The Moodists were a Melbourne band who’d come to London in 1983 to make records with Dave Kitson at his indie label Red Flame. We were lucky to run into him and he put us into a great studio and left us to do what we liked. To be ourselves. Like a lot of labels in that era and scene he eventually sided up with a bigger label (Virgin) for distribution and pr clout. They were interested in one of his acts. Things came to a head – in that backroom business sense- while we were back in Australia, opening for PIL on a tour of capital cities-places we’d never been to before like Brisbane and Canberra. Dave was getting squeezed by the bigger partner he’d attached himself to. Conversations on the phone went bad and we left Red Flame but soon returned to London as we loved the drama and fizz of the music scene there. (Our guitarist Mick Turner elected to stay in Melbourne)
Whilst we’d been at Red Flame, Alan McGhee had been a name we’d often heard as he’d been running some nights at a venue called the Moonlight Club and also had a fanzine called the LIVING ROOM. I’d heard the Jesus and Mary Chain while we were back in Melbourne and looked him up when we got back to London. We met in a café in Kings Cross, just near the Scala Cinema. Alan and Slaughter Joe. Alan said something along the lines of “you’ve been wearing leather pants for ages haven’t you?”. I was fond of those trousers at the time and that seemed to be enough to forge some sort of crude understanding with Alan. We agreed to make a recording for his label, Creation. A single and then an album. One night we got a call that there was studio time the next day at a place in Waterloo called ALASKA. We rang around everybody in the band, some being out on the turps at a gig , and got to the studio in some sort of shape the next day. Despite its name, ALASKA was a hideously hot and airless underground bunker. It was a bit of a shock to us after our last experience at the much more spacious Livingstone Studios in Wood Green. We made show and put down three tracks. Mick Harvey came in to play some piano. The heat played havoc with the tuning so it had a quite authentic saloon bar wonkiness to it. We also had Adam Peters come in to play some cello. He was a friend of a friend. We were quite a band of chancers and trusted in the world to let us happen.
Creation Records had an office in Clerkenwell, a quiet area off of Farringdon station and quite near the remnant rump of Fleet st which was still dealing with Rupert Murdochs pulling his army of drunken pen pushers from the vicinity
I enjoyed the London scene. Everybody at Creation was into playing roles and always referring to myths and stories from Rock Music Lore. Slaughter Joe was comically grim and serious. He always carried a brief case and somebody looked in it one day only to see a half a packet of chewing gum and a pencil. Alan talked fast and volubly. His bottom lip was always slick with spittle. You could sense there was a lot of drama within the circle as some had been old friends for a long time and now were feeling the pressure of a watching and waiting business and now they had to come up with stuff to fit the play they’d set in motion. They had to come up with the goods and sometimes, well, old friends just don’t make it. I say I sensed this because we were outsiders, always. Australians with dumb guts and tin ears for the accents and class stresses going off in the casual conversations all around us. The Weather Prophets were the band I most felt akin with. If only for the fact they were nice guys and talked to us! I loved their T Rex like grooves they’d get to when they played Chuck Berrys “Down bound train”. The Jesus and Mary Chain were hilariously real. We went to the show they did at the Electric Ballroom and found it to be a bit silly. The way everybody had to take their belts off at the door and the like. The sound was horrible and they were on late and for what seemed to be a very short time. It seemed kind of predictable. All just to stir up some shit. Still, it was funny to see them turn up, all together like a moody gang, at a Clarendon Ballroom gig by the Butthole Surfers. They’d just mooch around like a four headed thing , all in black and huddled around a pint. Yeah, they were for real. There always seemed to be someone at Creation sidling up to say that they’d actually recorded the Jesus and Mary Chains first records. It was a funny scene, full of drama and ambition, yet kind of tight and all too human as well. Like any music business happening – luck was the big thing that happened in there somewhere, somehow.
Our band was kind of flying apart (our bass player Chris Walsh left after a European tour to return to Australia) and we didn’t really gel that much with the Creation mythology. It was a very London, or at least British move they were making. The record we made was strong but didn’t catch or touch anybody. I spoke with Alan and he suggested we do some demos for the album. I was silly with representing our group pride and sulking, brooding (though very much unspoken) ethos and refused. We had never done demos. That was the end of that. We went on to record more in 1986 and 1987 for another label. Then I started to write and record as a singer songwriter with a band rather than a lead singer of a band. I didn't think I ever did many demos but the idea must have gotten into me because I found a lot.
While going through the tracks for this set , I was asked for any rarities and came across some tracks we somehow recorded in the period after Chris Walsh left.
There is a version of THE SHANGRI LAS "Train from Kansas City" sung by Clare Moore and also a version of the (then very rare) Brian Wilson/ Glen Campbell track "I guess I'm dumb" sung (badly) by me. There is no bass on either track.
There is also a song called "The Day They all Woke Up" from some time in 1985/86.
Also four songs from the second John Peel session we did .
"Bullet Train' - pretty lugubrious , slow and long track. I don't really like it.
"Take the Red Carpet Out of Town"
"Justice and money too"
The other tracks are the three we released on CREATION.
"Justice and Money too"
"You've got your story"
"Take us all home"
It was while looking for these songs that I came across the Coral Snakes / WOLVERINE era demos we've been releasing at itunes and Bandcamp.
The second volume is coming to itunes next week. "Once I Loved the Torn Oceans Roar - 80s/90s demos Vol. 2"