie Donegan’s “Rock Island Line”.
When I went to get it – it was out of stock, so I bought a 78 of “Zambesi” by Lou Busch for my Mum.

When did you first take an interest in singing and being in a band?

My sister was an excellent singer (she sung opera), but my interest started when I was at school.

My sister taught me the Aria (One Fine Day) from Madam Butterfly when I was about 5, & I can still remember most of it now.

I stupidly managed to talk my Mother out of sending me to Piano lessons – I wish she had now!

What was the name of the first group you performed with?

That was The Gravediggers – a Skiffle group at school.

I suppose you could say skiffle was sort of a precursor to rock’n’roll, especially in Great Britain?

Yes – it was, & it had the same impact as Rock & Roll did.

Of course everyone wanted to play both!

Talk about your days with the Gravediggers and who came up with the name.

As I said it was at school. Myself & my friend Alfie Grant (he sadly drowned when he was 18. He was a very talented musician) started the band & we jointly decided on the name. The thing about Skiffle was that it was the type of music that everyone can play – which helped with it’s popularity.I talked my Dad into buying me a Guitar for my Birthday, but I started as a Washboard player while I was learning the necessary 3 chords! LOL

Did you attend a regular public school or private?

I went to Private School in Aylesbury, but after that State schools & finally St. Clement Danes Grammar School.

Were there other musical groups that were your contemporaries?

My favourite skiffle group were The Vipers . I always wanted to sing like their lead singer Wally Whyton.

I met him on a Television show when I was in the Quiet 5.

I told him that & he was pleased.

He told me the verse they weren’t allowed to sing on Maggie May. I sing it on The Beaver St Hat Band’s CD “Beaver St.”

Times have changed!

After leaving school you helped form The Vikings.  Who else was in the group?  Relate the story behind “Space Walk” and the song reappearing years later under a different name.

We went to see a Record producer called Curly Clayton. he had a studio in Highbury London, as was a great rival of Joe Meek’s – who had a studio just up the road.

We recorded the song with him – augmented with a Paraguayan guy playing Harp. A lot of people thought that we were The Tornados who were Joe Meek’s band.

Some years later it was released with Chris Blackwell listed as Producer & the band name “Gemini”. I guess Curly must have got his money back!  Good luck to him!

In 1964, John Smith, your manager with The Vikings, decided to change the name to The Quiet Five.  Now I know you must have heard this question a lot, but was John bad at math or was there another explanation for the name since there were six of you?

John Smith had two bands. We were The Vikings & Patrick Dane & The Quiet 5. He decided to amalgamate the two of us.

He got rid of our Bass player, Phil Leavesley (who was older than us) – & we took Richard Barnes on Bass & Patrick Dane – the singer from the Quiet 5. He insisted on keeping their name although we hated it! I still do!! LOL

How was the overall chemistry in the group?  Talk about the songwriting and recording sessions.

Patrick Dane didn’t work out, so we started singing leads ourselves. We turned out quite reasonable harmonies together. Surprising enough – all the surviving members (Satch – our Sax player unfortunately died) live up here in East Anglia – so we meet up occasionally.

You wrote the biggest hit with The Quiet Five, “When The Morning Sun Dries The Dew”.  Where did the inspiration come from for this song and was it just about the early morning hours?

I wrote it when I was fishing one early morning, & watching a Barn Owl hunting on the opposite bank as the Sun came up. Beautiful! It was a philosophical song but I had to change the lyric to put in female interest. I’d have changed anything for a Recording contract! LOL

Whose decision was it to record a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound”?

It was given to us by our Producer – Ron Richards at EMI.

Paul Simon contacted us to say how much he liked our record. We’d met them on a TV Show in Bristol.

1966 must have been a fairly eventful year.  You played at Windsor Castle as part of an 18th birthday gift for Prince Charles.  Was the prince a big Quiet Five fan?

I don’t think Prince Charles is interested in our stuff. He likes The Three Degrees! LOL

We worked for Lady Elizabeth Anson ( the Queens cousin) who arranged parties & Social Functions.

It was in Windsor Castle & we were presented to The Queen.

Great honour!

Also the same year you played the “Society Circuit”.  Explain.

That came through the same set-up. We did the Debs ball, played for King Constantine in Greece, The Venice Film Festival & the Royal Hunt Ball to name but a few.

We could tell good Champagne from bad, by the time we finished.

In 1967 you quit the band to pursue a solo career.  What led you to this decision?

I fell out with the Drummer that we had then, so decided enough was enough!

You wasted little time in recording a rendition of Joe South’s “Hush”.  And some say this was inspiration for Deep Purple to have a go at releasing their own version.

A guy called Freddie Lloyd (who was in The Vipers) brought

me the song “Hush” & said he’d like to record me with it.

I made it a bit more “Soully” & we went ahead.

Deep Purple admitted themselves in an interview for Mojo Magazine that a DJ friend of theirs recommended my version to them & they did it.

Enter record producer Mark Wirtz.  How did you two meet and form a working relationship?

Mark was a House Producer at EMI.  He was working with a friend of mine Chas Mills and was looking for a singer & Chas suggested me.

We started writing together later on when Mark split with Chas.

What did you think about singing the song “Imagination”?

This was Mark’s brainchild. He’s a crazy genius!!

It wasn’t my sort of stuff – but I was just a voice.

I never believed it would be released in my name.

I’m pleased that I did manage to hit the last note – & double-track it – but I don’t know how!!

You put together a group of studio musicians to record for Mark.  Anyone else that we might know in the Matchmakers?

We had a group of friends that were great musicians. There were various combinations that we used.

Roger Mckew (Quiet 5) is in the band.

Who were J. Vincent Edwards and Michael Derrick?

We met at Schroeder Music in London. We were members of their “Writers Workshop”. Chas Mills was also in it.

We got together & started writing songs under the name of Miki Antony, with mild success. Mark Wirtz recorded some of our songs. Unfortunately Micheal Derrick changed his name by deed poll to Miki Antony – so you can guess the rest.

Vince & I are both in The Beaver St Hat Band & had previously recorded as Jackson & Jones.

In 1970 you co-wrote songs with Mr. Wirtz as Judd on the album “Snarling Mumma Lion”.  What a name!

I originally wrote it as Mummalion, but Larry Page said there was a Reggae song with that name, so he changed it – & changed mine to Judd!! LOL

Roger Mckew & Richard Barnes from the Q5 are both on the album.

Elaborate on the “swamp pop feel” of the Judd songs.

I’d been writing little stories about the Deep South for a number of years (although I’ve never been there), so that’s where the ideas stemmed from. I’d obviously read too many books & seen too many films! LOL

You and J. Vincent Edwards worked together again in the early 70’s, this time as Jackson and Jones on a couple of singles.  On your website they are described as “more heavily orchestrated…Righteous Brothers style” songs.  So you were going for more of the Phil Spector “wall of sound” effect?

Yes – I mentioned this before. We wrote the songs & the feel we wanted was like a British Righteous Bros.

Bill Medley’s voice is much better than mine! We didn’t copy Spector’s style – though we both like him, but obviously he produced them – so that’s where the similarity lies.

Around the same time period you put together a concept album to teach American history through popular music.  Interesting approach.  Why was this album never released?

I was disappointed that nothing came of this. I had the idea in 1968 – that it should be a teaching aid for schools of American History. If the kids learned the choruses – that gave them events & dates that they could remember easily.

Eventually David Frost got hold of it & wanted to keep it until the Bi-Centenniel Events. There were loads of them & the idea got lost.

Shame!! several years research down the pan!! C’est la vie!! LOL

In the mid 70’s you moved into the publishing side of the music industry.  Did you feel at the time that you had run your course in songwriting and recording?

Not at the time – but that inevitably happened. I neglected my writing to promote other people’s. I enjoyed that side of the business – but now I’m back writing & recording again, I realise that this is what I love the most.

I’m glad to see you’re still active in writing and recording as evidenced by your trip to Philadelphia in 2008 to record a CD of Skiffle songs.  Once again with Mr. Edwards and a certain Wayne Newton as The Beaver St. Hat Band .  Is this the same Wayne Newton of “Danke Schoen” fame?

No – same Vince, but Wayne is English although he’s married & lives in PA. He’s Wayne Scott Newton.

Incidentally – his parents ran a restuarant in Barnes in England called the Heads & Tails – hence the HAT in the Beavers St Hat Band. Vince & I would sing for our supper sometimes there, after a good night in the Bulls Head!

With the soon to be released CD of Skiffle material, do you feel your music career has sort of come full circle?

Yes – that’s exactly right! Right back to our roots.

I suppose it’s a form of second childhood! LOL

Mind you – if you love what your doing & who you’re doing it with – why shouldn’t you!?

That applies to everything.

Now Kris, you’re not just a musical “artist”, you are also quite the painter.  Really nice artwork on your website as well.  I’m especially fond of the lighthouses.  Talk about how this has been a creative outlet for you.

Thank you kindly. I got “A” Level Art at school & should have gone to Art School, but circumstances didn’t permit.

It’s something that I love doing – but I can listen to music & paint, but I can’t write songs & paint – so either one has to go on the back-burner for a while!

What are your thoughts on the current state of the music industry? 

Ageist!!

Nice to know there was a record company like RPM out there to release The Quiet Five material as well as your solo output.

Yes – many thanks are owed to Mark Stratford.

And with all the talk of the negative side of the internet, there is a plethora of information out there to help connect artists and fans and to share likeminded interests.  I’m a proponent – if it weren’t for Rosemarie Edwards posting a comment on my YouTube channel, we most likely would not be having this QA.  So thank you Rosemarie!

I’ll second that – she’s wonderful & really talented in her own right.

Kris, any other thoughts to share on where you’ve been, where you’ve come and where you’re going?

Well – it’s been a long time getting here!

As W C Fields said – I’m still looking for a loophole!!

I think I’ve been very lucky (I could have been better-off-lucky though! LOL) 

I have some wonderful friends, seen some beautiful places & met some amazing people – so I’d definitely do it again!

Thanks Greg for your time & patience.

I hope I haven’t waffled too much!

Kris:)

Be sure to check out Kris Ife’s official website here  http://www.craftweb.org/web/kris/index.html

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Was Brian a guy or a band? Why did he stop making music and turn up in Father Ted?

Actually Brian is Ken Sweeney with additional help from musicians Niall Austin and Andy Aldridge.  I recently caught up with Mr. Sweeney and tossed a few questions his way…

Ken, where were you born and what are your fondest memories of growing up?

I grew up the youngest of four brothers in Dublin. We were always on

bikes or having adventures in the Phoenix Park which was pretty close

to where we lived.

I love the American band ‘Miracle Legion’, particularly their first

album ‘Backyard’ which captures childhood brilliantly and which echoes

my own. Happy times.

How did you first take an interest in music?  Was your family musically

inclined?

I think all three of my brothers had guitars but my eldest brother

David (sometimes) known as George, was quite a well known

guitarist in Dublin. He played in ‘The Maxquadband’, which Adam

Clayton of U2 was in for a while, Rocky DeVelera & The Grave Diggers

and quite a famous Irish punk/powerpop band called ‘The Vipers’ who

did John Peel sessions and toured the UK with Thin Lizzy and The

Boomtown Rats. This was about 1978/79. Years later he formed a band

called ‘Fat Lady Sings’ but left after their first single ‘Fear &

Favour’.

David was seven years older and taught me a lot of guitar. We used to

sing together at home, doing harmonies on Squeeze songs. I was always

amazed he could conjure up these tunes I loved on an acoustic guitar.

I was playing chords from about 15/16.

David could play great lead guitar, still can, and I wasted lot time

trying be that good when maybe I should have gotten into songwriting earlier.

Do you recall the first 45 or LP you purchased?

Andrew Gold’s ‘Never Let Her Slip Away’ when I was maybe 10 or 11. It

was the soundtrack to a holiday in Spain when I was about 11.

I bought Billy Joel’s album ‘The Stranger’ in Jack The Lad’s record

shop in the Dandelion Market in Dublin. That’s the first album I

bought. I still like it. There’s a a song from “She’s Always A Woman’

which was on pirate radio at the time, somebody covered it lately. I

really wish they hadn’t…..

By about 13 or 14 I’d gotten into The Jam, my brother’s band The

Vipers supported The Jam on Irish dates in 1978 and I remember playing

a single he had by them  ‘Down In A Tube Station At Midnight’. I

became a mod soon after and met lot friends and got into The Who and

local bands like The Blades who were a big influence. By about 1982 I

was listening to Echo & the Bunnymen and then early REM.

What was the music scene like growing up in Dublin?

Brilliant. There isn’t now but at the time in Dublin (from the early

eighties till dance music took off)  there was a real Indie music

scene in Dublin.

There was pirate radio with people like Dave Fanning on Big D and a

great DJ on Radio Dublin, another pirate station, called Pat James,

who played all the Dublin bands.

What was the name of your first band?

I had a good friend called Peter Devlin, another mod. We did a gig

playing with an established local soul band called ‘The Temps’.

They were a bunch older guys but wanted to attract a mod audience so

they got two mods in.

Think our first gig with The Temps was Halloween 1984 in The Ivy

Rooms. It was a Halloween night with all these weird and wonderful

bands playing.

Later we started our own mod band called ‘Instant Party’ (not as bad

as it sounds, it’s a Who track) with a drummer called Alan Bates,

another mod I knew. (more here :

http://www.irishrock.org/irodb/bands/instantparty.html )

I say mod but we played a lot Moondogs covers (because Peter Devlin was

from their Newry and liked lot those bands) and new wave stuff. The

Starjets, The Undertones.   Being a mod band there was an audience for

us in Dublin in places like the CIE Hall in Marlboro Street.

We supported lot visiting bands as well, and did a gig in Dublin

supporting The Blades. Some mods in Donegal booked us for a gig

supporting Cactus World News in Letterkenny.

Instant Party are fondly remembered. We weren’t very good players but

there was a great energy. We also produced a demo (has a sports car on

cover) which we sold mail order and which continues to turn up. It was

a three song demo on which I’d written the tracks There was one review

in a Kildare modzine which talked about my potential as a songwriter

which seems funny looking back now.

Peter Devlin, later started a band with his younger brother Colin,

called The Devlins and signed a big US deal. He’s still  a friend as

is Alan Bates, who was a great singer and drummer and still plays in

The Modfathers, a mod band in Dublin.

First instrument you learned to play?

Guitar, just guitar really.

Were you classically trained or self-taught?

My brother taught me chords and then I’d buy books with guitar chords

in them of songs of the day or try and work stuff out. I learned a lot

of Blades songs which taught me a great deal about songwriting.

Who were some of your major influences musically?

Early REM , the Murmur album was a huge influence. It just sounded so

unusual, there were no guitar solos on it and the type of

guitar-playing on it was something I could do.

I was always much more into REM than The Smiths.

The Go-Betweens were another huge influence, just their feel.

The American band Miracle Legion for their warmth and nostalgia.

The Blue Nile for the sadness of their music.

I liked all these acts but I wanted to put something of my own life

and experience in Dublin into it.

I loved The Blades but wanted to do something that was more acoustic

like their b-sides ‘Animation’ and singer Paul Cleary’s solo single

‘Some People Smile’

But the biggest influence was a single I came across by The Buzzcocks

called “You Say You Don’t Love Me”.

It came out about 1979, it’s not on their Greatest Hits, even people

who like The Buzzcocks might not know it.

It was an incredibly sad record with something quite resigned about

it. I used to play it over and over.

Maybe I stored up something listening to it.

Talk about how Brian came together.

I played in Instant Party from 84-85. I played in bands with both Peter Devlin

and Alan Bates afterwards but nothing really came of it.

Sometime in 1986, my brother came home from London after leaving ‘Fat

Lady Sings’ and booked a studio in Dublin to do some solo stuff.  I

was kind of helping him and persuaded the engineer to let me demo a

song.

It was “A Million Miles’ , pretty simple  but I played it to friends

who liked it.

One of the people who heard and liked this was my friend Niall Austin

who I worked with in a Dublin advertising Agency. One Good Friday ,

when everything closes in Ireland, we jammed together and I suppose

that was the start of ‘Brian’.

As far as the name goes, I think I saw it on the

cover of a magazine or something. I wanted something very plain and

lo-fi. For years after people have called me ‘Brian’ instead of Ken

but I can live with it.

There was a good friend of my brother’s called ‘Brian’ Foley , who was

in The Blades. I might have said that was something to do with it but

that was probably just chance of name dropping The Blades into

interviews.

In 1989 just before I moved to London myself and Niall decided to

re-record ‘A Million Miles’ and put it out as a single. There was no

band. We did it anyway on Whitesands Records, our own label. It had a

wonderful sleeve of a road out near St Anne’s Park taken by Cathal

Dawson a very talented Hotpress Photographer.

I went off to get a job in the UK and bizarrely the single in my

absence started to get great reviews. By Christmas 1989 Hotpress Music

magazine had it as their fourth best single in their critics poll.

Elvis Costello was no 5.

That floored me.

Why the move to London in 1989?

At the time that was where you went. I was listening to Microdisney’s

album ‘Clock Comes Down The Stairs’ which was all about London. I

wanted to get a job and it was probably a good idea to get away from

Dublin and go somewhere new.

Although you have recorded with other musicians, you actually prefer going it solo.  Explain.

I’ve had all sorts of very talented people in their own right to help

me, like the producer Ian Catt.

What I will say is that, I’ve spent hours working with other musicians

to get exactly what I want with musicians who in general hated the music

because I wanted them to play less.

The one man band thing happened because I just found it so exhausting

trying to persuade people to do things my way – paying drummers or session people to do exactly what I wanted. My

friends Niall Austin and Andy  Aldridge who both played with Brian for

a while were the exceptions.

How did you come to be signed by Setanta?

Myself and Niall Austin were ‘Brian’ . Niall followed me over to

London and we started doing demos.

We sent one into the trade publication ‘Music Week’ who reviewed  it

in their demo column.

They wrote “every discerning A&R man should be checking out this act”.

Our phone rang solidly for about a month after with A&R men from

record companies as far away as the US and Australia.

I didn’t meet any of these guys, Niall took care of that but no one signed us.

Setanta were interested around then but backed out.

I just kept at it by taking out a bank loan to put out a single.

It was supposed to be a really fast pop song called ‘Wonderful’ but I

demo’d a b-side, a throw-away track called ‘You Don’t Want A

Boyfriend’,  which turned out so well I decided should be the A-side

track.

My good friend Andy Aldridge put it out on his label Detzi.

It did really well in Ireland, again in critic’s polls but myself and

Niall weren’t really getting along and I decided I wanted to stop the

band.

I stopped for about six months, in the meantime Niall moved back to Ireland.

Keith Cullen started playing the demos again and decided he wanted to

put out Understand as an album, basically the demos.

Getting onto Setanta was incredible for me. It was probably one of the

hippest labels in the UK at the time.

I loved bands like ‘Into Paradise’ who were on the label.

Understand did  fantastically well for Setanta in the UK and in places

like France and Spain and

we got a lot of press from NME and Melody Maker, it didn’t cost them

anything either.

Talk about your early album of demos and EP released in 1992.

Most of the songs I wrote for Understand were written in my first year

in London maybe missing home and people. I won’t bore you talking

about the subject matter but I suppose it must have meant a great deal at

the time.

I did The Planes EP later in 1992.

What venues have you enjoyed playing live?

The University Of London with A House in 1992 was good but the Brian

stuff was more about the moment I recorded it.

You can’t recreate that in a draughty venue.

 I’m not a natural performer and often I was working with under

rehearsed pals who were doing me a favour.

Critics have compared your vocals and music somewhat to The Lightning

Seeds.  What say you regarding this analogy?

Back to Brian, I had a huge problem trying write songs after The Planes EP.

Songwriters really need a change of surroundings sometimes and I was

stuck in London, in the same job paying back the back loan I took out

to pay for the second single.

It was really stupid looking back as I wasted all the interest I’d built up.

But I didn’t know any different. I just didn’t feel anything and I

scrapped a lot of material.

I suppose the fact I stopped added to the mystery   …

Voluntary redundancy came up in the BBC where I was working in 1995

and I moved back to Dublin.

Almost immediately I started writing songs, stuff I really loved.

I used to stay up in a coastal village called Termonfeckin in County

Louth with some of the clearest night skies in Ireland and that’s why

there are so many references to stars and satellites on Bring Trouble.

I got back in touch with Setanta and to their credit they were interested.

Bring Trouble was done in The Cocteau Twins studio September Sound in

Richmond, London with Ian Broudie’s engineer Cenzo Townsend.

I don’t think I owned a Lightning Seeds album at the time.

I have yet to find a Lightning Seeds song with lyrics like ‘Right

Through Tuesday’.

I really loved songs like ‘We Close 1-2’ and many of the other songs

on ‘Bring Trouble’, which I literally spent years on, and it was quite

horrific to have some people dubbed it as the Lightning Seeds.

I don’t think it would have sounded so Lighting Seeds if I’d been

allowed to put stuff like ‘Cabaret Band’ on. (It ended up as an extra

track on Turn Your Lights On)

But there was a really stupid woman employed at Setanta at the time. I

think Keith Cullen found her in a shoe shop.

She was against the louder stuff I’d done and I gave into her. I’m

told by the people who did like Brian in Setanta, she took the

decision not to put out a second single off Bring Trouble (which would

have been ‘We Close 1-2’) and to stop promoting the album very early

on.

That album was so radio,  the first single was a BBC Radio One single

of the week, I think it would have been worth doing another single but that was it really. The woman in question went off to be an

actress shortly after …

I felt really bad for Setanta in some ways because they invested a lot

of money in the record.

But overall I’m glad to have gotten my music out because so many other

song writers don’t get that opportunity.

I think a French magazine came down on its “eighties production” which

is hilarious given how eighties production came back into vogue about

a year or so later with the Killers.

Relate your songwriting process, i.e. where does the inspiration come from?

Lyrics first, then music or vice versa?

It’s really just a feeling. Maybe I tape something on the guitar and

play over it quite simply.

Sometimes it’s a line like ‘We Close 1-2’ about an office I worked in.

Sometimes it’s a lyric that comes with a sequence of guitar chords.

Most of the time it’s autobiography.

What are your favorite songs you’ve composed?

‘Getting Meaner’ I love because I’ve never heard a song about that theme.

How you wake up one day and you don’t feel music in the same way. How

you change as a person, you no longer read books the same way.

   “Getting Meaner”

 

‘Boyfriend’ is good because of that moment at the end where the strings

come in “maybe you Leaving me….”

“It Never Crossed Your Mind’  and ‘Knowing’ . ‘Time Stood Still’. The

World Ended With You’

Most of all ‘Light Years’ because it’s the best mix of all the things I

wanted to say in a song.

The theme etc

What other artists do you listen to/like?

I loved Stina Nordenstam’s album ‘Then She Closed Her Eyes”‘ The

Canadian band ‘Stars’  (they were on Setanta for a while ).

Are there any you would like to work with?

Not really.

You’ve done a bit of acting as well.  Tell us about Father Ted.  Any other

roles?

I’m not an actor . I had some friends involved with Father Ted and I

got roped into be an extra because I was hanging around. I thought

this might get shown once but in Ireland Father Ted is on all the time.  Bizarrely in one episode I was an extra playing a priest next to Brian Eno.

In between takes. We started talking about music and when I told him I was in a band, he asked ‘and what’s name your band ?

When I said Brian. I realised from the look on his face. He thought I’d name the group after him.

What is Ken Sweeney working on currently?

Setanta did want to do a third album but there were huge delays during

its recording.

For a start the producer I was using, mid-way through the album got

himself a manager who hadn’t been part of the original deal so we had

to wait for gaps in his calendar to get stuff done.

During the recording I was in negotiations with Setanta over my

publishing which led to at least one occasion where I got turfed out

of the studio because I wouldn’t sign my songs away.

One person was my label, publisher and manager which can lead to

certain conflicts,

I was working on Bring Trouble from 1996 but it didn’t come out till 1999.

In the meantime my life was on hold ..

Just after Bring Trouble came out I got a break into journalism. A lot

of journalists , particularly in Ireland were Brian fans and I got a

huge amount of help from them at the start. The years I had in bands

opened all sorts of doors.

It can be incredibly interesting, one morning last year I was flying

to London to interview The Flaming Lips.

The weird thing is the Brian stuff doesn’t go away. I was watching a

documentary on BBC4 about Jeff Buckley last year and ‘Understand’ popped up

in his record collection. A Brian fan became quite a respected

director in France and used some of my music in his film ‘Primrose

Hill’ .

 iTunes and Spotify have been great too, it’s kind of liberated the

music from the old CD’s and vinyl.  I get PRS statements for Brian

music and it gets played all over the place, particularly Finland for

some reason.

What direction do you see yourself headed in the near future?

Probably the wrong direction. (joke) Id love to make another record ,

I really would and I often play with the idea.

I’ve got some ideas but it’s really trying to find the time, a lot of

the energy I put into music now goes into work.

But you never know.

I have been very inspired in the last year by people creating these little home videos of Brian songs on You Tube. Setanta never had any money to make videos.

That people would care enough to do this after such a long time is quite touching and giving Brian tracks like ‘Getting Meaner’ (which I’d assumed had been overlooked) a chance to be heard which they never got at the time. Watching these videos has led to be listening to my music for the first time in years.

For more information on Ken Sweeney and Brian, check out Brian’s MySpace here http://www.myspace.com/brianonemanband

 

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